Saguaro Repair Question


I have a 16″ saguaro, about 20 years old (germinated from seed by a friend of mine). Last summer, it was accidentally knocked over causing a split about halfway up, one that looks to be about halfway through the cactus. Today, the saguaro is doing well, continues to grow, but I worry about the split. Is there some substance (silicon?) I can inject into it that will not harm the plant while filling in the cut and stabilizing the cactus? Thanks!

Jordan

Jordan,

Unfortunately trying to repair plant injuries usually just leads to rot and hidden infection. Since plants don’t really have the same type of active cell replacement and immune systems that animals do, they deal with trauma and injuries in a different way. The best that they can do is seal off the injury and sort of build up a layer of bark or scar-tissue to keep out infections and pests, they don’t seem to be able to replace damaged tissue with living, growing cells like we do. Being people with nurturing attitudes, we want to fix them and add band-aids like “prune-seal” or in your case silicone, but all that does is create a warm safe spot for fungi to grow where we can’t see it or treat it. It is best to just clean injuries when they happen and let the plant seal it off. Over time layers of dead cells will build up a woody-corky layer that will hopefully be strong enough to support the new growth above.I would just leave the split as it is, just make sure to keep water out of it and watch for any signs of infection.

Take care,

Hap


    
    
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