Issue: May 19, 2001

Wind damaged tree branch


The wind broke a branch out of my tree. That branch is now hanging on by only a thin strip of bark. What can I do to re-attach the branch? Belen, NM


When did the branch break? If it was only a few hours ago (not likely by the time I received your message and replied), you can attempt to "graft" it back in place. However, the chances of success, even a few hours after the break, are slim in New Mexico. This is especially true when there is only a thin strip of bark still attached to the branch. Success is also dependent on the size of the broken branch and the species of tree.

The best advice is to remove the branch. Cut it at the point where the strip of bark is still firmly attached to the tree. Once it has dried, this is the only option.

If you repair it quickly after the branch breaks and the branch is not too large, and if the tree is one which has the capacity to graft easily (produce wound closure tissues easily), you may be able to reattach the branch. That is a lot of "ifs". It is not impossible but can be difficult. You may be able to graft the branch back into place by holding it tightly in place with wood screws or (for a short time) with plastic grafting bands. It is essential that the "cambium layer" of the branch is united with the cambium layer of the trunk. The cambium is a critical layer of dividing cells found just below the bark in trees. The cambium layer of cells produces the new cells that allow "knitting together" of the branch and the tree. These cells replace the xylem and phloem cells which transport water and nutrients in the tree. Once the cambium has dried, there is no chance for successful grafting.

If you want to try grafting (the next time this happens) you can find good books on grafting techniques in your local library or bookstore.

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Daffodils' leaves turning yellow


The leaves on my daffodils have turned yellow and died. Should I dig the bulbs now?


You don't have to dig up your daffodils just because the daffodils are dormant. If they produced a lot of blossoms and are not in an inappropriate location, you can just leave them there. They will need a little water through the summer, but very little. In the late winter next year, their leaves will appear again, perhaps with extra leaves produced from newly formed "daughter bulbs." These will then be followed by the flowers. In a few years, after the daffodils have multiplied to form a clump of several bulbs, their blooming may decline. Then you may want to dig them and replant them. If nearby trees have grown larger and have begun to shade the daffodils, you may need to dig and move the bulbs, but you don't have to dig them up just because they are dormant.


ALBUQUERQUE 2001 SPRING ROSE SHOW presented by the Albuquerque Rose Society on Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3 at the Albuquerque Garden Center, 10120 Lomas Blvd., NE. Entries will be accepted from 7:30 to 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. The show is open to the public on Saturday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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Send your gardening questions to Yard and Garden, ATTN: Dr. Curtis Smith NMSU Cooperative Extension Service 9301 Indian School Road, NE, Suite 112 Albuquerque, NM 87112

Curtis W. Smith, Ph.D., is an Extension Horticulture Specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator.

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