Tree cuts sealed with wax

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Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  Nemphis on Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:15 am

I've heard in the past from my dad that my grandfather used to seal the tree cuts using the wax from bees.
Can the tree cuts be sealed with wax from bees?

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:49 am

The short answer is, Yes you can use bees wax to seal pruning cuts on trees.

But on Sealing cuts

First there is a lot of debate about whether this is even a good idea.

Some say that the sealing traps pathogens under it and can encourage rot.

The purpose of any sealant is to protect the heart wood until the tree can heal itself.

Sealant might slow this process down.

The design of the cut might be more important that sealing it.

Keep in mind that moisture is the enemy, so the cut should be made to drain. That is why we don't cut straight across the trunk and on branches we try to cut at an angle /.

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  JimLewis on Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:51 pm

Bee's wax is used by many arborists as a wound sealant in trees. The wax contains a natural fungicide. You would use it only at the edges of major wounds, to protect the delicate cambium.

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  Poink88 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:23 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:First there is a lot of debate about whether this is even a good idea.
^^^ This. Some argue that a dry wound heals faster (I believe that too).

I made my own sealer paste using beeswax melted with canola oil and so far works great. I won't really know if it makes enough difference though since I only used it for a few months.

Paste or not, for me the more important thing is using sharp tools and making clean cuts.

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wound sealant

Post  jupitermininginc on Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:04 am

As an ISA certified arborist I tell you: Waxes or other pastes are only good for holding cambium together after grafting or car accidents. The tree needs to 'smell' oxygen within its wood to know when to lay down rot-preventing chemicals. Except for torn cambium, trees do not 'heal', they merely grow new wood on their exteriors. As a member of Tguchi Bonsai club in Vancouver years ago our Japanese consultant would often rub soil on new wounds to darken them. As we now know many bacteria within trees are there from the seed stage, waiting 20 years or more before opportunities are ripe to spread so this practice is unlikely to do harm. Fungi also have complex relationships with trees in advanced decay and obligate root symbiosis.
Wood is sensitive to flexing stresses and will build up perceived weak areas.
In the wild, and what bonsai emulates, trees slow down their growth when the annual ring of wood grows ever more expensive (in sugar) as girth increases.

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  drgonzo on Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:20 am

JimLewis wrote:Bee's wax is used by many arborists as a wound sealant in trees. The wax contains a natural fungicide. You would use it only at the edges of major wounds, to protect the delicate cambium.

Its is actually bee propolis that is famous for its anti fungal, anti bacterial and anti viral qualities. I would imagine either one would make a good sealant for wounds regardless of which you choose.

-Jay
(Bee keeper)

Fun fact: Bee Propolis is called 'Russian Penicillin' as a reference to both the research the Russians have done on it and its amazing natural properties.


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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  drgonzo on Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:31 am

jupitermininginc wrote:As an ISA certified arborist I tell you: Waxes or other pastes are only good for holding cambium together after grafting or car accidents.

Could you explain to me why the wounds I treat with a sealant begin callousing after only a month or two while those I have left unsealed are still on my trees unchanged sometimes years later? Its been my experience so far that wound sealants prove useful for sealing wounds and hastening the healing process, in addition to their obvious use in grafting and automotive collision repair.

thanks
-Jay

PS I dont usually get the opportunity to pick the brain of an ISA certified arborist!

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  JimLewis on Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:26 pm

I enjoyed reading:
As a member of Tguchi Bonsai club in Vancouver years ago our Japanese consultant would often rub soil on new wounds to darken them. As we now know many bacteria within trees are there from the seed stage, waiting 20 years or more before opportunities are ripe to spread so this practice is unlikely to do harm.
because fellow bonsaiests often laugh when I spit into my palm, then rub some dirt in the spit and then smear the mixture onto a wound on my tree.

I forget who told me this "technique" but maybe it was Ben Oki.

My arborist friend in Tallahassee put me onto Phytech 50 - The Original All-Natural Plant Wound Paste which -- on the rare occasions I use a wound sealant -- is what I use. It is basically bee's wax. The lbel says it is a mixture of oils and waxes, but no more than that.

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  Poink88 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:44 pm

JimLewis wrote:I enjoyed reading:
As a member of Tguchi Bonsai club in Vancouver years ago our Japanese consultant would often rub soil on new wounds to darken them. As we now know many bacteria within trees are there from the seed stage, waiting 20 years or more before opportunities are ripe to spread so this practice is unlikely to do harm.
because fellow bonsaiests often laugh when I spit into my palm, then rub some dirt in the spit and then smear the mixture onto a wound on my tree.

I forget who told me this "technique" but maybe it was Ben Oki.


