Question: Our yard man cut through the bark of one of our shade trees with the line trimmer. What can we do to save the tree?

Answer: There is probably nothing that you need to do specifically. The tissue that lies just inside the bark is called the “phloem,” and that’s where the manufactured sugars are conducted from the leaves down to the roots. When you cut through the phloem layer, the supply line is closed and the roots will die. That’s why this kind of damage is so severe to our important shade trees. Unfortunately, pruning paint and all the other heroic measures you might attempt won’t help a bit. Just wait it out to see what happens. Don’t apply any high-nitrogen fertilizers around the tree for a season or two. You might also want to invest in some of the hard rubber tree guards that snap in place while you’re using a trimmer.

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