Split bark

Asked April 2, 2020, 5:34 PM EDT

I have a young Japanese Maple. It has a major issue on the trunk. We would like to know if it could be saved, if so how, or we should re do the bed and pull it out. It is in the first flower bed we did when we moved. It has clay some extra water at times and it’s against the north side of our house.

Licking County Ohio

1 Response

Thank you for sending a photo. It's clear that the tree was planted too deep. All newly planted trees should have what is called the root flare showing. The root flare juts out from the other roots, sometimes above the other roots, but it is easy to see if you're looking for it. It must always be visible. By planting the tree too deep, the bark begins to compost, it separates from the tree itself and, as you can see, slowly kills the tree. If you are considering a change in landscaping, it might be a good time to move this unfortunate tree along. Be sure, even if the new tree is installed by professionals, to make sure you can see the root flare, and that it is visible and level with the ground when the the soil is returned to the hole. If necessary, remove the burlap and wire to find the flare. Nursery stock can be planted badly. Take your cue from the forest. Look at all those trunks gently sloping from the forest floor. Not one of them looks like a telephone pole. Mother Nature knows how to plant trees.