My arborist friend in Tallahassee put me onto Phytech 50 - The Original All-Natural Plant Wound Paste which -- on the rare occasions I use a wound sealant -- is what I use. It is basically bee's wax. The lbel says it is a mixture of oils and waxes, but no more than that.
I just read that from John Naka's - Bonsai Technique 1 or Bonsai: Its Art, Science, History and Philosophy by Deborah R. Koreshoff. Either of the 2 because I know it was very recent.


Last edited by Poink88 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:36 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  Poink88 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:57 pm

As mentioned, I made my own concoction out of bees wax thinned with canola oil. Here is a partial result. Seems like it works on some trees and not so well on others.

Elm - works very well, the wood and bark did not show any sign of drying, cracking, or separation. All plants are now showing signs of multiple budding.
TX Mountain Laurel - I won't use sealant on this tree again. All parts that was sealed turned mildewy black. I will try to scrape off as much as I can this weekend.
Fukien Tea - Sealed portions also showed some signs of darkening and mildewy formation. I won't use it on this again.
Neea - Seems to work well. I only applied in in the cadmium area since the wood is really soft and I am encouraging rot to form Uro later.

I left the boxwood and agarita untreated and they look great.

I am going to revise my concoction and add honey w/ less oil as thinner and try it on the apple.

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  drgonzo on Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:17 pm

Poink-

If you used store bought canola oil was it hydrogenated? I wonder if the mildew you see is actually the canola in your mixture moldering as the water bonded with the lipids in the oil would provide enough resources for mold to grow, I'm also not sure you could get a vegetable oil and insect wax to properly mix even when heated. Just hypothesizing.
-Jay

I used to work at Whole Foods way back when and they made sure we Knew all about "hydrogenated" oils.

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  bucknbonsai on Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:59 pm

would it be a good idea to use cut past on the edges of a large wound and then in the center use a product like wood hardener? Do fresh/wet cuts have the ability to absorb that wood hardener? It seems to me the wood hardener allows the wood to become almost a synthetic product that resists decay without having to use an occlusive product across the wound that could hold in moisture. I may have asked this here before but is it true that calus tissue will only roll across (or at least roll across better) hard wood that is not spongy. And in terms of injuring the calus to stimulate more callus, is that needed?, and how much do you remove and how often?(ive never seen a photo closeup enough anywhere to see exactly how much to remove)

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  drgonzo on Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:07 pm

Buck

John Geanangel has a video where he discusses re-wounding cypress (I think) take a look through his vids or PM him
-Jay

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  Poink88 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:07 pm

bucknbonsai wrote:would it be a good idea to use cut past on the edges of a large wound and then in the center use a product like wood hardener? Do fresh/wet cuts have the ability to absorb that wood hardener? It seems to me the wood hardener allows the wood to become almost a synthetic product that resists decay without having to use an occlusive product across the wound that could hold in moisture. I may have asked this here before but is it true that calus tissue will only roll across (or at least roll across better) hard wood that is not spongy. And in terms of injuring the calus to stimulate more callus, is that needed?, and how much do you remove and how often?(ive never seen a photo closeup enough anywhere to see exactly how much to remove)

Wood hardener is like a thinned down crazy glue. It can work as a film over but works best when absorbed in by the wood. Wet wood won't absorb it and it will just be a film on top.

Not sure about callous rolling over only on hard wood...since I've seen them roll over nothing...or maybe just wood eroded after. Callous stimulation is not really cutting any of it away...just exposing the green part by removing the bark covering. That's how I understood the process anyway. Someone will whip me in line if I am mistaken Wink.

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  Poink88 on Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:10 pm

drgonzo wrote:If you used store bought canola oil was it hydrogenated?
Based on my research online, it seems all Canola oils are partly hydrogenated.

I altered my paste last night and added honey Very Happy for its anti-fungal properties (among others). I learned that it won't mix with oil and beeswax but if you keep stirring as it cools down, you will have a very nice paste. It is being tested now. Wink I hope it won't attract insects since it really smells good and delicious!!! LOL

I did not measure but I am guesstimating my mix is:
1 part honey
1 part beeswax
2 parts canola oil

There is more oil there than I wanted but w/o it, the paste will be a solid block. I might try making another batch later with more honey and less oil.

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  JimLewis on Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:34 pm

That all sounds like a lot of work for something that's probably not necessary in the first place.

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Re: Tree cuts sealed with wax

Post  Poink88 on Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:50 pm

JimLewis wrote:That all sounds like a lot of work for something that's probably not necessary in the first place.
I know...especially for a self professed lazy guy like me LOL but we have to experiment sometimes. Who knows...something good might come out of it and yes, I am aware that something bad can happen as well. Wink

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