beating trees with a bat

ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5January 8, 2010

it is said.. it will stimulate a struggling tree to inspire itself to grow with more vigor ...

i presume threatening its life somehow releases some growth hormones ...

old wives tale???

old warlocks tale???

and most importantly .. have you ever done it??? ... come on.. fess up

i did.. i cant say there was any effect.. but i sure felt better.. lol ... and the oak is still retarded ...

ken

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Dan Staley

Didn't Shigo refute this old practice?

Dan

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 1:53PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Ken, I'll need your address to arrange picketers from PET A (P) to come over for a visit.

I've never heard anyone claim that such a practice would increase vigor. I have heard people claim it could help stimulate flowering/fruiting. I have doubts, but maybe it would work when the tree responds to stress. Trees often produce flowers/fruit in response to other types of stress.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 2:07PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

did shigo get his bat taken away???

if a plant wont flower.. and then you do this, and it does flower .. wouldnt that be an increase in vigor, brandon???

ken

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 3:06PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I've heard it said that trauma will thicken the trunk...and I've noticed some trees in parking lots seem to have thickened, scarrified trunks as a result of repeated contact with car bumpers. I've never tried it on one of my own plants, however.

Josh

1 Like    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 3:12PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

if a plant wont flower.. and then you do this, and it does flower .. wouldnt that be an increase in vigor, brandon???

Not as I've seen vigor commonly defined.

------------------------------

There was another thread about this subject a few years(?) ago. I looked to try to find it and see what was said, but had no luck.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 3:49PM
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Dan Staley

The old syrup tappers used to do this prior to harvest, but as to whether you can beat on, say, a honeylocust and while avoiding damaging the thin bark stimulate sap movement is questionable. Surely on a conifer there is a danger of cavitation and whether the deciduous trees find it stimulating is, AFAICT, not supported by the literature, botany, or anything else.

Dan

2 Likes    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 5:03PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Trying to beat on a bat with a tree might be an even more questionable use of effort. Too large and clumsy a weapon for such a small, fast-moving target.

Note that if you do something to one test subject and then decide something observed later was a result of that undertaking, without multiple test subjects getting the same treatment and an equal number of controls (untreated subjects) being present you don't really know that particular outcome was demonstrated.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 9:41PM
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deltaohio

I wonder what the neighbors were thinking.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 9:58PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

I think this practice is of more benefit to the whacker than the whackee. Kind of like going to a batting cage to let off steam. I believe it's a guy thing. Ken, thank you for brightening my day!
Barb

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:17PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

I recall 15-20 years ago watching a garden show suggesting that. They were dealing with a 2-3 inch caliper sapling, so they were using rolled up newspaper "to promote growth". Never seen or heard about it since...until now, that is.

tj

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:35PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

Well, from my experience watching my friend and her tree, the whacking does work.

She had a young pear tree that would not produce, flowered well, but no fruit for several years. Her grandmother told her to take the baseball bat and whack the trunk of tree for a while. I think the timing was while tree was blooming, and tree did indeed produce a LOT of pears that year. Gramma said it was a common practice, she used it and knew others who did, and trees then produced well after.

Trees were younger, but trees planted with them were producing. This was used on nice looking trees, after several years of no fruit, that owner thought SHOULD be producing.

So one whacking to a tree in it's life. Not needed again. All I heard about getting whacked were fruit trees of various kinds planted on the farm.

Gramma was pretty old when she told my friend to whack the pear tree, and that was MANY years ago. So information would be over 100 years old now.

I would whack the tree, if I thought it would help improve tree, to heck with the neighbors! Thanks for making me remember my friend and me laughing so hard when I saw her whacking the tree, and Gramma saying it would work. Haven't thought of that story for a long time.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:52PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

ron that is hilarious... hitting a tree with a little black furry thing... lol ...

ken

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 8:15AM
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Dan Staley

I recall 15-20 years ago watching a garden show suggesting that. They were dealing with a 2-3 inch caliper sapling, so they were using rolled up newspaper "to promote growth".

That sounds like Jerry Baker.

Nonetheless, physiologically I can't picture the biological mechanism that is promoted/activated by this whacking-smacking activity.

Surely the trunk sway by wind is more effective and widespread in the tree, and what is the correlation of heavier fruiting and spring wind events??

Dan

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 11:22AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Again, whacking one tree, without any unwhacked trees involved does not demonstrate that it was effective. The tree may have been ready to bloom anyway, without even one control (untreated pear tree of same age and kind, on same site) present there was no basis for comparison.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 11:55AM
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noki

I wonder if there is a tree that has evolved expecting animals to rub against the trunk?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 12:13PM
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drrich2(6)

I've heard of this being done; haven't seen it & have no first-hand experience with whether it works. Since the question comes up 'Why would it?' I thought I might add a thought.

Is it within reason that the plant may somehow register that it has suffered injury, and divert more resources into reproduction given the possibility that it is injured or its environment may've gotten more adverse?

