Wait – Before You Use Pruning Sealer on Trees…

Wait – Before You Use Pruning Sealer on Trees…

Pruning – tree trimming – call it what you will. No matter its name, we love talking about how and why to prune trees at Davey!

The benefits of pruning trees seem endless. Pruning creates stronger, healthier trees, which reduces the risk of trees damaging your property. So, you’ll have less damage and cleanup after storms.

Plus, pruning makes your tree look better – and results in a larger harvest from fruit trees! Now that’s a delicious reason to prune your trees.

Once your tree is pruned, though, should you use pruning sealer on cuts close to the trunk?

Our reader Terri F., recently asked this question after “trimming some lower branches off a sycamore tree.”

Before we delve into whether you should use a pruning sealer on your trees, let’s cover the basics.

What Is a Pruning Sealer?

Pruning sealers, also called pruning paint, are products that claim to “aid the healing of pruning cuts” or “minimize sap loss.”

Most often, these products are petroleum-based, but some even contain asphalt.  Alternatively, there are natural tree sealers with ingredients like collagen and aloe gel.

Should I Use Pruning Sealer on Trees? If So, When Do I Use Tree Sealer?

No – you should not use pruning sealers after pruning your trees or shrubs.

In fact, research from the University of Arizona, found pruning sealers actually obstruct trees’ natural healing power. Yes, you read that correctly! Tree pruning sealers are bad for your trees because it makes harder for your tree to heal.

Plus, pruning sealers may trap moisture in the tree, which can encourage wood decay or fungi.

While we need Band-Aids to reduce blood loss and help our wounds heal, trees simply recover differently than us.

How Trees Recover After Pruning

After pruning, trees grow new wood, which covers the pruning wound, and prevents the invasion of diseases or bugs. 

Trees know how to recover from pruning wounds all on their own.

There you have it! Thanks again to Terri F. for submitting this question.

Comment below with your own tree question. We’ll have an answer for you in a flash!

  • RICHARD DOUGLAS February 27, 2018 >Have 2 5'Japanese Blood Red Maples (one in honor of my departed wife) and the other one she picked out earlier and I want to insure their proper survival. Thanks for input on proper trimming and sealing..Garden shop probably would have encouraged sealing. Yea for network.
  • The Tree Doctor February 26, 2018 >Hi there, Steve. Yes! You are correct in not applying a sealant. It is generally not recommended except for a couple very specific situations. If the appearance of the cut bothers you, a light coating of aerosol tree sealant can be applied for a cosmetic effect. Hope this helps, Steve. Here if you have any other questions.
  • Steve Ritter February 22, 2018 >Recently I trimmed a large limb off my apple tree. I read your comments about not using a sealant because the tree would repair itself. The limb I cut off is about 7 inch in diameter. I did it in the dead of winter. It's a great apple tree just want to confirm that I should not use a sealant. Thank you so much for your expertise.
  • The Tree Doctor February 6, 2018 >Hi there, Barry! Pollarding sycamore trees must be started when they are still young. A large, mature sycamore cannot be pollarded. You may be thinking of "topping" your trees, which means to severely cut them back to reduce their height. Unfortunately, topping is not a recommended pruning practice. We recommend contacting a Certified Arborist in your area so they can make the best recommendation for your trees! Hope this helps, Barry.
  • Barry Culloty February 1, 2018 >What about Sycamore tree,s? I plan on polarizing mine and they are very overgrown, my back wont allow me to deal with them as they are anymore. It is to the point that either they get easier to manage or we take them out, one or the other. I like them still, but am getting too old for all the garbage they make!
  • The Tree Doctor November 13, 2017 >Hi Lisa. Unfortunately, at this point, we would recommend removing one of the coral trees to leave space for the other to grow. Hope this helps. Here if you have any other questions, Lisa.
  • Lisa Kaplan October 30, 2017 >I have 2 coral trees that were planted too close to my house to be able to let them grow large so I have to prune them nearly bald every year. What happens is that every cut limb grows back 2 so that they are so thick they are full of disease. Last year I tried cutting larger chunks off but they grew back even thicker. I wanted to try a sealer because nothing will kill a coral tree. Any other ideas?
  • Paul Walkley October 16, 2017 >I just pruned a 3 inch water spout off a grafted hanging cherry tree. Would it hurt / help the tree if I used the Bayer tree / shrub disease protect and feed concentrate?
  • The Tree Doctor October 4, 2017 >Hi Andrew. Please provide us with your zip code, and we may be able to help you! Thanks for reaching out, Andrew.
  • Andrew Sekimweri September 29, 2017 >Can you please give us as small planters of teak the best way of who to make good pruning of teak tree by using local procedure
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