October Glory Maple Split Bark on Trunk

Asked May 27, 2017, 10:54 PM EDT

I have an October Glory maple tree that is about three inches in diameter and 14 feet tall. It was 2 inches in diameter and 7 - 8 feet tall when planted three years ago The tree has grown well and looks healthy. On May 26, I discovered an area of broken bark on one side of the of the tree's trunk about 4' from the ground (see attached photos). There are three openings penetrating the trunk within a space 5" long by 2" wide. Is the broken bark a sign of disease, or physical and/or insect damage? Can the damage be corrected and, if so, what needs to be done? Thank you for your help,

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

We cannot say for sure what caused the trunk damage. Could be a canker, physical damage, and any insects would be secondary damage.

You can knock off any loose bark in the area to see the extent of the damage. If the damage is more than half of the tree, you may want to consider replacing the tree while it is young.

We noticed that the tree may be planted too deeply and there may be excessive mulch around the trunk. You should be able to see the flare at the base of the trunk where it joins the root system. You can also look for girdling roots. Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk. Look at our publication on these types of problems http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG86%20Common%20Abio...
You can also contact a certified arborist for an onsite diagnosis regarding the health of the tree and the best way to proceed.