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Should You Use 'Pruning Paint' On Your Trees?

Howard Garrett is also known as the Dirt Doctor.


Should You Use ‘Pruning Paint’ On Your Trees?

It can actually be harmful to pruning cuts by slowing the healing process.

Published October 23, 2019 By HOWARD GARRETT

This tree's pruning cut is healing well. The dark color is natural. Photo by Howard Garrett.

I usually do not use pruning paint of any kind on my trees. Research by arborists has shown that pruning paint and wound dressings give little help and can be actually be harmful to the pruning cuts by slowing the healing process. Healthy tissue needed for the callus formation around the cuts can be damaged or killed by being covered up with stuff that homeowners might think helps.

Air is important to the wounds. Trees have defense cells, much like white blood cells in animals. Lignin cells are produced on the backside of wounds to naturally prevent diseases from entering fresh cuts. Just as a cut finger heals faster when exposed to the air, so do tree wounds.

This tree has been pruned well and is healing well without any paint. Photo by Howard Garrett.

To read the article in its entirety, visit Howard Garrett’s website at or on The Dallas Morning News website at

About the author

Mr. Howard Garrett

Mr. Garrett, also known as the Dirt Doctor at is an accomplished book author as well as a columnist for The Dallas Morning News.

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