After sharing the results of this experiment, I received an interesting comment from an individual whose horticultural knowledge I respect and seek at times. Here is the essence of his comment, which made me consider the fact that I didn’t consciously create a “control” in the experiment.
Very interesting blog post today…
I saw a Lindsay Farr video a few years ago where he contended that recutting the suberized tissue accelerated the healing response. While it seems plausible, it never seemed to do anything beneficial for me. I am assuming you were influenced in an analogous way. What I don’t understand about why this could possibly work is that the first thing the cambium actually does is to reform the callus and then xylem grows behind the cambium and bark ahead.
Cutting away the suberized tissue leaves the a cambium exposed to dessication. Putting something over that prevents the dessication until the new (albeit thin) callus is formed, which takes only 3 or 4 days. I most often use a wad of sphagnum, or just polyethylene film, like you did. I’ve left it for months in a few cases and just a few days in others and never was impressed that there was any difference. I certainly saw no results like you showed in your blog today.
Ethylene is known to stimulate accelerated cambium growth and cutting certainly would stimulate some ethylene production (damage response). I’ve tried ethylene treatments to no avail, so I am truely dazzled by your result.
Soooooo, I must be missing something.
1. How many similar results with wound closure have you had like this?
2. Do you have any ‘heads up’ comparisons against similar wounds that weren’t under damp sphagnum or ‘cut paste’?
3. Can you offer any explanations about what I am missing/overlooking/not doing correctly?
Here are my answers to the questions:
3. I can’t explain what’s going on under wraps the way J does, so I thought readers would appreciate the description of events he provided above.
1. This was truly an experiment to see what would happen. Years ago I took a Kathy Shaner workshop, and we made some big, 3″ cuts on a large camellia. Kathy put some damp rags on the cuts and told me to keep them wet, that the humidity would keep the callus rolling. It did work to some degree, but camellia has really thin bark and heals very slowly. I didn’t have a “control” cut to compare it with in this case either.
2. Just by chance, I did get a photograph that showed some cuts on this Chishio maple made in April 2013. I sealed it with cut paste for the year, but it had fallen off by March 2014. Here is a shot of the cut made in April 2013:
The uncovered callus has advanced about 3/16″ around the perimeter over 2 seasons’ time, while the covered cut advanced around 3/4″ in less than half of the time. Far from scientific, I’ll admit, but certainly worth repeating to test.
Thanks for reading; comments always appreciated.