Ficus Techniques : 76

Healing Wire Scars


by Jerry Meislik

Ficus salicaria
Ficus salicaria, group planting, 2013

Wire scars
Wire scars, 2013

Mel Goldstein writes,

"Hi Jerry,

I have probelm with some wire scars on a nice nerifolia I have that I was hoping you may have a suggestion for how to eliminate them. I am attaching a photo of the tree and a second closeup photo of the trunk with the wire scars. I have had the tree a long time so these are not going away, so was wondering if you thought I could rub the ridges hard with a wire brush to eliminate them and let new bark grow in --or somthing else.? Any ideas?"

Mel, wire scars are all too common on figs. One, they grow so quickly during certain seasons of the year that wire scarring is likely unless one watchesalmost daily for signs of wire getting too tight. Two,
once the initial wire injury occurs and heals a bit the tree stops further healing over the scar. This occurs especically with slower grower trees, trees in bonsai pots and trees growing indoors. Slow growth keeps the scars from healing over completely.
Trees allowed to grow wild in the ground in tropical areas wil heal over most wire scars fairly quickly.

So I suggest using a small knife or cutter and going to the scarred area and making some fresh edges to the scar. The center of the scar will have no living material and just bark covering it. The raised edges will have green vascular tissue under the bark. I use the knife to remove bark at the rolled edges and get to the green layer but do not do it 360 degrees around the wound but at intervals so it does not look like a ring. Cover these new fresh wounds with cut paste. I find the most effective one is called Top Jin, Japanese, looks hideous orange when applied. Wounds seem to cover over faster with this stuff.

Treating scars

I repeat the treatment but go to virgin areas in 6 months or so. Repeating treatments over time will result in healing over of the scarred areas.

Reminder that wounds will hot callus or heal over soft, rotty wood.


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