Tree bark injury

Asked September 2, 2020, 4:31 PM EDT

I recently purchased a prarie fire crabapple tree and the bark was damaged during transport to my home. I have attached a picture of the injury. Is this injury significant to the tree? Is it likely the tree will do just fine? Or will I have issues because of this injury?

Montgomery County Ohio

1 Response

Hi. It isn’t possible to say for certain how your tree will react. It is certainly a significant wound, but it looks like it is only about 1/4 the circumference of the tree. This post from New Mexico State U. suggests that a wound that size will harm a tree but not kill it. As noted in that post, bark wounds disrupt flow in the conducting vessels of the plant, which can result in the death of roots or shoots above and/or below the wound (depending on its depth and extent). Additionally, wounds can provide an entry point for pathogens. This PDF from the U. of Tennessee provides a nice summary of how a tree reacts to a wound and what you should do. Basically, you should just let the tree heal itself and hope for the best, though you can facilitate that process with adequate watering and fertilization to promote overall tree health. Proper mulching also promotes tree health and is described in this article from Penn State.