Bark split on crab apple tree

Asked April 23, 2019, 9:27 AM EDT

The bark on my crap apple tree split in two places this winter. The cracks are 4 - 6 inches long. The crab is a Royal Raindrop. The tree was planted two years ago near the house in a southern exposure. Should I try to repair the crack or will it heal itself? I am a little worried about bugs getting into the tree. Thank you, Dave Anderson

Oakland County Michigan crab apple trees bark splitting

1 Response

Hello,

The injury is either from frost crack or sunscald. You should not apply anything to the crack- trees will enclose the cracks over time- several growing seasons. They will do this faster if you don’t apply anything to the crack.

What does help is keeping the tree watered during droughty times through the growing season, up to the first hard frost in the fall- even if the leaves have already fallen. Going into winter well hydrated is important.

In fall you can wrap the trunk with a paper or plastic tree wrap, or shade the trunk by placing a burlap screen about 1 foot away from the trunk. Remove the wrap or screen in spring. Use this winter protection for the next several years, until the bark becomes thicker and tougher.

Here are some references with pictures-

https://forestry.usu.edu/news/utah-forest-facts/sunscald-injury-or-southwest-winter-injury-on-deciduous-trees

https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ndsuag/lawns-gardens-trees-old/wrapping-trees-for-winter-protection

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/smart_winter_protection_for_trees_and_shrubs

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