Maple trunk issue

Asked May 15, 2018, 2:36 PM EDT

After an ice storm three weeks ago, noticed a gash to the trunk of my young maple. A local hunter suggested “buck rub”. Tree was stressed from the 48 hour storm, ice weighting and freezing the branches into the ground. I am worried it may be a fungus. The gash is on the NE side of the tree where the storm left ice that lasted 4-5 days. Looks to be bark breakage at foot of tree. The tree has very healthy looking leaf buds. We’ve surrounded it with fertilizer sticks. I leave tomorrow at noon and will not return until Sun. Would like to treat before I leave. Help please! This is a beautiful little tree.
Can I save this tree. If so, how?

Iosco County Michigan tree damage

1 Response

I don't believe this is a buck rubbing. Generally, those rubs only penetrate the outer bark.

Are you sure this injury has only been present since the ice storm three weeks ago? It looks to be much older as it has already formed scar tissue (callus) around it. Trees compartmentalize injured areas by producing a callus around them to prevent decay and allow new growth to continue outward.

Trees do not heal. Rather, they seal, producing new scar tissues to cover or compartmentalize the injured portions of the branches or trunk. Your tree wound has already been producing this scar tissue, as you can clearly see in photo #2. It appears as if something very heavy has crashed into this section of your tree some time ago; it also resembles damage caused by a lightning strike. A third possibility is a canker, which is a disease usually caused initially by a wound. See the website below for information re. canker diseases.

The wounded portion of your tree (where there is no bark) will be unable to move water up the tree from its roots or nutrients down from the canopy. However, the rest of the tree where the bark is not removed will still do these needed processes. The website below will give you some helpful information.

If you are sure this wound is caused by ice damage, there is nothing you need to do other than provide plentiful water and proper amounts of fertilizer. In order to ascertain the exact nature of this wound, I recommend you consult a licensed and certified arborist. He or she will come to your property and examine your tree and is qualified to diagnose the exact cause and let you know if there are any steps you need to take. You should be able to find them listed in the yellow pages of your phone directory under tree services.