Tree Pruning Paste

Okay, so if you have as many fruit trees as we have (60 on a quarter acre section), you will find plenty pruning tasks over Autumn and Winter. Old gardener friends cautioned me to seal the pruning wounds of the trees in case they develop fungus or insect pest infestations, so I used to paint the cuts with old water-based wood sealer. Then I had another thought, if I choose not to have chemicals in my food, why would I paint my fruit trees with chemical-based paint….surely some residue would make it’s way into my fruit? The solution came in the form of a gift….I held a garden tour for the Hamilton Organic Garden Society (HOGS) and they presented me with some home made pruning paste! Revolutionised my pruning work!

Melting the bees wax.

Having enjoyed using my gifted paste and finishing it in this busy pruning season, I decided to make my own. I usually make all my own body butters, balms and moisturisers, so based on these recipe principles, I figured it out, with great success! Yeeha! Back to business, lots to prune, lots to seal…and the paste has proved to be fantastic to work with, and it was soo easy to make!

All the tools and ingredients needed for making your own pruning paste.

Pruning Paste

  • Approximately 2 TBspn Bees Wax
  • 1 1/2 cups Raw Linseed Oil
  • Citronella Essential Oil (about 25 drops) (any citrus based oil, or tea tree)
  • Shave” slices of beeswax with a sharp knife. This melts far quicker than a big block of bees wax. Add the linseed oil, while blending with a whisk. I am sure any vegetable based oil will do, I just happened to have some old linseed oil lying around in the garden shed. Add the drops of essential oil, blending till it is all mixed in. Be prepared for the wonderful aroma of the oils to fill the senses. You can also use a blend of different oils of your choice. I used citronella, simply because I have a large bottle of it and need to use it up. Frugal living at it’s best. Use up what you have!
  • Pour the blended oil mix into suitable wide-mouthed containers. This makes it easy to dig your fingers into when administering to pruning wounds. DIY tree surgery.
  • Wide-mouthed jars or tins to store your pruning paste.

    The pruning paste serves as a great waterproof cover for the pruning wounds. The essential oils also help deter nasty insects like the citrus borer long horn beetle that burrow deep down into an open pruning wound to lay their eggs. The larvae live in the tunnel until they are ready to emerge, but the damage can undermine the vigour and structure of branches. Tell tale signs of citrus borer can be the presence of fine sawdust near the hole. If this is the case, a long strong twig or piece of wire can be inserted into the hole to kill the larvae, and then seal the hole with pruning paste.

    After pruning, apply a thick layer of pruning paste to the wound.

    The pruning paste can be made as gifts to avid gardening enthusiasts (as was my first jar). It is pleasant to work with, non-toxic and excess paste on the hands can be simply rubbed in to protect those hard working gardener’s hands!

    Happy gardening, cheers


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