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Damaged bark on a tree is not always a cause for concern. Trees are resilient, so it pays to understand what causes harm and when you should worry. Read on to learn more, and, when in doubt, call an arborist instead. 

According to tree service experts in Blaine, tree bark damage can result from any of the following. 

1. Insect Infestation

Insects can cause significant damage to trees. They bore right through the bark to get to the soft tissue in the trunk. One insect doesn’t seem capable of causing many problems, but the real damage comes from the larvae. 

The insect lays its eggs in the soft tissue, and when the larvae hatch, they eat their way out. The devastation they wreak starves the tree of nutrients, killing it slowly. 

Ants may also bore into trees to gather food and to create a home, slowly killing the tree from the inside. 

2. Animal Damage

Animals can scratch the bark away while searching for food. They may even gnaw at the bark when they’re hungry enough to get to the tender wood inside. Young trees are particularly at risk in this situation. 

Deer and larger animals can also damage the bark by grooming or climbing. For example, deer may rake their antlers across the surface, and bears will dig their claws into the surface for support while climbing.

3. Bird Damage

Woodpeckers get all the bad press, but sapsuckers also damage trees. Most woodpeckers look for grubs and insects and can prevent an infestation. As long as the tree has healthy bark, it won’t hurt. 

Sapsuckers tap the sap from beneath the surface and can do more damage. However, with the exception of some species of woodpeckers, neither bird stips the bark. 

4. Dying Trees

Tree health is the most crucial factor in whether the plant will recover. When bark falls off in large sections, it’s often a sign that the tree is in distress. That’s not to say there is no hope, but you will need expert intervention. 

5. Sunburn

The scorching sun can cause damaged bark on a tree more quickly than you realize. Like human skin, tree bark burns in the sun and peels away to reveal new bark underneath.

This is possible in both summer and winter. However, it could be worse in the winter because of the extreme temperature. 

6. Gardening Equipment 

A trimmer can slice into the bark on tree trunks without much trouble. A lawnmower might throw up stones or other debris that scratch or chip the bark. The danger is more pronounced in young trees, so consider protecting them with a girdle until they’re older. 

7. A Fungus

You should deal with any fungal growth you notice as soon as possible. Once fungus establishes itself, it causes the bark to peel off in large strips. You’re also likely to see the leaves turning yellow and the branches dying off. 

Unfortunately, fungal infections are difficult to get rid of. Sometimes, you must remove the infected tree to prevent the infestation from spreading. However, a skilled arborist is the best person to advise you on when this is necessary. 

8. Broken Branches

Broken branches can drag bark from the main trunk with them, although you’ll see that this is the reason for the damage. It might be worth calling a professional tree trimmer to limit further damage. 

Do You Need Advice About Your Trees? 

Do you think you see signs that a tree is dying? Are you concerned about damaged bark on a tree? Contact Timber Tree Service at 360-441-5033 to schedule a consultation with one of our professionals. 

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