Tree Bark

What is the Cause Behind My Trees Losing its Bark?

A healthy tree will have plump fruit, full canopy and sturdy bark. But what do you do when it seems like the bark is frail and falling off?

Trees that start losing their bark tend to start to look unhealthy. However, that does not necessarily mean something is wrong with the health of your tree.

So, when you see a tree losing its bark, find the underlying cause of why it’s doing so by using the following checklist.


Is it normal for my tree to lose its bark?


Yes, it is normal for a tree to lose some of its bark. For example, birch, silver maple and sycamore are known for losing large pieces of bark. Pine, maple, oak and ash trees tend to mature from the inside out, which means they will often get rid of old bark by shedding it.

Your tree is fine if the shedding of the bark is making room for newer bark. Please review the following reasons for why your tree is losing its bark:

1. Sudden temperature changes and frosty weather often causes trees to lose their bark on the south or southwest side.
2. Extreme heat exposure can make a tree lose its bark, stripping the affected area down to the wood.
3. Unhealthy trees tend to lose their bark and will have other signs of poor health like sap, dead leaves and twigs and cankers.


How can I tell if my tree is unhealthy and is losing its bark?


An Old Apple Tree Losing Bark
An old apple tree may be dying with bark peeling away

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. If the tree looks healthy, then it’s doing normal bark shedding. A tree damaged by inclement weather can be saved using the upcoming tips. However, the presence of cankers, sap and dead leaves and twigs is a good indicator something more serious may be going wrong with your tree’s health.


What can I do when I discover my tree is losing its bark?


Take a good look at your tree. Keep in mind the signs of an unhealthy tree: sap, cankers, fuzzy fungus and dead leaves (and twigs). You may have to consider pest infestations or tree diseases (in the case of oak, pine ash or maple trees) if your tree looks unhealthy. The smooth patch disease is commonly found in oak bark. EAB is a little pest that likes to get deep into the wood of an ash tree.

Get your tree examined by a professional arborist to determine if the tree can be saved or if it will need to be removed. If the arborist rules that your tree is healthy, then the bark falling off your trees is a normal response to the weather situations in your area. Just give your tree some water and mulch (and use the organic kind in fall and spring).


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