Maple Bark Peeling: Why does a Maple Tree Lose its Bark?

Maple loses its bark for many reasons. Sometimes shedding bark is just part of the natural processes of a tree, but sometimes it may reveal some severe health issues with the tree.

The primary purpose of barks is to act as a protection for trees. They are like the human skin, coat the trees from extremes. They also look dry, cracky, and there are times that they peel. Just like the human skin, this can signal that something is going on. Peeling can potentially mean that the tree is not holistically tremendous or could be sick.

Here is the most common reason for the maple to lose its bark.


Sunscald usually happen over the winter or early spring. During the winter, maple trees are inactivated due to dormancy. However, sunlight with enough heat (generally on the southwest-facing side in the afternoon) activates the tree cell but unable to return to dormancy at night when the freezing temperature can kill the active cell. It is also called southwest injury since the damage occurs on the southwest side of the tree.

Although sunscald damage can rarely kill a tree, it is worth noting it can do a lot of damage, which can hinder the growth of a young maple tree. Please make sure the newly planted tree is well protected to prevent sunscald from happening.  

How to prevent sunscald?

Once the sunburn is on the tree, you can do very little to heal this damage. So it is better to prevent before the sunscald happens. Wrap the trunk with tree wrap loosely to prevent sunlight directly hitting the tree.

Frost cracks

Also known as Southwest canker. Especially during the winter, where the temperature varies a lot, the tree trunk can be expanding and contracting to cause the cracking of the tree bark. A sudden drop in the temperature causes the outer layer of wood to contract more rapidly than the inner layer, which results in a long vertical crack at weak points in the trunk. Maple trees having thin bark will have a higher chance of cracking.

Thin Bark

A maple tree having thin bark is most likely to peel off at certain times of the day. When your maple trees start to peel off, you can check the thinness of the bark. They can help you determine if the peeling is a normal reaction or if it is something that you should be bothered about. Some times peeling thin barks are a natural reaction for trees; this is why you should not initially be worried about it. One of the reasons for this shedding is the tree can be preparing for long photosynthesis; hence, the shedding. They are doing the peeling so they can absorb a lot of sunlight, which is an essential requirement to perform photosynthesis (Source: In conclusion, peeling due to bark is not always a problem because it can happen naturally. This is often seasonal also.


When a maple tree’s bark is peeling off, it could be because it is going through the same processes the same in humans. The tree tends to exfoliate more frequently as it starts to age. It grows by forming new fibrous tissues deep within its core. Its outer layers need to expand as the core grows more and more. Generally, as the tree is young, its bark is smoother and more flexible. This flexibility can stand the internal growth without too much effect or change as to how it is seen from the outside. However, when the tree ages, it loses a lot of its elasticity and is often dry. This causes the tree to crack and split while it is growing.

While it is part of the natural processes of trees, exfoliation can vary for every maple tree. In addition, peeling and exfoliation can be attributed to other factors aside from aging. It could be because of disease, drought, or insect damage. It is essential to have your tree check by a tree professional. Exfoliation can thus be summarized through the following: it can happen in different stages, and it usually is caused by the aging of a tree.


Infestation can be a reason for the peeling off. If you notice that the bark of a maple tree peels off more in the direction of the bottom, you can expect that it could be because of insects. Insects disrupt the natural flow of the vascular system. They come to the point that they become too disruptive; they end up killing the tree itself. Some signs show when trees are infested with insects. You can see holes around the part where peeling happens, and these are the channels to where the insects go into the tree.

Eventually, these insects will overcome the tree and invade it. Some common insects are bees and ants. If you suspect that your tree is going through an insect infestation, you may opt to do something as urgently as possible. A tree professional will be a very good help. In summary, infestation usually starts toward the bottom and is caused by ants.

Ripid peeling

There are instances that the peeling is so rampant, or it is progressing very fast that it can happen over a period of two weeks. This can signify that the tree is dying. There is a possibility that the most unexpected is about to happen. Either the tree has died, or it is dying. For a lot of trees, this is like their last cry for your rescue and that there is still hope in their condition. This is the right time to ask for help from tree professionals.


