Brenda E
Brenda E
  • Hometalker
  • Woodlawn, VA
Asked on Jun 5, 2012

What to do about my damaged tree?

Sue KieneDouglas HuntSusan S
+14

Answered

One year ago, my herd of donkeys got into the wrong place and stripped the bark on my white birch tree,which I planted as a seedling. I spent many anxious hours this spring, waiting to see if leaves would appear. They did, and I feel like it is going to live! I painted the trunk with lime, and the rain washed it off. Would it harm my tree to paint it with white water based paint just for looks?
My poor tree!
My poor tree!
17 answers
  • Susan S
    on Jun 5, 2012

    KEEP THE DONKEYS OUTTA THERE!! So Brenda, how many donkeys we talkin about here - I don't know quite how many comprise a "herd" but I'm pretty sure it's more than 2 or 3!! LOL I would not think water based paint would hurt but I'll let Walter, Erica and some of our other knowledgeable tree people weigh in on this. Wonder if burlap would work? Just wrap it around the trunk high enough so the donkeys can't reach the bark and tie it off at the top & botton w/strips of burlap. Maybe that would be a deterrent!!

  • Donkeys like horses love to chew on bark. The only way to keep them away is to fence the tree off, or put wire mesh on the trunk if its a tall tree and they cannot reach the leaves etc. I would be careful about wrapping the trunk as the natural thing is to protect it, but that may do more harm then good. If the trunk is allowed to breath, it will harden where the damage was done. But like Susan said, There are many other experts in this area that can give you much better advice then I could.

  • Tina S
    on Jun 5, 2012

    I'd try talking to a local nursery and see what they would recommend. I am betting some one there would have some ideas..maybe even give the dept. of forestry a call.

  • Susan S
    on Jun 5, 2012

    Guess I was thinking burlap because of the open weave and that it would allow the tree to breathe. Not so much that it's mumified!! LOL

  • Ellen A
    on Jun 5, 2012

    Yes!! Use a White water based latex outdoor paint (that's what tree sealer is). If the damage is sever it's okay to wrap the damaged part with something like burlap (I have used weed block) and then paint it with the White paint. Not only will the covering protect the tree from bugs and such it will protect from sunburn on the peeled part...good luck!!

  • Brenda E
    on Jun 5, 2012

    It was my local farm co op that said paint it with lime,but no one I know will commit to using real paint. I have ten donkeys! This tree is very special to me and it had such beautiful bark. I don't think the white bark will grow back. The donkeys are fenced out, plus they respect the mock electric fence I have around the tree, but I would like the tree to be white again.

  • Susan S
    on Jun 5, 2012

    Doesn't birch naturally have a tendancy to peel and curl up kind of?? Maybe there are different species of birch - show you what I DON'T know!! What do you do with all your Donkeys Brenda and how did you come to have such an affinity for them??? Not your usual animal to have a collection of!! LOL I don't think Woodlawn is very far from me but just not exactly sure where it is??

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 6, 2012

    Actually, you should let your tree mend on its own, which it will as long as your donkeys did not fully girdle it, which is to strip the bark all the way around. If so, your tree will starve to death. Otherwise, your tree will just have a scar, a reminder of the time the donkeys got loose.

  • Erica Glasener
    on Jun 6, 2012

    I would like to hear what Walter has to say but I would not paint the trunk with any type of paint. A fence (even one that is not attractive) is my recommendation until the tree is larger.

  • Brenda E
    on Jun 6, 2012

    If the tree heals, how long before I can feel that it is going to be ok. The damage happened a year ago. The photo was yesterday.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Jun 6, 2012

    I have seen carboard "sono tubes" used to protect some trees on a few construction sites. These come in many sizes and can be cut length wise to form two "clam shell" type halves. setting these about the trunk will prevent access to the bark but yet still be loose to prevent any issues with the trees growth. The section can be duct taped together. You should be able to get a season or two out of them before the cardboard breaks down....this protection could be extended it the tubes were painted, the core have a liner but the outside is just cardboard.

  • Jeanette S
    on Jun 6, 2012

    I don't know anything about painting or wrapping a tree, but your concern should not be appearence...if it is thriving, count your blessings. To keep animals out, why not stake around the tree with galvized plumbing pipe and use t-joints to join together to make a barrier around the tree. Set in concret, they could not get past it...will not require maintenance!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 7, 2012

    Why don't you feel it is OK, Brenda? It looks very healthy,

  • Brenda E
    on Jun 7, 2012

    I am just worried because the white outer bark is missing all around the tree.

  • Susan S
    on Jun 7, 2012

    But Brenda . . . . . . . don't you think if the tree wasn't still healthy & thriving it would look this good?? The evidence would be telling it's own story by now!!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 8, 2012

    Susan is right. If your tree was giving you reason to worry, you would know! That white bark may never come back. You tree will probably end up with a scar, just like most of us have.

  • Sue Kiene
    on Oct 1, 2016

    I agree with Douglas, your tree looks very healthy and we all have scars.

Your comment...