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jamez654

Accidental damage to damson tree

Question

Hi all,

 

I am a new member to this forum although have been reading for a while. I would appreciate some advice with the following:

 

Whilst reversing my landy down the garden today to pick up a trailer of rubble which I was getting rid of, I accidently hit a branch of a damson tree. :confused1:This has caused the trunk to split vertically where the branch joins it as seen here:

 

P8040299.jpg.6d497e6430bc404b82024ae422d8d056.jpg

 

P8040300.jpg.08d63ab25b3e4d97f4d3d1e6abf9e5ff.jpg

 

P8040301.jpg.53ff919b549941b06d0c5d6f879b84cb.jpg

 

My partner is very fond of the tree so I would like to know what is best to do for the tree. I have strapped it to prevent further damage.

 

P8040303.jpg.129caac909f9d6927a38d3f713b90558.jpg

 

P8040305.jpg.1dea25ea1f039f198379e5a733642570.jpg

 

Should I remove the damaged branch or can it heal?

 

Many thanks,

 

 

James

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The good news is that if there is ever a time of year to take bits off prunus of any sort, it's about now.

 

It could heal superficially, but it will only be in the new growth, so you would have to brace it permanently and it would always be weak. There are other ways to brace things which are less unsightly, but it's not ideal.

 

As such, it's probably better on balance to take it right off. It's a relatively large wound, so there is a strong risk of decay setting in. If you make the cut sloping upward from below, with the brace in place, and trim it up neatly, you give it the best chance of shedding water and hence less likely to create an ideal environment to decay rapidly.

 

In the meantime, I'd be inclined to get another tree going, and ideally grow it on a single stem to a suitable height as it will give you a stronger base overall than your current multi-stemmed one, which would be rather likely to split apart eventually anyway.

 

Alec

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Hi Alec,

 

Thanks for the advice. Do you mean cut it off like this:

 

P8040305cut.jpg.8aa51d3cd0849f23f062244bb6c98f1b.jpg

 

If I were to permanantly brace it what would be the best thing to use?

 

James

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Update

 

Thanks for the advice, I removed the damaged limb as suggested. Unfortunatley though Alec was right and the tree further split with high winds and a large load of fruit over the last few days.

 

I wil leave the tree until we pick the fruit off it and then fell it. My neighbour is a big fan of the wood for turning so he will get some use from it I will use the rest for firewood.

 

We might plant a greengage instead.

 

James

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Hi James,

 

Sorry (but not surprised) to hear it failed anyway.

 

If you plant a greengage the tree should grow well enough, but don't expect heavy crops - they just don't produce them so it's quality rather than quantity.

 

The tree will be grafted onto a rootstock, as probably would just about any fruit tree you may buy. The type of rootstock governs the ultimate size of the tree, so it's important to know which one it's on and personally I wouldn't buy a tree from anyone who can't tell me which stock it's on - it could mean the difference between a tree with an ultimate height of 8ft vs. a tree with an ultimate height of 40ft! For greengages, damsons or any kind of plum I would suggest St. Julien A, which will make a tree a bit smaller than the damson you're losing. There is a more dwarfing stock called Pixy, but I would avoid it in windy situations and where there will be grass around the tree as it's a bit too weak. Also, don't forget that because there is a graft line, if you let any shoots grow from below the graft then they will produce the fruit of the rootstock, rather than the variety you're trying to grow, so cut them off as soon as they appear. A clean trunk of between 3 and 6ft would be the best bet for strength and avoiding rootstock shoots etc.

 

Alec

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