Bark Peeled Entirely Off Trunk

Asked October 18, 2015, 12:24 PM EDT

The tree is an October Glory maple; six foot sapling planted 9 years ago. The bark has split & peeled off around the entire circumference of the tree trunk during the past 3 years as seen in photos; its amazing that it still lives. I suspect this is from structural damage caused by putting the tree in "traction" to straighten it when is was in the ground 2 years and the split & peel is a delayed reaction. No evidence of insects or molds apparent. It keeps leafing in spring, but as you can see it has lost its leaves early the past 3 years. This tree is one of four planted at the same time (photo). My question - is the tree doomed & is it time to take it down or is it possible for it to survive and flourish?

Fauquier County Virginia urban forestry horticulture

1 Response

Thank you for contacting eXtension with this question.

Red maples are indeed very tough trees but no tree will survive/thrive when the bark has been removed all the way around the tree. As we sometimes say.... "it's dead and doesn't know it yet".

An option before it is completely dead (while the roots still have life) is to cut it down to a low stump, mayebe 2-3 inches tall and see if it'll sprout from the stump. If it's got a decent amount of life left in it, That maybe be a better way to get a tree there. Certainly cheaper and stump sprouts can grow fast as they are on an existing root system.
If more than one sprouts come up, select the best one (most viperous and lowest attachment)

Respectfully,