I have an oak tree that had a "Y" starting about 12 feet off the ground that I had one of them removed since it was reaching way over a neighbors property. (It was literally half the tree). Fast-forward several years, and the stub of that removed half has started to show visible decay / rot and I'm worried that the decay will creep down into the main trunk. Maybe I waited to long, but I was wondering if I should cut the stub away and then seal it somehow? Is that even a thing? Do I need to hire a tree company to do this?

Thanks!enter image description here

  • Can you add a photo showing the problem please
    – Bamboo
    May 2, 2020 at 20:11
  • @bamboo I added a picture, thanks!
    – tcarvin
    May 3, 2020 at 13:41
  • 1
    I agree with the answer you've been given now I've seen a photo - the tree cutters didn't do their job properly, they left a bad cut behind. You can try recutting it, leaving a collar in place,but wound paints are no longer recommended.
    – Bamboo
    May 3, 2020 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


Best practice when removing a tree branch is (a) not to leave a stub but to cut as far as the ridge or collar where the branch meets the tree, and (b) not to bother with sealants, wound paints, etc. The best you can do is remove the stub as far as the collar and then just hope for the best.

To quote from this link: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=233

When removing larger limbs, make an undercut first about 20-30cm (8in-1ft) from the trunk, and follow this with an overcut. This will prevent the bark tearing, leaving a clean stub when the branch is severed.

Then remove the stub, first making a small undercut just outside the branch collar (the slight swelling where the branch joins the trunk), followed by an overcut to meet the undercut, angling the cut away from the trunk to produce a slope that sheds rain.

Avoid cutting flush to the trunk as the collar is the tree’s natural protective zone where healing takes place.

There is no need to use wound paints, as they are not thought to contribute to healing or prevent disease. The exception is plums and cherries (Prunus sp), where wound paint may be used to exclude silver leaf disease spores.

  • Thanks for the feedback. So the guys that took down the Y trunk should have known to have done it, and now I wish I had not waited so long to look into it.
    – tcarvin
    May 3, 2020 at 13:43

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