Bark Splitting

Traditionally the splitting of bark on Acer – Maples, Fraxinus -- Ash, Tilia – Lindens and other trees has been thought to be caused by the winter sun heating up the southern side of the tree’s trunk. Now some very interesting thoughts are beginning to be researched. Bark splitting may be due to improper pruning or the timing of the pruning.  Besides researching the pruning issue, Hannah Mathers, an Ohio State University Extension nursery and landscape specialist, is also noticing that tree guards, those black or white tubes we use on trees to help against injury may also contribute to bark splitting.  Other factors now under study by Mathers include improper soil acidity and manganese toxicity.  It’s interesting how we may have just been led to believe that sunlight heating the southwest facing trunk, along with freezing temperatures, causes bark splitting. Now, with actual research, this may not be the primary factor.The next time you walk through a forest of susceptible trees, take note how many have bark splitting. Come to think of it, I can’t remember seeing any. I guess the trees growing in our forests don’t have the winters snow and temps like those in our landscapes. Ya Sure!

For more information, see and you think you have problems.Try having the responsibilities of our USDA. As hard as those good folks try to control pests and diseases in this wonderful country of ours, they have finally decided to give up the fight on the eradication of citrus canker in Florida. Even though they remove every citrus tree within 1,900 feet of an infected citrus tree, the bacterial infection still spreads.  Notorious hurricanes, legal delays and other factors have allow the bacteria to be transported everywhere, resulting in mega-millions of dollars of loss not only to you and I, the government, but the growers trying to deal with the infections. While the USDA has been incredible successful in keeping pests at bay, remember Nature is still in control. The University of Florida will continue to work on breeding resistant strains of citrus trees. Check for further information. Hopefully, we will discover more than one resistant cultivar. Otherwise, we might plant billions of the same clone and then cry when the bacteria mutates to wipes out the entire crop. Sounds a bit like Dutch Elm Disease, Blight on Austrian and Scot’s Pine, Emerald Ash Borer, Viburnum Borer, etc, etc, etc.

originally published in Newsletter Vol 20 #1

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