Another reason for the peeling of maple trees is a fungicide. Verticillium wilt is an organism that lives uncertainly in the dirt. Contagious spores enter maple trees through cuts on branches, trunks, or roots. When contagious spores enter the maple tree, they produce poisons that attack the water interfacing tissues. These poisons travel through the plant through the developing parasitic spores. Maple trees attempt to stop the toxins, which brings about blocking water from shipping through the plant.

Plant specialists may see their maple trees experience the ill effects of verticillium wilt whenever during the developing season. In any case, indications are bound to happen during July and August. Notwithstanding bark stripping, maple trees may create yellow foliage, leaf singe, hindered development, branch dieback, passing on bark, and bark staining. The maple may experience the ill effects of the infection and the absence of water. If left untreated, maple trees can bite the dust. Pruning off dead and powerless branches may reestablish the maple’s wellbeing.

Be that as it may, pruning won’t expel the growth from the tree, yet it helps to keep other parasitic maladies from murdering the maple. Disinfect your pruning devices with 30 percent water, and 70 percent denatured liquor before pruning and in the middle of cuts. Pruning devices can undoubtedly spread hurtful pathogens over the tree. Expel maple branches close to the branch neckline. The branch neckline is the expansion that connects the branch to the primary trunk. Inside the branch neckline, there are synthetic concoctions that keep destructive pathogens from entering the storage compartment.

Maple trees contaminated with verticillium wilt need water. Water your maple trees routinely all through the developing season. To water your maple tree, ensure that you apply water each 10 to 14 days underneath the trickle line of the tree. The trickle line is the zone that is legitimately underneath the peripheral branches. Moreover, treat your tree with reasonable manure that won’t pressure the tree. You can utilize a compost that has an NPK measure of 10-10-10.

Fluctuating winter temperatures can make bark break or singe, with certain patches stripping or chipping off. Red maples are defenseless to sunscald due to their flimsy bark. Sun singe normally occurs on the south or southwest side of the tree. The slender bark additionally makes red maples helpless to harm by cutters and weed whackers. Such wounds leave wounds open to maladies. Obviously, a weed whacker didn’t whack the highest point of your tree, yet in the event that something harmed it sooner or later, it’s conceivable a perpetual blister framed. These are as a rule round, and where the bark tumbles off, they leave an objective molded example. In the event that the trees have sunscald or an ulcer, they can get by for a considerable length of time. However, they ought to be observed for the shortcoming. It might be that branches should be pruned or the trees expelled in the end. The trees may likewise have a progressively major issue.

Maples are among the tree species helpless to Verticillium shrivel. Despite the fact that trees can show extended, dead zones of bark, the infection shows itself frequently in July and August with little yellow leaves, some searing, and substantial creation of seeds. Foliage on branches may out of nowhere shrivel. The University of Minnesota has a decent clarification of Verticillium wither and how to control it at

On the off chance that the trees truly have this, they will, in the end, must be expelled. The tree could likewise have a vascular malady that is making the bark separate from the storage compartment. There’s one more chance. For reasons not so much known, squirrels have been seen to strip bark in pre-spring. They appear to incline toward flat branches yet have been known to take the bark off trunks.

To forestall this, you could put metal glimmering around the storage compartment. Similarly, as with other bark harm, if the bark is evacuated right around the storage compartment, the tree will bite the dust. In the event that it is simply detected in one, the tree will endure, in spite of the fact that it will be progressively powerless to pathogens. Lastly, if the trees are not really red maples, they might normally be shedding. A few maples do, yet not red maples.

With all the information above you might be wondering is a tree dead if the bark is falling off? One of the signs for a dying tree is peeling off of its bark. However, you can also look for these other signs to see if your tree is indeed dying:

There is a presence of ants around the trunk.

