Answer: The white material is a fungus, but it is not necessarlily the cause of the peeling bark. Instead, I think this fungus has shown up because of the dead bark layer. I can't tell without examining the tree whether or not it is diseased or insect infested, but peeling bark is not normal for a pin oak tree. If the tree is valuable to you, I'd suggest hiring a certified arborist to come out and inspect the tree. Or, you might want to take a few snapshots of the tree and collect some of the shed bark to take to your local cooperative extension office. Someone there may be able to diagnose the problem and suggest control remedies. Contact Charleston County Cooperative Extension, 259 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401, Phone: 843-722-5940. Best wishes with your pin oak tree!
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