As the growing season comes to an end, we have certain chores we do to prepare for winter. Deciduous trees are either in full color or already dropping foliage. Watering needs decline from two or three times daily to once every few days. Cold frames are getting filled.

It’s the ideal time of year to ignore problems that may have cropped up during the growing season. Some are easier to see than others. In the case of this Riverflat hawthorn, I spotted this issue last weekend when I turned the tree to examine it.


If you look closely, near the base of the carved out chop area you can see what looks like a bullet hole. When I first spotted it, the giveaway was a little sawdust. I immediately thought it might be a boring insect going to work. I had previously treated this area with PC Petrifer® wood hardener, in order to ensure the carved area remained hard as it weathered.

It would have been easy to just ignore this problem until spring. But that’s not a good approach to take. Often you ignore a problem right through the timeframe when you can do something about it. At that point it’s often too late. I’ve been guilty of this before, and I like to think I’ve learned my lesson. I don’t ignore these problems any more.

I first took the step of pouring some Bifenthrin® pesticide into the hole, in order to kill anything that might be down in the wood.

Today I got out my Dremel®. A problem area like this needs to be addressed, first by carving down to durable wood (if possible).


Here’s the result after just a bit of carving. I’ve smoothed down the area surrounding the hole. There wasn’t any evidence of any insect present, which was a relief. So if something stopped by for a chew, either I killed it right away or it decided to move on.

By the way, when you’re carving any sort of chop, uro or shari, be sure they’ll shed water when you’re done. If you examine this carving work closely, you’ll see I designed it specifically to ensure this happens. You don’t want standing water on dead wood.


The next step is to paint the carved area with PC Petrifier.


This is a great water-based wood hardener. Here’s what it looks like. You can order it online.



Finally, here’s the early fall portrait of this fine Riverflat hawthorn. Six years in training now.

Let me know what you think.