Can a Tree Recover From Bark Damage?

Trees are tough customers and can sustain a lot of damage. Bark damage is one of the most common things that tree owners run into. This makes people wonder: can a tree recover fro0m bark damage? Today, the team at Ace Tree Service is here with this quick guide on dealing with bark damage. 

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What Does Tree Bark Do?

Tree bark functions like human skin—it protects the healthy tree from external threats and also helps it retain moisture and nutrients. The layer directly below tree bark is the phloem and acts as the tree’s circulatory system, moving oxygen and nutrients to all the parts of the tree. When tree bark is damaged, the exposed phloem can also become damaged and hurt the rest of the tree. 

Can Tree Bark Repair Itself?

Whether a tree can recover from bark damage depends on the size and scope of the damage. Trees can replace small amounts of bark that might naturally fall off as the tree grows and broken branches die. However, trees cannot recover from significant bark loss. If a tree loses a large portion of its bark, it most likely will never grow back completely. 

As such tree wounds that cause significant bark damage are more susceptible to further damage from exposure. If a tree loses more than 50% of its bark, it will probably die unless you take active steps to fix the problem.

Dealing with Bark Damage

The first thing you should do when dealing with wounds on a tree trunk is clean the wound. Similar to human wounds, tree wounds will heal faster and cleaner if you remove the ragged bark around the injury.

Removing bark around tree injuries is called bark tracing. You can remove jagged edges with a chisel and hammer, taking care not to damage the underlying phloem layer. New bark should start to grow in a few weeks. 

If your tree has an entire ring of bark missing around the trunk, whether you can save it depends on the extent of the girdling. Partial girdling may not be fatal, but full girdling will most likely kill the tree. If a tree loses a full ring of bark, it won’t be able to transfer nutrients from the roots of the tree to the trunk and branches. 

In some cases, you can perform a bridge graft to increase the chances of the tree surviving. With a bridge gap, you conjoin the two ends of the damage with twigs from another tree, creating a “bridge” that carries nutrients from the roots to the top of the tree, letting the tree recover from bark damage.  

Tree Service Experts Near Me

Ace Tree Services provides comprehensive tree removal and maintenance services in Folsom, CA, and surrounding areas. You can count on us for reliable and professional services, every time. Read our blog to learn more about tree decay treatment prevention. Fill out our contact form online or call today at (916) 934-3204 to request a free estimate!