The Q&A Archives: cherry tree

Question: I have a small flowering cherry tree that is almost 2 years old. Is it normal for the trunk of a cherry tree to split and looked scarred? It is splitting not in 1 spot but all the way up the skinny trunk of the tree. Thank you.

Answer: There is no single reason for bark splitting on trees. During late winter and early spring, severe cold followed by rapid thawing can result in splits referred to as "frost cracks". Excessively late growth in the fall stimulated by warm temperatures, high humidity, and high nitrogen levels can increase susceptibility of trees to frost cracking. Fluctuating growth conditions may also cause splitting of bark. Dry weather (which slows growth) followed by wet or ideal growth conditions may cause an excessive or vigorous amount of growth leading to splits in the bark.

Sunscald, especially in winter months, can cause bark injury to thin-barked or young trees. Although an exact split may not be seen immediately, the outer layer of bark will peel away from the affected area in the summer following the winter damage.

There is nothing you can do to repair the damage, other than to keep your tree healthy with adequate water and annual feeding. As it grows it should repair the damage on its own.

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