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How To Save a Tree With Damaged Bark

By: Shelby McCullough| Published: April 17, 2023

how to save a tree with damaged bark

Peeling tree bark is normal for some species, but for others, it could indicate disease or damage needing professional attention to repair. Trees protect themselves by sealing their wounds with callus tissue. If the damage is minor, a healthy tree can repair itself with enough time. Severely damaged trees, though, may need your help to recover. Here’s how to save a tree with damaged bark.

Assess the Damage

If the damage covers less than 25% of the tree’s bark, the tree has a good chance of survival. If 25% to 50% of the bark shows damage, the tree may live if you care for its wounds. Trees with damage covering more than 50% of the bark are unlikely to survive, but a professional arborist may be able to help a heavily damaged tree recover. An arborist may also recommend removing the tree if it’s too damaged to prevent it from falling and injuring you or others.

Bark Tracing Repair

For minor damage, you can help the tree heal with bark tracing. The goal of bark tracing is to remove any jagged pieces of bark that could interfere with the healing process. 

Put on gloves and gently peel away loose and damaged bark. Next, use a clean chisel and hammer to chip away jagged pieces of bark around the wound, but take care not to damage the wound further. Cut the bark into a round shape, as this will help the wound heal more easily.

Replacing Detached Bark

If large chunks of bark are peeling from the tree but still hanging in place, reattaching them is possible. First, clean the exposed wound with water. Carefully press the bark pieces back into place so they cover the wound.

Finally, wrap duct tape around the tree trunk to hold the bark in place. Tree bark can take a few months or longer to reattach with this method.

Heavily Damaged Tree Repair

You may wonder how to save a tree with damaged bark if the injury is severe. If your tree is missing a large ring of bark, chances of survival are low. However, the tree may survive if you perform a bridge graft. This procedure reestablishes the connection between the tree’s leaves and roots.

The bridge graft is an advanced tree repair method, and while it’s possible to do it yourself, you may have better results if a professional arborist handles the procedure instead.

McCullough Tree Service Can Help You Save Your Damaged Tree

If you spot torn bark or other signs of damage to trees, it’s best to call the tree care professionals from McCullough Tree Service in Wekiwa Springs right away. Acting quickly can save your tree, and we may be able to help a tree recover even if it’s severely damaged. We’ll tell you how to save a tree with damaged bark and give you tips on how to improve tree health so your trees flourish in the future. Call us at (407) 734-5854 today.

Shelby McCullough

About The Author: Shelby McCullough

With over two decades of experience in the tree industry, Shelby McCullough is a highly skilled certified arborist and the proprietor of McCullough Tree Service. His unparalleled expertise and profound understanding of trees set him apart in his field.