We pull old wilting blooms of some flowers (e.g.: Petunias) to trigger a greater investment in flower production by stopping the hormonal feedback that inhibits it. Different mechanism, but an example of how reproductive effort can be influenced by environmental factors.

Richard.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 12:33PM
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bushhog936(E. TX -Zone 8B)

I know a man that drives an iron crosstie spike into his pecan trees, says it helps with fruit production.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 3:37PM
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lpptz5b

It is interesting the different results one may get from beating a tree w/bat.
I have heard that they also use this method when trying to lure a Bigfoot into camera range.

lp

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 10:44PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You need the sasquatch to pick up the trees to be swung at bats.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 10:52PM
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noki

Does it make a difference what kind of bat? Maybe a Maple bat will have a different effect than an Ash on an Oak? What about Aluminum bats? That pinging sound will scare away all the squirrels, so is that good or bad?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 12:54AM
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Dan Staley

Back to drrich's interesting comment, I suppose 'registering injury' is possible, but I wonder how the tree would differentiate between wind torque and an object striking the trunk?

Dan

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 11:01AM
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alexis717_df

OMG. I can't help it... no relevancy to topic...but... Everyone in the office is looking at me like I'm nuts. ROTFLMBO.

Alexis

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 6:28PM
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lucky_p

Ah, the old adage:
A dog, A wife, A hickory tree,
The more you beat 'em,
The better they be.
(Mind you, now, I'm merely repeating it, not recommending it!)

There have been folks who specialize in creating wooden implements - veritable works of art - from 'figured-grained' woods, burls, etc., who specialize in 'creating' some spectacular woody anomalies, over years/decades' time by bludgeoning selected trees repeatedly, allowing the original lesions to heal before imparting a fresh, new batch of cambium damage by way of incredible damage done by beating the trunk with bat, mallet, etc.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 9:43PM
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hogmanay

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Act now and we'll throw in a free sham-wow just pay separate shipping and handling.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 10:35AM
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lpptz5b

ROTFLMBO,

I'm lost,just can't figure out what that stands for.

lp

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 11:09AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Rolling
On
The
Floor
Laughing
My
But
Off

ken

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 11:33AM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

I wonder if the concept of whoopin' the tree is akin to the practice of knife girdling peach trees to increase fruit size? No pain, no gain? Found the link below...
hortster

Here is a link that might be useful: Knife girdling

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 12:53PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I've never heard that old age, but I like it! ;)

Josh

1 Like    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 3:06PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

"adage," sorry.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 4:36PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I heard of this a while back. I've never gone at a tree w/ a bat, but i have kicked and shaken a tree to see if it makes it stronger. LOL. ROFLLMAOWTFBBQ

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 11:48PM
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lucky_p

Severe, near-life-threatening damage can - and may be utilized to - induce reinvigoration &/or fruiting in senescent fruit/nut trees.
Some older pecan orchards use 'hedging' to force old, non-bearing trees back into production for a period of time, while younger, more productive new trees are coming on. The older trees may be cut back almost to the main trunk on one or two sides each consecutive year(25-50% of mature canopy removed), resulting in vigorous regrowth and reinitiation of short-term nut production. Once the 'replacement' trees begin to come into bearing, the old, senescent trees are removed.

Several years ago, Hurricane Opal swept up through and across much of MS/AL/GA, uprooting many older pecans - but most older non-bearing trees that survived the onslaught were 'shaken up' enough, that the subsequent year resulted in bumper crops of nuts from many of those senescent old trees - and then they slumped back into the relative non-productiveness one would expect of centenarians.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 8:39PM
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calliope(6)

Years ago when the DIF technique was being investigated to replace growth regulating chemicals in g'house crops, much the same story was circulating about keeping internode length shortened and increasing stem size by 'stimulating' the tops of growing seedlings. IOW softly brushing the foliage on a regular schedule. I had forgotten all about that. Same rationale I imagine as not staking trees, to let the wind accomplish strengthening the trunk. I had forgotten all about beating on trees, thanks for the chuckle and the memory.

My folks lived in the city and there were some loutish brats down the street of questionable intelligence who used to regularly beat on the landscape trees up and down the street. Dang, I should kept records. Can't say if it did any good or not, because the utility companies topped them all out until they died premature deaths.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 12:49AM
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pinballer3(5a Denver (Brighton))

Two years ago, my neighbor threw a lawn party during which some unruly 10-year olds decided to take a baseball bat to his prized Honeylocust Tree. At the time, it seemed the only fair response was to reverse the roles. But discretion prevailed, and we watched in amazement at how the tree repaired broken and splintered bark and returned to previous vigorous status. Nothing scientific here, but I never thought that beating a tree with a baseball bat would ever be discussed in this forum.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 11:07PM
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lucky_p

pinballer,
I've been hanging around these forums since at least 1996, and the 'beating a tree' topic has come up several times through the years.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 10:43AM
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lucky_p

