crack up the bark of the trunk of my sugar maple tree
Dear sir or madam, I live in NW Washington, DC. I have two 18-20-year old Maple trees in my back yard. One, a Sugar Maple, has a 4-5 feet vertical crack in the bark of the tree trunk. It is 2-3 inches wide in places and exposes the inside natural wood of the tree. I do not see bugs in the crack or bore holes. I can send a close- up iPad photo if you will give me your email address. Sincerely yours,
Cracks are caused by a variety of things are do not necessarily mean trouble. Read through our website info for causes: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/frost-cracks-sunscald-growth-cracks-trees-and-shrubs
Unless you see rot (crumbling wood, fungal growth), the tree has probably healed itself and should be in a stable condition. Never attempt to apply any kind of "would dressing" (which slows healing) or fill in a crack (which promotes rot).
If you are concerned about the tree's stability, you need to have an arborist look at it on-site. Many tree service companies have arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), which is whowe recommend. Usually they will look at a problem tree for no charge (Of course, they do charge for work don.) To locate a certified arborist near you go to: www.treesaregood.org