Apple Growing

Patching Old Trees

A few suggestions on patching up the weak places in an old tree may not be entirely out of place. The question is often asked, will it pay to fill up the decayed centers or sides of old trees? If the tree is

otherwise desirable to save, it usually will. Scrape out all the dead and rotten material, cleaning down to the sound heart wood. Then fill up the cavity with a rough cement, being careful to exclude all air and finishing with a smooth, sloping surface so as to drain away all moisture. This treatment will probably prevent further decay and often acts as a substantial mechanical support. Trees which are badly split or which have so grown that a heavy crop is likely to break them over should be braced with wires or bolts. Where the limbs are close together a bolt driven right through them with wide, strong washers at the ends is very effective in strengthening the tree. Where limbs must be braced from one side of the tree across to the other wires are the best to use. They may be fastened to bolts through the limbs with wide washers on the outside hooks on the inside, or by passing the wire around the branches. In the latter case some wide, fairly rigid material such as tin, pieces of wood, or heavy leather should be used to protect the tree from the wire which would otherwise cut into the bark and perhaps girdle the limb.

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