Wound healing with sacrifice branch

Hi folks. Jonas’ recent post on Korean hornbeams budding prolifically at the base of branches and around wounds got me thinking: I’ve read that new growth near a wound can help it heal faster, but eventually you have to remove that sacrifice branch. Seems like one could be perpetually pruning the same spot. Is there a rule of thumb for how large to let this sort of sacrifice growth get? I think it would work well on my elms, alders and birches, which like to bud in this way.


Hi Brad
The rule of thumb that i use is 1" in diameter. This is based on what i perceive to be a wound size that is easy to heal and does not leave major scarring on the trunk.
This is mostly possible on developing trees from seed or cuttings. Not so easy on Yamadori or field grown stock. Then it is necessary to pick up advanced techniques to aid in healing larger scars.

I don’t have a rule of thumb as absolute size changes from small trees to big trees. It’s one of the main trade-offs in bonsai development - how to get the branch big enough to thicken the trunk but not too big that the resulting wound is hard to heal.

After removing larger sacrifice branches, I always identify another branch to help with the healing. The process seems perpetual up to a point at which the wounds are small enough that they close easily.

I’d guess this approach will work well with your elms, alders and birches - will look forward to seeing the results!

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Thanks folks. I’ll try to take some before and after pics this season.