Is a tree shedding bark always a cause for concern, or is it natural? Should you call a professional arborist?  Find out in this post by SoutheastTree, Marietta’s tree removal company

Common Causes of Bark Loss

In general, healthy trees don’t shed bark; however, some species, like Sycamores, lose their outer bark as part of their natural cycle. Read on to learn more about why your tree is shedding.

Trees that Naturally Shed Bark

The following trees shed their bark as part of their growth cycle:

  • Birch
  • Silver Maple
  • Sycamores
  • Pines
  • Redbud
  • Hickory

Now let’s look at some circumstances where a tree shedding bark should prompt you to call your arborist.

Frost Crack

Frost crack is a common winter ailment but relates more to extremes of temperature than the cold in particular. Therefore, it can also happen in summer due to excessive heat. Trees with thinner bark, such as fruit and nut trees, are particularly at risk. The following trees are prone to this type of damage:

  • Lindens
  • Horse Chestnuts
  • Willows
  • Sycamores
  • Maples

Abrupt temperature changes cause the bark to crack and begin to fall away. Say, for example, the weather turns icy overnight, or you have a sudden heatwave in summer. Both situations cause temperature-related stress that damages the bark, commonly affecting the south or southwest-facing side. 

It begins as small cracks and falling bark from which your tree can recover. However, it can progress to large vertical cracks that leave the tree susceptible to rot and disease unless you act quickly. 

Protect your tree with a blanket when the days are warm and the nights are cold. A light-colored blanket will reflect sunlight from the trunk and warm the tree at night. The combination minimizes the temperature difference and reduces the risk of cracking.

Mulch the soil around the tree so it can retain water, and keep watering until the ground freezes. Also, be wary of pruning too many of the branches that shade the trunk.


Sunscald is slightly different but also relies on temperature differentials. In this case, the warmth causes the tree to break out of dormancy, and the cold then damages the newly-formed tissue. The effect is similar to sunburn, and the bark peels away as it dies.


Fungal diseases are a common reason that trees lose their bark. However, this may also be a sign of advanced tree disease of different types. If you notice this sign in conjunction with the following, act quickly because your tree is dying;

  • Discolored or dying leaves
  • Leaf drop
  • Cracks in the trunk
  • Dead or dying branches
  • Unusual sap bleeding or oozing out of the bark
  • Cankers
  • Sawdust
  • Mats of fungus

The sooner you call in a professional, the greater the chance of being able to save the tree, so don’t delay. With the right treatment program, your tree can make a full recovery. However, if the disease is too far along, it’s vital to protect the surrounding trees.

Either way, our team can help you make the right decision.

Pest Damage

Insects, rodents, and birds have their place but can wreak havoc with your trees. Trees provide a safe home, nutrients, and moisture, making them desirable to pests. If you suspect an infestation, act quickly to save the tree and protect those around it.

Another reason to act speedily is that the pests may decide to make themselves a home in your house next. 

Contact SoutheastTree for Professional Assistance Today!

Are you concerned about your tree shedding bark or that it may be unhealthy? Contact SoutheastTree at (770) 977-8733 today to schedule professional arborist services


SoutheastTree is one of the best, top rated full-service tree removal companies serving the Atlanta, GA area. Our team of trained arborists are experts in the art and science of removing trees.

Contact Us

4710 Lower Roswell Rd. Suite 100
Marietta, GA 30068

Phone : 770-977-8733 (TREE)

24/7 Emergency Tree Removal:
(678) 631-7382

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