The Q&A Archives: Falling Bark

Question: My wife and I bought a house approximately one year ago. Late last summer, we noticed the tree in the front yard not doing so well. It was losing it's leaves and the bark began falling off. Now, it seems to be blooming fairly well, but the bark is still pulling away from the trunck. I believe the tree to be a non-bearing fruit tree. It is about 15-20 ft. tall with no apparent damage. Can you advise?

Answer: Unfortunately, based on your description and without knowing what type of tree it is, I am unable to make a guess as to whether there is a problem with your tree or not. Some trees have a naturally peeling or exfoliating bark which can even in some cases be considered a decorative feature, so there may be nothing wrong at all and this could be normal. The defoliation could also have been a normal reaction to hot dry summer weather and/or the onset of fall. On the other hand, the bark coming off could be a very serious problem and the bloom you see now could be the last gasp effort of a tree in trouble. I would suggest you consult with your county extension (565-5537) to find out if this is normal for your tree or not.

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