Linked below is an online Extension publication, "Figure in Wood: An Annotated Review", by Dr. Harold O. Beals, whom I knew from my childhood. There's a discussion section near the end of the booklet, with some photos and descriptions of artificial production of figured-grain in some tree species.
Might be of interest to some of the regulars here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Figure in Wood

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 6:36PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Dan Staley, you're right in this sounds like Jerry Baker, "America's Master Gardener". In his book, Plants Are Like People, he makes reference where he counted the bushel baskets of leaves a Maple tree produced in the Fall. After whacking the tree with a bat, he ended up with way more leaves the following year.
That's about the time I threw the book away.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 7:51AM
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rwng(IL-Z5)

Years ago, I saw a show where the guy "whacked" the trunks with a piece of a garden hose. (May have been Baker) He said to do it in early spring to stimulate new growth.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:34PM
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bernd ny zone5

20 or so years ago I also heard about the practice of beating trees to increase flower and fruit production. The tree gets into a survival mode and will produce more offspring. Similarly works root pruning.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 7:43PM
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Dragonfly Design+Build

I love where people who have zero actual experience with something will ridicule it even though it's completely outside their realm of knowledge. Yes, this works. To be specific, it will cause more blossoms/fruit set. I don't know that it translates to more growth in general (i.e., not related to blooming/fruit). A plausible reason is that a stressed tree may be making one last attempt to fruit before dying.

I first came across this when a backhoe bumped into our mango tree several times while spreading dirt, and the fruit set that year was 3 or 4x the normal amount. I've since used this on other fruit trees. I don't know much else about it. But before it blossoms in spring, beat on the trunk enough to cause bruising. A bat or 2x4 for a large established tree. I'd use something smaller for a smaller tree or thinner bark.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2015 at 5:42PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"I love where people who have zero actual experience with something will ridicule it even though it's completely outside their realm of knowledge."

Dragonfly, I read through the whole thread and don't see what you are talking about. A couple of posters inserted a little humor (the bigfoot thing), but I see nowhere that the practice was "ridiculed". Could you point out what you are talking about?

"Yes, this works. To be specific, it will cause more blossoms/fruit set."

You state this as if you have some kind of knowledge or proof. If so, can you please provide links or references to scientifically peer-reviewed studies or at least a well-written and considered thesis? If anything would be worse than ridicule, it would surely be information stated as fact without any real rational or back up.

"I first came across this when a backhoe bumped into our mango tree several times while spreading dirt, and the fruit set that year was 3 or 4x the normal amount."

What led you to attribute the larger fruit set to careless use of your backhoe? Is there ANY reason at all to do so? Maybe there's more to your position than you state, but it seems you are pretty far out on a limb here.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2015 at 6:04PM
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beng12(z6 west Md)

Reminds of some archaic saying I read years ago:

A wife and a hickory tree,
The more you beat 'em, the better they be.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 6:45AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

You know them odd rotting wounds we always get pictures of on the sides of large transplants which have been in the ground a year or two? It is my theory (unsubstantiated) they are caused by mechanical damage.

So I am concerned beating the trunk of a tree can cause damage to the live layers immediately underneath. could this promote flowering? if you believe stress does. Could it cause cankers, i bet it could.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 7:20AM
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wisconsitom

For sure it could cause, or I should say, promote cankers and pockets of decay in the stem. If that's your thing, fictitious person with a bat, whack away.

Anyone else notice how many of the prescriptions above involve pounding on a tree in spring.......and then the crazy thing leafs out! Simply amazing-a tree leafing out in the spring!

There, that was me ridiculing this idea. I freely admit, and I also freely state, this is worth being ridiculed.

+oM

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 7:52AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

+oM, I'm just aghast!!! (-;

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 1:46PM
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wisconsitom

Oops, I did it again!

+oM

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 2:30PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Rejuvenation whooping.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2015 at 10:00AM
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benfisher

Fruit buds are established in previous years growth. To say they magically appear upon beating seems like a stretch to me. I would guess the additional year of growth would be more relevant.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2015 at 4:40PM
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poaky1

Jerry Baker, the old guy with the crazy concoctions made from usual home items, used to say used a rolled up newspaper.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 3:27PM
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poaky1

Beng, that saying could be applied to nasty husbands also. Poaky1

    Bookmark   February 25, 2015 at 7:13PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Beng, that adage was actually mentioned in this Thread in January of 2010.

"A dog, a wife, a hickory tree / the more you beat 'em / the better they be."

Josh

    Bookmark   February 25, 2015 at 8:46PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

I can honestly say that beating my trees has never entered my mind. I've never even raised a hand to my children.

You get vigor by lots of TLC: plenty of water, plenty of sunshine, well-placed mulch, and light fertilization once a year.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 4:34AM
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