Bark flaking off of dogwood tree trunk

Asked October 15, 2020, 8:53 PM EDT

I'm sending 3 photos: the first shows a dogwood in my front yard, west exposure. The second and third show bark flaking off of the trunk, between the ground and maybe 22-26 inches up. Is this normal? I do have an irrigation system which includes this area --- too wet? I mulch with medium-dark hemlock --- problem? Sometimes there are signs of animals digging around the tree base --- I suspect squirrels, maybe skunks or raccoons, and there are neighborhood cats (but it doesn't look like cat scratches.).

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for your question. The gray structures on the bark are a lichen species, which are not harmful to the tree, but are indicative of a plant problem. Bark peeling is an indication of inadequate water, especially during drought conditions. Your tree may not have enough shade, as this OSU Extension article explains: https://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/cornus-florida

I am sorry there are no easy cures other than watering more. Buy an inexpensive watering gauge to see if your system is working. Keep mulch away from trunk to prevent fungal infections. Animals are off the hook. Good luck!