vertical bark stripped

Asked June 19, 2019, 3:23 PM EDT

Hi, we live in Carver County (Cologne, in town) and have a flowering crab about 8" trunk diameter. Roughly 20 years old? A couple of mornings ago, I noticed a freshly detached vertical strip of bark on this otherwise quite healthy tree. It's about 2" wide, and goes from the grass at the bottom up to the base of the lowest branch in line with the strip. - how bad is this for the tree? my fear is insects getting under the bark, should I use the sealing paint to block that or is it too late? - is there anything I can do to/for the tree to help it heal? - the strip is still pretty fresh, should/can I replace it and wrap the tree, or is that unlikely to help? A less important question would be - any idea why this happened? I thought perhaps our lawn service had nicked it, but it shouldn't have popped off a whole strip like that in any case? Thank you as always for your advice. I've attached a pic. -Steve

Carver County Minnesota

1 Response

Thanks for the question.

While there may be several different explanations for what you are seeing in your flowering crab, the two most likely are:

1). Environmental causes. We have seen much of this over this past spring. We believe that this might be due to extreme winter temperatures and/or unusual freezing and thawing cycles this spring. See:

https://www.sandyoaks.com/the-causes-of-bark-splitting-on-trees/

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/fix-bark-splits-40659.html

2). This is the time of the year that grey squirrels strip bark from trees for their nest building activities. I would lean towards this as the most likely possibility, especially if you have squirrels in your area. Look for their nests in nearby trees. They will be large and will have fresh leaves and branches on them. See:

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/squirrel-stripping-bark-off-tree-kill-tree-92677.html

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/treat-tree-bark-torn-off-trunk-48899.html

In the final analysis, however, it would be prudent to have a licensed professional arborist make an on-site inspection of your tree. The University of Minnesota has an excellent publication regarding the selection of such an individual:

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/how-hire-tree-care-professional

Good Luck!!!