peach tree bark splits

Asked April 27, 2019, 1:02 PM EDT

Splits in peach tree bark have opened within the last few days. I'm certain of the timing, because I've been spraying trees, and had carefully gone over the bark of these trees earlier this week. There was one small split on one tree at that time. Now two trees have severe damage. I see no sign of discolored wood, sap/resin, or other exudate in or near the splits. The only possible cause I'm familiar with is freeze damage over the winter. Would such splits open now (early spring)? If freezing is the cause, how should I manage the damaged trees? One source suggests carefully cutting around the wound with a sharp, sterilized knife to encourage healing. These trees are in a home orchard (about a half-dozen each of apple and peach trees). So if this is disease damage, should I consider removing the affected trees to prevent disease spread to the rest of the orchard? Thanks for your advice!

Ionia County Michigan

1 Response

Hello. This looks like winter and wind damage. If the trees are budding out and looking healthy I do not think it is disease. Thin bark trees can have splits like these due to winter wind, freezing temps and sunshine. I would leave it alone and let the tree heal itself. The second photo has a split that looks like it is starting to heal-see where the bark looks rolled? My other concern is that it looks like the tree(s) might be planted too deeply which is going to cause stress in the long run. Your tree in the photo looks like a telephone pole going into the soil where you should see the slope of the root flare. Planting too deeply causes girdling and secondary roots. Try scraping away some of that soil until you see the root flare.