What to do about split in trunk of autumn purple ash?

robin44444May 19, 2013

Hi, everyone. We have an autumn purple ash about five years old and 4-inch trunk diameter which has a vertical split in its trunk about a foot long and a quarter inch or so deep. What should we do about this, if anything? The tree seems healthy otherwise. We're now re-doing the messed-up drip irrigation in our entire yard; the ash will now be getting about 40 gallons at the dripline three times a month. I'm not sure what it got before, but it didn't have irrigation around the dripline.

A maple near the ash also has multiple splits in its bark, but they aren't deep at all.

Thanks very much for any advice you can offer.

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I'm no expert but I'd leave it alone. As long as the bark is intact without there being a break all the way around the trunk, they should be fine

If I'm correct, the shallower cracks are a result of the tree trunk growing thicker. The soft wood should harden off and shouldn't compromise the tree. Keep an eye on them until they do. You don't want insect infestation or any weird growths of mold or fungus or something.

I know the first instinct might be to wrap over the cracks to protect them, don't do that. The wraps tend to hold in moisture and provide a fort for insects.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:40AM
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david52 Zone 6

It sounds like normal tree growth as Bob says.

There's a point in there where the bark starts to shift over from the smooth, 'sapling look' to the rugged, tough bark look, which on an ash tree is just all kinds of vertical splits.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:18AM
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Thank you, both. It's a relief to know we don't have this extra springtime thing to worry about.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 8:59AM
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treebarb Z5 Denver


I'm wondering if the split is on the SW side of the trunk. If it is it could be sunscald. I wrap all my newer deciduous trees with tree wrap for the first 2 or 3 years after planting. I wrap around Thanksgiving and remove around Easter. If it's leafing out it may be a minor thing. I agree there's nothing to be done, just see how it goes.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 8:40AM
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Hi, Barb. It is leafing out nicely. Split is on the NW side actually. We did wrap it for two years. Nice to hear from all of ou again. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 1:00PM
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