How Do Trees Heal Their Own Wounds?

August 21, 2017

We may not realize it, but trees put up with a lot over the course of their lives. From wrangling with extreme weather to fending off damage caused by humans, trees don’t exactly have it easy. It’s not just the physical damage they have to cope with, though. As we’ll explain in this blog post, trees deal with countless wounds that have the potential to expose the inside of the stem to bacteria and fungi. Interestingly enough, trees are forced to heal on their own in the majority of cases.

Here’s an interesting fact about trees you may not have known. They’re actually built in layers of cells that are bound by rigid walls in a compartmented way. Why is this important? Well, a tree’s structure dictates their response to internal wounds. Each growth period, trees build their branches and trunks outward from a layer of dividing cells. Keep in mind that when a cell is damaged, it’s not as though a tree can go back and fix it. However, it can limit the damage from injury by containing it and preventing it from affecting the rest of the structure. So you can look at it as a tree resisting the spread of damage by isolating the wound and then continuing to grow naturally.


There are two main processes here. First, trees produce a reaction zone that’s unfavorable to decay organisms. From there, they build a barrier zone that compartmentalizes the injured tissue with new tissue. Ideally, that new tissue will cover and seal the wound, allowing the new wood to grow over and beyond it. It’s important to note that the rate and effectiveness of this response differ by both a tree’s health and species. Though you may think that quick wound closure on the outside of a wound would indicate that the inside has stopped the spread of infection, this is not necessarily the case.

It’s fascinating when you consider the difference of wound responses between trees and people. Whereas we may apply some sort of ointment and bandage to an affected area, the tactic isn’t effective with trees. Though you can find plenty of dressings and fillers online, neither really works in favor of a tree. In fact, these products actually interfere with the normal progression of a tree’s wound response. Your local tree company will likely tell you to avoid using these additives on your trees.

The takeaway here is that when trees can compartmentalize wounds and contain them with new growth, internal infections remain localized and do not spread to existing, undamaged wood.


Now that we’ve explained the ins and outs of a tree’s wound closure capabilities, let’s dive into the importance of tree trimming. Homeowners should have their trees trimmed for the following reasons:

  • Safety purposes (if your overgrown trees are too close to nearby properties or public-use spaces, including utility lines or roadways)
  • Cosmetic needs
  • Branches are significantly damaged or dead

At Pro Tree Service, we can also handle any diseased branches with careful trimming techniques. The unfortunate reality is that some trees just can’t overcome nasty infection and disease. That’s why you need a professional tree trimming service to come up with a long-term solution.

Why can’t I trim the tree myself?

There’s no question that tree pruning and trimming require a great deal of precision. Not only that, but just the cost of obtaining the necessary tools is a challenge. Our team at Pro Tree has been providing reliable tree services to Chicago residents for nearly three decades. Through the years, we’ve become cost leaders in the industry.  We are proud to offer a Best Price Guarantee, which means you will receive the most competitive prices every time. Because we care about our customers, you never have to worry about hidden fees or gimmicks.

Fully licensed, insured, and bonded, our workers are legally incorporated and carry commercial general liability, workman’s compensation, and all required municipal bonds and licenses. If you aren’t sure whether or not your tree is dealing with some sort of disease, please don’t try to diagnose the problem on your own. Instead, get in touch with our tree care company today.  

Get a FREE Estimate

Estimates can be scheduled any day of the week.

Service hours: 24 hours/7 days a week.