Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Share your success stories about defoliation, bare rooting and anything else relating to maintaining healthy bonsai.
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by Guy »

I've never used cut paste but only because there is no local supplier and a trip to the city usually have other priorities--perhaps next trip and be ready for spring
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by Jason »

Guy wrote:I've never used cut paste but only because there is no local supplier and a trip to the city usually have other priorities--perhaps next trip and be ready for spring
I just get mine online :) you can usually find it on ebay for pretty cheap, and is the brand that is widely used... well I think it is seeing as I cant' actually read the label :P
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by dansai »

Interesting discussion.

When doing my hort course they talked about compartmentalisation in trees and where best to cut to enable trees to heal over large cuts. In the past cuts where made flat to the trunk, whereas it was found that trees heal better if the collar is left. The collar is the wrinkly part you see around where a branch leaves the trunk and has many cells that help to create callus and aid in healing. If cut shorter than this healing is much slower, if longer dieback occurs to this point causing other issues. The bumps on trees with wrinkles and a flat spot on a slight angle are the remnants of these. Nature may well have mechanisms to promote healing and be quite capable of doing it without help, but proper cutting of branches lessons the chance of disease entering the tree and causing a range of issues.

In the past cuts of this nature were sealed but it was found these sealants promoted fungus and bacteria and so their use is no longer recommended. By creating a skin over something it stops breathing and any moisture that gets behind it is trapped behind creating the perfect conditions for fungus and bacteria. Most bad bacteria thrive in a low oxygen environment too. So air is good.

However, Bonsai trees are much smaller and we are trying to create a trunk/branch without indications of pruning and so we cut differently to promote a smoother healing and these cuts are not necessarily the best for the tree to heal and so in these instances a little help is useful. Hence the use of cut paste. I for one have observed its benefits and although I don't use it on all cuts, I do use it and will continue to do so.
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by Graeme »

I haven't used "Cut Paste" or any other commercial sealing compound for a very long time now, but I do spit on most of my larger cuts and then rub a bit of dirt into the cut. Seems to do the trick for me. I also ensure that any cuts are made to ensure no moisture can be held in any "holes". I do, however, seal cuts made on any Azaleas, but this is the only type of tree I seal.
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by Jow »

Let me start by saying that my opinion is based on word of mouth discussions and could be wrong.

I work with Arborists on a regular basis and while on site the other day we got talking about bonsai and pruning. Usually in arboriculture, when pruning, the branch collar will be left. When pruning in this method it is now recommended that trees are not painted with any cut paste/sealant at the wound site.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branch_collar

The collar is what helps the tree to protect itself against disease and aid healing. If you go to any well maintained park you can see examples of these pruning nubs left behind which are the branch collars. (see below)
image_gallery.jpg
Often you will see trees naturally die back to this point as well.
5.4.2.1(2).jpg
Healing is usually good at the branch collar.

BUT....... In bonsai we don't want lumps on the trunks so we remove this section of collar. This creates sub-optimum conditions for healing and disease protection and so i personally think that it is worth using cut paste in these situations. Trees to have natural protection mechanisms but in bonsai culture we cut these parts out.

Thoughts?
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by treeman »

Jow wrote:Let me start by saying that my opinion is based on word of mouth discussions and could be wrong.

I work with Arborists on a regular basis and while on site the other day we got talking about bonsai and pruning. Usually in arboriculture, when pruning, the branch collar will be left. When pruning in this method it is now recommended that trees are not painted with any cut paste/sealant at the wound site.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branch_collar

The collar is what helps the tree to protect itself against disease and aid healing. If you go to any well maintained park you can see examples of these pruning nubs left behind which are the branch collars. (see below)
image_gallery.jpg
Often you will see trees naturally die back to this point as well.
5.4.2.1(2).jpg
Healing is usually good at the branch collar.

BUT....... In bonsai we don't want lumps on the trunks so we remove this section of collar. This creates sub-optimum conditions for healing and disease protection and so i personally think that it is worth using cut paste in these situations. Trees to have natural protection mechanisms but in bonsai culture we cut these parts out.

Thoughts?
A good observation Jow and mostly I would agree, but I have three Silk trees in my front garden which get pruned every year. If I don't seal the cuts (any size, collar or not) the wood will all get attacked by borers everytime. I use a bitumen based paint for a totally air and water tight seal.
I would do the same with most acacias but not with eucalyptus or callistemon for example. So perhaps we need to consider each species seperately?
Last edited by treeman on July 18th, 2014, 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by DangerousDave »

Can I open this discussion again a little..?
..as I’m particularly interested in the exact point it appears to have finished on.
Trying to make sure I search around for answers, rather than bombing this site with the same old amateur questions.
Interested in getting others’ thoughts on benefits, or lack thereof, using sealants on natives - I’m thinking mostly myrtaceae species - eucs, mels, cals and such.
Also, like most newbies, I’ve quite a few figs. Making big chops, cutbacks and branch removal on most. Seems a sealant might be appropriate on some of these bigger cuts?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by Rory »

My collection consists of mainly
Eucalyptus, banksia, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, casuarina and others.
I’ve never seen a benefit to sealants on my stock, but that’s subjective as I never persued them much. Any time I’ve had a borer, it was st the base of the tree tunneling in and downwards, not through a trunk chop or branch cut.
It may be a good idea, but I never saw any benefit when trialing it many years ago.
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by Keep Calm and Ramify »

DangerousDave wrote: I’ve quite a few figs. Making big chops, cutbacks and branch removal on most. Seems a sealant might be appropriate on some of these bigger cuts?
Dave
Hi Dave, personally I wouldn't bother using sealants on figs. Figs will usually heal themselves quite quickly.
I always hose the tree down after cutting to wash the milky sap from the wounds.
However, If you do decide to use a wood sealer on your figs, I would recommend the grey putty one (looks a little like plasticine, you warm it up by rolling a ball in your hands and press apply)
The softer liquid cut paste (in tube) may have a tendency to stain your fig trunk for a longer period than expected.
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Re: Bonsai Myth ? Wound Sealant

Post by Grant Bowie »

When I was curator of the NBPCA we once received an old Trident maple with a few unfortunate blemishes where branches had been removed many years previously and had never “healed”. We recut these wounds and applied a layer of Kiyonal(a japanese sealant in a tube), allowed it to dry, then a couple of days later applied Cut paste. The large wounds completely healed in one season and are now indistinguishable from the rest of the trunk and bark.

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