Caring for deadwood


I have a juniper procumbens with shari that extends down to the base of the trunk. There is a space at the bottom that collects water every time the tree is watered and has a fair amount of moss growth. I am concerned that this may eat away at the deadwood over time.

I was thinking of using lime sulfur to protect the deadwod, but in order to get it deep into the crevice, it will sit against the surrounding healthy wood. Is that okay?

I have also tried scraping away the moss with a brass brush, but the brush is not fine enough to reach deep into the crevice.

Any other suggestions on how to protect this region?

(Jonas Dupuich) #2

Good question - there are a few things to do.

  1. I’d keep the moss away from the deadwood
  2. If the deadwood extends below the soil, you can use pumice next to the wood instead of akadama or mixes that hold more water
  3. I’d continue to use lime sulfur using care to avoid painting the live wood
  4. The deadwood can be cleaned throughout the year whenever it turns green with a toothbrush or spot gun
  5. When there are crevices or holes into the wood that collect water, I’ll drill all the way through the trunk so the water can drain.
  6. Wood hardeners can also be used to protect wood that’s subject to rot.

In an extreme case, I planted a tree 1-2" higher than necessary to let it really dry out. In summer, I removed all soft wood and let the more solid wood dry out. I then applied as much wood hardener as would soak in over several treatments. The following year I returned the tree to the proper planting level.