Trees lose branches all of the time. It is a part of their life cycle, and it is usually not something to worry about. When you should worry, though, is when one of the tree's major limbs develops a crack. Many trees are not prepared to survive if they lose a major limb. They won't have enough leaves left to capture sunlight and make food. The wound left by the large crack could also become infected, causing a fungal disease that ravages the already weakened tree.
So, what should you do about a cracked tree limb? Call a tree service. There are a few services most companies offer that could be helpful in your situation.
Grafting is usually used to connect a trunk or branch from one species of tree to the trunk or roots of another species of tree. For example, nurseries sometimes graft apple trees to the roots of crabapple trees to create smaller, dwarf apple trees. Grafting can also be used to reconnect a tree's own severed limb to its trunk, though. Your tree care expert will join the vascular tissues back together and then apply a grafting compound — a preparation of growth factors that encourages the wood to grow back together. The area will be wrapped and the tree will be left to heal over the coming months. This solution works pretty well for smaller limbs on younger trees.
Cabling and Bracing
If the tree is more mature and the branch is very large, grafting may not be a viable option. The tree service may instead recommend cabling and bracing the tree. Basically, they will use a couple of cables and brackets to pull the limb back towards the tree and hold it in place. The cables will either be anchored to the tree trunk or to a sturdy nearby structure. Some branches may be removed from the damaged limb to lighten it. The tree will then be left to heal on its own, which can take a year or two.
Cautious Limb Removal
If your tree service does not believe even cabling and bracing will work, then they will attempt to remove the limb as cleanly as possible. They will use sanitized shears and may cover the open cut with a special preparation to prevent infection. The tree may also be given some fertilizer or growth compounds to help it stay viable in the coming months.
If a tree has a large, cracked limb, make sure you call in the pros. Whether the problem is solved with cabling and bracing or with grafting, it's important to do something before the crack gets worse and the limb falls on something.
To learn more, contact a local tree service today.