I trimmed the top of my Bartlett pear tree, 1st time in 30 years. We cut the top shoots/branches. Where the cuts are maybe 8 to 10 inches in diameter should we apply some tar to reduce the exposure of the trees core would this help with the trauma the tree experiences? Thanks in advance
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master gardeners with your inquiery.
When you cut tree branches, in essence you are creating a wound that can be a potential breeding ground for disease. To prevent this, trees naturally seal off wounds after pruning, by forming specialized “callus” tissue around the edges of the wound/cut end. Not only do trees try to close the damaged tissue from the outside, they also make the existing wood surrounding the wound unsuitable for spread of decay organisms.
Though many gardeners used to apply wound dressings, current research indicates that wound dressings (materials such as tar or paint) should not be applied to the wounded area because it has been determined that they do not prevent decay and may even interfere with wound closure.
It is important to remember to give your tree a thorough watering immediately after pruning, as water supports the new shoots that develop. You should also fertilize as usual to encourage new growth, including those that close old wounds.