Oak tree bark issue

Asked June 10, 2019, 9:16 AM EDT

We have an Oak tree located in Waterford , Mi that has an approximate 1x10 ft section of bark on the northeast side of the tree, sloughing off. It appears that the bark on that side has been separating over the last year or so, but has been falling off to the ground the last couple of months. We are concerned with the prognosis for this tree. Is there some kind of disease causing this, and is there some kind of action we should be taking. FYI, the tree is located about 70 feet east of the lake shore, we also conducted quite a bit of construction work in 2016 within 20 feet of the east side of this tree but do not believe we hit or removed any roots. There also was addition and amendment of topsoils near this tree due to our construction. I have attached a couple of recent photos of the tree. Any assistance you can provide is appreciated.

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Some injury or disease affected the tree in the past. Fungi may have entered where there are limb stubs or where the dead limb is that has the rope hanging from it. If the limb was alive when the rope was installed, the friction can cause an opening in the bark and fungi enter.

I don’t see the tree attempting to close off the wounds and this is a concern. A healthy tree would be showing some ‘wound wood’ at the edges of the limb stubs or split bark.

Construction this near the roots is very stressful, too, and can contribute to the tree’s decline. The root zone may need aerating or vertical mulching to reduce soil compaction. This should be done by a trained arborist.

I would hire a certified arborist to diagnose the whole tree and root zone and give you a care plan. Certified professionals have been educated in care, pests, diseases, and have passed a certification test. The diagnosis is not very expensive when compared to the value of a mature oak. Find them by zip code here- www.treesaregood.org