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Fractured Fruit Tree Gets a Splint

October snow is not a gardener's friend. The heavy, wet flakes that fell on leaf-laden branches this past weekend caused massive destruction. Huge limbs snapped off mature trees while young trees and shrubs suffered " greenstick fractures ," just like in young children's bones.

I have several young fruit trees growing in my garden, all in various stages of being trained to grow espalier style, where the branches are pruned in two directions only. One of my apricots did very well this spring and summer, producing two long branches that I was going to train into a fan shape next spring. Sadly, the wind caught the branches and twisted them, causing a classic greenstick fracture.

Trees are like people -- they can heal themselves. My apricot needed a little help. Take a look at the photos and see how I made a splint for my fractured branches using two pieces of wood, duct tape, a piece of hose and a rope. I'm hoping that come spring, the break will be mended. If not, I'll prune those branches off and give my apricot a different shape. Trees are very forgiving.

So if your shrubs and trees were damaged by the storm, don't despair. Large hanging branches will have to be removed, but you might be able to salvage smaller trees and ornamental shrubs.

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