Damaged bark can be a major concern on a tree since the bark protects the inner trunk of the tree, much as your skin protects you. Bark damage can be due to disease, pests or mechanical destruction, such as from a weed trimmer. If pests or disease is the cause, the tree will also need to be treated for this specific problem in conjunction with bark repair. Regardless of the causes, the following tips can help you fix the bark damage and save the tree.
Tip #1: Collect and Sterilize Your Tools
You only need one simple tool for fixing most types of bark damage – a sharp, clean knife. To ensure that the knife is clean and sterile, use a dilute bleach solution to clean it. You should also bring a small bucket of the solution with you so you can dip your blade into it after each cut. This will help prevent the spread of disease or pests. In some cases, you may also need some strip of burlap to repair the wound.
Tip #2: Look for the Missing Bark
If the bark damage is due to mechanical damage, then the dislodged chunk of bark may be lying near the tree. If the bark chunk is relatively intact and healthy, you may be able to reattach it. Carefully pick it up and brush off any soil or debris from the back of the bark piece. Next, position the bark where it was before the damage. Finally, wrap a strip of burlap around the trunk, securing the bark in place. New growth from the edges of the damage may be able to cover the bark piece's edges, eventually adhering it back to the trunk. This process can take several months, so leave the burlap in place until the bark is firmly reattached.
Tip #3: Trim the Edges
You may have to take more drastic steps if you can't replace the bark. Use your clean and sterile knife to trim the torn edges of the bark around the spot where the damage occurred. You are only cutting away the bark – do not cut into the wood beneath the bark layer. The goal is to make a clean gently curving line around the damage. Trees can heal a clean cut more quickly than they can a ragged edge.
Tip #4: Skip the Paint
Don't paint over the wound with a tar-based paint or a tree paint. These paints used to be common because it was thought that they kept pests and diseases out. Instead, they hold in moisture, which can lead to rot, and they prevent the wound from receiving the oxygen exposure it needs to heal.
Tip #5: Get Help
Trees can die if the bark damage encircles or nearly encircles the trunk. This is called girdling, and this type of damage can interfere with the transportation of nutrients and water from roots to canopy. Large areas of missing bark, even if only on one side of the tree, can also cause major issues. In these cases, it is important to call a professional tree service. They may be able to fix the damage while minimizing die back and preventing disease and pest problems.
For more information, contact Kansas City Tree Care, LLC or a similar company.