Tree Bark Isues

Asked April 27, 2018, 7:33 PM EDT

It appears one of my elm trees has died. It has not bloomed and upon inspection it the bark has cracked and in some place the bark has come off. Can you tell me what caused this and how do I keep my other trees from getting it? Thank You, Nancy Christensen Damascus, OR

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for attaching the images which reveal the cracked, peeling, and missing bark. Sorry to learn about the loss of your tree.

When bark peels off on its own, it indicates that the underlying wood has been dead for quite some time. Beyond that, it’s difficult to diagnose a problem only from images of the dead parts. Whenever someone writes about a problem during the growing season, we always request images of the tree overall, plus a close up of a branch with both dead (or damaged) parts connected to live tissue.

One common problem during recent years has been the naturally occurring low-rainfall years coupled with higher than normal summer temperatures. Then, too, trees such as elm which come from regions with summer rainfall, should be irrigated deeply, here in the northwest, at least every 3 to 4 weeks during our dry months.

Consider contacting several Certified Arborists visit for onsite evaluations, as they may be able why the elm died, also if your other trees are potentially at risk. You can locate nearby Certified Arborists by going to and, then, clicking Find An Arborist. Next, use your zip code as the search phrase.