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!

  • The Tree Doctor April 17, 2017 >Hi Daniel! If the pruning is done correctly, it should heal and not rot. We don't recommend using pruning paint because it actually seals in disease-causing pathogens, making it easier for trees to get infected. Hope this helps, Daniel.
  • Daniel Parker April 14, 2017 > I just cut back my oak tree, ( approx. 300 years old ). The branch cut is about 12" in diameter. In the past, if I don't use pruning paint I will get rott on the cut surface. The tree(s) are back for hurricane purposes. Thank you
  • dixon tree service May 4, 2016 >Thanks for the article and to share with us a nice information on pruning.
  • Jerry Reed April 26, 2016 >Thanks for this information! More awareness must be spread regarding the usage and ill effects of pruning sealants. There is a large majority of tree owners who use natural sealants on their trees or shrubs after pruning. We need more articles and insight if these should also be avoided and more! Good post
  • Stefan Cline April 18, 2016 >I don't understand why pruning sealer is still being sold. There is really no need for it ever. Thanks for the article!
Add a comment:
Related Blog Posts
  • Should I Be Pruning Fruit Trees in Summer?

    When you regularly prune fruit trees, you ensure sunlight reaches all parts of the tree. As a result, you get more, higher-quality fruit.

    Now, the million-dollar question: when to trim your fruit trees? Is summer pruning good for fruit trees? Read on to find out.

    Read More

Request a consultation

What do you need services for?
Sorry, we can’t seem to find the zip code you specified. Our residential tree care offices may not service your area. If you believe this is an error, please try again. Need help? Email us at info@davey.com.
  • Email newsletter
  • Woodchips
*Please fill out all required fields.