Why the bark is splitting?

peter.jonesJanuary 28, 2014

Hi,

About a month a ago, while pruning the lower branches of this conifer, I think the gardener managed to damage the bark (presumably when cutting and pulling the branch out).

It is looking like as shown in photo. Do I need to apply anything to prevent infection or cover it up with something? I'm based in London, UK and it has been raining like forever since last November! Not sure whether too much water would prevent the wound to heal properly?

Any suggestions are appreciated!

Thanks.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

it will cover itself.. .. do nothing in that regard .. everything you can dream up.. is contrary to mother nature.. and she has been at it for a few million years ...

what is the plant... i thought pine.. but that not a pine cutting below it ....

the lower injury.. show extensive healing [relative to the pruning.. i mean ] ... it had nothing to do with the pruning .. at about 6 to 9 o'clock on the pic ...

soil level looks high ... when was it backfilled???

frankly.. it looks like it was hit by a vehicle/excavator/bulldozer/etc ... is this on the driveway/road???

ken

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 12:39PM
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peter.jones

Hi Ken,

Thanks for your reply. I'm afraid I don't know what tree it is. Only know it is some kind of conifers.

Actually, I'm concerned about the lower injury... The tree is in the back garden. I think the gardener/tree surgeon might have damaged it with some tools (chainsaw !?) accidentally when pruning the trees.

Are you saying that even with that large area of missing bark, it will heal by itself?

Cheers.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 1:16PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Pull that mulch and some of the soil away from the open wound. Thats all you need to do. It will heal itself the same as it will heal that pruning cut.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 2:26PM
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peter.jones

Thanks whaas!

Good to know it is going to be ok! I was alarmed that the wound is quite large.

Cheers.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 3:23PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

As was said, the wound at the base is rather old. The tree guy didn't do it.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:30PM
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peter.jones

Thanks Jean.

I am still wondering what might have caused that wound at the base. It is in my back garden and the only visitors are birds (mainly magpie), a squirrel (a regular visitor), and cats from my neighbour. Not sure they like tree bark...

Besides animals, could poor drainage/too much water, damaged roots, or insect infestation cause bark to split?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:09AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

we have said.. that the soil level 'looks' too high.. and that we would like you to use your inner archeologist... and find out.. how far down the root flare is ...

that is what MIGHT be causing this.. if you rule out all other potential injuries... as in physical ...

trunk bark is not made to be in contact with soil.. especially if it stays damp ... roots belong in the soil.. trunk bark above... we can not see the root/trunk interface.. and suspect such ...

but you keep asking for other reasons ....

all that said.. the tree will heal itself.. which it is ...... or it will die.. nothing for you to do otherwise... but reduce the soil level and find out whats not seen ...

good luck.. it might only live another decade or two ... so not much to worry about.. in the near future ..

ken

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:22AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Yeah, Jean is right, the wound is older than the cut. Note the callus. The bark is not splitting, it's been scuffed off. No evidence of a branch ever being there.
My guess is that the tree is a Lawson Cypress.
Do you live in the Pac NW?
Mike

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 11:51AM
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peter.jones

Thanks Ken!

After googling "root flare" and looking at the images, I see what you mean. I shall get my gloves and hand spade out and do some digging!

btw: I like the pic I found on the web : )

Cheers.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:01PM
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peter.jones

Thanks Mike for your info.

I'm afraid I live in the forever-raining London ; )

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:04PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I've been there!
Enjoyed it very much. I stayed in Soho and took the Tube out to Kew Gardens. Yes, I did mind the gap.
Mike, from rainy Seattle.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:35PM
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ricky01(Z7)

hi peter that damage looks like its been done at least a year and is no problem to the tree which being in the uk will probably be a leylandii cypress and don't worry about soil level that trunk flare looks ok i've planted trees non coniferous trees up to 18 inches below original soil level and never had any issues

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 6:20PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

It was said "i've planted trees non coniferous trees up to 18 inches below original soil level and never had any issues"

Yep, that's correct, sort of.
Nothing happens until 10, 15 or more years later when the tree topples.

As has been said, bark must be overground and dry.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:24PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

What were those trees ricky01? Willows and Cottonwoods?
Some trees have the ability to advantageously sprout from the trunk, most do not.
Giving advice and showing ignorance in the same sentence doesn't lend credence to your advice.
Mike

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 6:39AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Jean, what did you plant with their rootball 18 inches below the soil line and why?

Everything in tree world seems to be about percentages. Just do things as right as you can.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:16PM
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ricky01(Z7)

hi the tree was a wild cherry prunus avium and grew to 60 feet tall in 20 years and had no stability problems and was only felled last year as a result of bacterial canker

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 3:15PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Most Cherries, around here at least, don't like poor draining ground.
I'm surprised at your results.
Most cherries here don't live long here either. I have ten acres and refuse to plant any cherry. Too many problems. I'll enjoy them when they're blooming in somebody else's garden down the street. I don't have to own one to enjoy them at their best.
Any others you've planted deep?
Mike

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 4:06PM
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mrgpag

Peter Jones - I won't go in to what others have said, but will offer this to you. This is a shot of a Platycladus orientalis 'Collen's Gold' I had several years ago - does the damage look similar? About a year after I took this picture I found the tree laying on it's side after a rather mild wind event - it broke at the damage.. So Good Luck with yours.
Marshall

This post was edited by mrgpag on Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 22:23

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:21PM
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peter.jones

Thanks mrgpag for your photo! The wound on my tree is flat and appears to be healing. Yours looks quite a bit more serious...

Have you found out what happened to it?

btw: Your gator photo is awesome! Cheers.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:45PM
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mrgpag

I thought the wound was going to heal over, but the core was too weak to withstand any pressure - and no, I never determined what caused the wound.
That Gator shot was taken back in December during a 2 hour trip into the St. Johns River back waters down in Florida. Saw many gators but that was the best shot - almost like the critter was posing for us.

Marshall

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:10PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

FYI,
As for Ricky's comments on planting depth. There are some very high draining soils where planting too deep is not as damaging. I know of some soils locally (at the sister-in-laws) that is very course and the root zone extends to over 5 feet deep. There is never any standing water on that soil. I simply drains through about as fast as it can fall. Transplanting here is VERY easy, as the soil compensates for many mistakes.

Arktees

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:55AM
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