On the off chance that you run over a tree on your property that you accept is dead, review the storage compartment for indications of craftsman ants. It’s normal for woodworker ants and different creepy crawlies to devour dead and rotting tree trunks.  At the point when this happens, you’ll see sawdust around the base of the storage compartment – the consequence of craftsman ants biting through it.

The bark is peeling off.

Another indication of a dead tree is stripping bark. As you may definitely know, bark fills in as the “skin” for a tree, shielding it from climate and plant-eating creatures. Trees that are dead or passing on will start to shed their bark, making it strip off. Stripping bark additionally demonstrates that the tree isn’t getting enough supplements, so regardless of whether it’s not dead, it might be traveled that way.

There are organisms thriving on the tree.

Examine your tree for indications of organism, as this may show that it’s dead. This is especially obvious on account of enormous organism, for example, the section growth (wood conchs). Huge organism settlements around the storage compartment could mean the roots are rotting.

Some of the branches are falling.

Dead trees tend to drop branches more as often as possible as living, sound trees. At the point when a tree passes on, it starts to lose its dampness content, making it dry out and inevitably spoil. Along these lines, this keeps branches from having the option to hold themselves up, so, all things considered they tumble to the ground. On the off chance that you are compelled to much of the time get branches around the base of your tree, there’s a decent possibility that it’s either dead or passing on.

There are also other bark issues that can cause bark damages in the long run. While this may come off disturbing to you, there are ways in which you can repair your tree bark damage. Trees often have a long lifespan; they can withstand storms and strong winds. Moreover, sometimes people do things that are detrimental to a tree like removing its bark. The bark is like the skin of the tree. It protects its significant phloem layer which acts like the circulatory system of the tree. It allows the energy produced through photosynthesis to reach the other parts of the tree.

Here’s How Removing A Tree Bark Affects A Tree

Since the tree covering capacity is to ensure the layer that brings food, when tree husk is damaged or harmed, this delicate phloem layer underneath is additionally harmed. On the off chance that the tree covering harm goes under 25 percent of the route around the tree, the tree will be fine and will make do without an issue, given that the injury is dealt with and isn’t left open to sickness. However, when the tree covering harm goes from 25 percent to 50 percent, the tree will endure some harm yet probably will endure. Harm will show up as lost leaves and dead branches. Injuries of this size should be treated as quickly as time permits and ought to be observed cautiously. In the event that the tree rind harm is more prominent than 50 percent, the life of the tree is in danger. You should call tree care proficient to assist you with fixing the harm. If the tree is harmed around 100 percent of the tree, this is called support. It is hard to spare a tree with this much harm and the tree will in all incredible. A tree care professional may attempt a strategy called fix uniting to overcome any barrier in the bark and permit the tree to live long enough to fix itself.

The tree bark may be damaged but you can still fix the injury.  If ever the tree is slightly damaged, wash the injury out with a plain cleanser and water to help lessen the measure of pathogens that might be in the scratch and that could create additional harm. Wash the injury completely with plain water after this. Permit the scratch to recuperate in the outdoors. Try not to utilize a sealant.

There are two techniques in which you can fix your tree bark damage:

You can reattach the fallen bark.

If the expelled tree husk is as yet accessible after the tree covering harm, get together however much as could be expected and reattach it to the tree. Use tape, for example, channel tape to tie down the bark to the tree. Ensure that the bark is going the correct way (a similar bearing it was on before it fell off) on the tree, as the phloem layer can just vehicle supplements a single way. Play out this go about as fast as could be expected under the circumstances with the goal that the bark doesn’t pass on.

Clean cutting the injury if the bark can’t be recovered, you should ensure that the harm to the tree will mend neatly.

Spiked injuries will meddle with the tree’s capacity to ship supplements so you should clean cut the damage. You do this by evacuating tree husks by cutting an oval around the circuit of the harm. The top and base of the injury there will be for the purposes of the oval. Do this as shallowly and as near the injury as could reasonably be expected. Let the injury air recuperate. Try not to utilize sealant.