A magnificent oak was damaged 6 years ago during construction of a residence. Much of the bark on one side has begun shedding and showing dead wood underneath. There IS some wound-wood growing into the area, but the dead space is more than 12-16" across.

Would a master grafter have success performing a bridge graft across this area?

  • You wouldn’t have any photos? (Ok, it’s partly curiosity, but still...) – Stephie Sep 18 '19 at 16:29

Oaks can be successfully grafted. See for example this report from the International Oak Society and this study from Czech Republic. Both reports mention particular species, but there would be no reason to assume that the species you have in mind would be exempt from the rule. The papers provide some contact names that might be useful in tracking down the required local expertise.

Of course, top scion grafting is not the same as bridge grafting at the base of a tree. The former deals with soft thin bark easily shaped and bound to provide a firm contact as the wound heals. The base of a tree, particularly one which has suffered mechanical damage, will demonstrate thick and likely irregular bark. However the fact that repair tissue exists which will be thinner and at the surface might work in your favour.

As to whether it is worth the effort depends on the particular case. I have seen large apple trees almost perfectly girdled by voles and mice make a quick and remarkable recovery by allowing the thin natural bridge left in place to expand sideways and re-cover the existing trunk.

  • Yes, I have also seen a gingko almost completely girdled by mice make a great recovery the same way – kevinsky Sep 18 '19 at 18:31
  • This is great info. Thank you. – That Idiot Sep 19 '19 at 12:15

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