OKC Beautiful: Winter is a good time to repair tree damage

Carla Sharpe: OKC Beautiful offers tips for repairing tree damage from the late Loretta Aaron, a longtime OKC gardening expert and former columnist.
By Carla Sharpe, For The Oklahoman Published: January 7, 2013

Oklahoma's harsh weather conditions throughout the year wreak havoc on our trees. Strong winds, hail, ice and drought damage our trees throughout the year. Many of those damaged trees need repair. No need to wait until spring. According to longtime Oklahoma City gardening expert Loretta Aaron, winter is a great time to repair damage to trees. Here are Loretta's tips:

When applying first aid to a tree, remove only the branches in need of immediate repair. Removing too much wood at one time can create other problems, such as weak branching habits, that could further damage the tree. Reshaping the bark wounds into a vertical elongated shape will result in faster healing. Use braces and guy wires to support split branches. Coat all wounds with a commercial wound dressing to prevent borer entry and cambium drying. Be sure all pruning cuts are made flush with a side branch to enhance the healing action.

If major repairs are necessary, it probably will be cheaper in the long run to hire a professional tree surgeon to do the work. If you do it yourself, be sure to follow all safety precautions relative to contacting power lines, ladders and falling branches.

Be sure to remove all debris promptly to eliminate breeding areas for insects and diseases. When the tree has been repaired, your job is only half done. You must develop a good program of follow-up care for the injured tree. Thin out sucker growth regularly and reshape the tree gradually. Check the tree wound dressing regularly and repaint when necessary.

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• “ART: Art in. Recycled. Trash” exhibit, through Feb. 15. Sponsored by OKC Beautiful and the Science Museum of Oklahoma, this is the Science Museum Oklahoma Upcycle Challenge in which participants collect items that would normally be trash to create sculpture and works of art. See www.okcbeautiful.com for more details.

•  Volunteers will be planting green apple and pear trees from Feb. 14-16, thanks to a donation by Peach Crest Farms to OKC Beautiful and Oklahoma City public schools. If interested in helping, call Juliann Strange at 525-8822.

Beautification Awards

Each month, OKC Beautiful focuses on a particular area of Oklahoma City and awards beautification awards, recognizing a residence, a business and an organization in that area. Winners will be chosen soon and announced in March. Get your landscapes beautiful and you might win an award. If you know a landscape that is deserving of an award, contact OKC Beautiful.

Check out OKC Beautiful's website at www.okcbeautiful.com, or contact us for more information about OKC Beautiful and all the great things we're doing to make OKC a more beautiful place. We encourage you to consider partnering with OKC Beautiful and making a tax-deductible donation to help us fulfill our mission of continually improving OKC's image and appearance.

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