Bark splitting on tree

Asked May 28, 2016, 11:05 PM EDT

Hello. I have a beautiful maple tree that looks like the bark is splitting. I'm wondering if the tree is okay, and if there is anything I can do?

Hennepin County Minnesota maple trees

3 Responses

The bark split on your maple is what is called frost injury or southwest injury. This damage happens to trees in winter time, with maple being a species that is susceptible. It happens on the south or southwest side of the tree, so check to see if that is where the damage has occurred. If so, that is likely what you have. This is caused when we have warm sunny afternoons in winter that warm up the trunk of the tree. When the sun goes down and temperatures drop quickly the bark will contract more quickly than the inside causing this cracking. The tree should close or compartmentalize the damage and there is no recommendation for treatment after the damage has occurred. It looks like it one wound has healed in past years. There is nothing you can do to heal the tree after the damage has occurred. These wounds will increase the risk for insects and diseases.

Thank you for your response. It is on the south/southeastern side, but that looks like what it could be. Is there anything I can do this winter to prevent it from happening? And anything to help prevent disease and insects?

Adequate watering, fertilizing and mulching to improve tree vigor minimizes the impact of such damage when it occurs. Water the tree during drought.