For some species, like sycamore, silver maple, and birch, shedding large chunks of bark is just one of their charms! However, rapidly-moving extreme temperatures -- from below freezing to above, for example -- and strong inclement weather may cause the bark and trunk to split on a Japanese lilac tree, especially one that is recently planted. Your lilac tree should be planted to the same depth as it came in the pot. Japanese lilac trees thrive in alkaline soil containing a pH balance of 7.0 or higher. Here is more information about this problem: Frost crack or Southwest canker is a form of tree bark damage sometimes found on thin barked trees, visible as vertical fractures on the southerly facing surfaces of tree trunks. Remove the cord from the tree. Its larva bores into the base of branches, causing severe damage. Nurture the tree so that it will bond the ends together, produce new growth and heal the split. A couple of inches of mulch around the base of the tree is helpful. S. reticulata the tree lilac, is also susceptible.Whether specific cultivars are affected more than others is unknown mainly because most people don't know the cultivar. Syringa vulgaris (lilac or common lilac) is a species of flowering plant in the olive family Oleaceae, native to the Balkan Peninsula, where it grows on rocky hills. You will also see late fall growth spurts when you use too much nitrogen fertilizer late in the season. Is the proper fix a brace, or bolt the Y in place? You can try to discourage them by wrapping the trunks with wire mesh. Inspect the lilac bush for signs of powdery mildew, a fungus that appears like a dusty white or grey coating on the leaf and trunk. I have a Mimosa tree with a split in the main trunk at a Y. Probably the most serious problem to look for when lilac bark is coming off is the lilac borer moth. The tree may also have vertical cracks or missing bark. These varieties, along with “Chantilly Lace” and “Cameo Jewel,” thrive in full sunlight and well-draining soil. Plant in either spring or fall. They grow well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 3 (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 30 F) through zone 7 (10 F) and in somewhat warmer regions. Lilac is a fragrant, spring-flowering upright multi-stemmed, large deciduous shrub or small, multi-stemmed tree that normally grows about 6–7 m (20–23 ft.) tall. Lilacs are best planted in autumn when the ground is moist but still relatively warm. If the tree is growing quickly, the growth can also cause the bark to split. The densely growing limbs of the bush are propagated through division. Tree bark can split or crack for many reasons, and you cannot fix it. It's very difficult to repair a shrub or tree, though I have seen it done for valuable specimen trees. These medium-sized trees are appropriate for most home landscapes and they make well-behaved street trees. Dab the crack wound with an antibacterial sealant. This often happens at the site of a previous injury. Any advise would be GREATLY appreciated. It makes an irregularly round exit hole when it emerges from the tree. Use a sterilizing solution of 70 percent rubbing alcohol and 30 percent water on the bolts and nuts and then soak the bare wood with alcohol. Though the emerald ash borer has been detected in Boulder County, it remains about 15 … The irregular, bright orange curls are perfectly normal and part of what makes the tree … Wrap a strong cord or rubber strap around the trunk and pull the tree’s sides closer together. Usually, it’s normal for a tree to lose bark. Repair the split. Purchase bolts and screws long enough to drive through the tree’s trunk wood. Excessive late fall growth is a common culprit. Some cultivars, such as ‘Copper Curls’ lilac, have ornamental peeling and curling bark. Japanese Lilac (Syringa reticulata). Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! My Japanese Maple of 15 year is loosing its trunk bark. Lilac trees make beautiful additions to the home landscape, with flowers much like those on lilac shrubs but without the fragrance. If the break is even, draw the two sections together. The inside of the tree at the base is fully exposed. Some bark shedding is natural with lilacs and some tree lilacs have a natural shaggy look. The trees prefer direct sunlight but they do not typically enjoy extremely warm climates. Frost crack is distinct from sun scald and sun crack and physically differs from normal rough-bark characteristics as seen in mature oaks, pines, poplars and other tree species. Trees which are most susceptible to this type of injury are those which are thin-barked, such as certain fruit trees. Through proper treatment to encourage the natural callusing process, a tree should be able to close most splits. According to the North Dakota Extension Service, the best time to split and transplant a lilac bush will be in the late fall or … Splits can occur on the trunk of the tree as well as on branches. Dip the knife in a solution that is 70 percent rubbing alcohol and 30 percent water to re-sterilize it. Other trees, like oak, pine, ash, and maple, develop from the inside out, so the older bark on top chips away to make room for new bark. Teri Silver began a career in 1984 as a news, sports and feature writer/reporter, anchor, editor, producer and program host for central Ohio radio and television stations. This is a very interesting small ornamental tree with white, showy flowers in the spring and tan fruit in the fall and winter. As the tree is dying, the bark becomes loose and starts to fall off of a dying tree. Bark splitting can occur in response to various environmental factors at different times of the year. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. If so, what can I do? The plant is found growing in woodlands, scrub on rocky hills, inland cliffs, rock pavements, outcrops, vacant lots, roadsides, thickets, and areas around abandoned dwellings. Japanese lilac trees (Syringa reticulata) produce fragrant, off-white flowers which bloom in early summer. In most cases, the damage from lilac bark shedding isn’t serious. Dieback on common lilac due to fungal infection. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Small patches may develop, consisting of only a few inches. Sloughing or peeling of the bark is a normal process, especially in the spring when the tree begins to grow, and is more noticeable in some species than in others. The irregular, bright orange curls are perfectly normal and part of what makes the tree interesting in winter. A: The problem of bark splitting on maples is a common one, especially in this part of the country. In early summer it has large, creamy-white, honey-scented flower clusters. Lilac bushes are spring blooming plants with aromatic flowers. Why is my tree losing its bark? Sunscald generally occurs in high altitude landscaping during late winter and early spring, affecting the south and southwest side of the tree. Some cultivars, such as ‘Copper Curls’ lilac, have ornamental peeling and curling bark. Young trees are more susceptible than older ones, but you may see the problem in trees of any age. Bark splitting can occur in response to various environmental factors at different times of the year. Other Reasons Why Lilac is Shedding Tree Bark. Lilac Troubles: White Mold & Bark Eating 'Bees' Q. I've been noticing white stuff on the trunk of my lilac bush. Recent studies show that wound paints and sealers don’t help the tree heal faster, and may even slow the natural healing process. Are you able to pull the two sections back together? The bark becomes swollen, and eventually cracks and breaks away. University of Florida: Assessing Damage and Restoring Trees after a Hurricane: Edward F. Gilman, etal. If larger lichens attach themselves to the lilac tree, there is possibly a deeper problem with the tree's health. Use a large-diameter steel bolt and threaded screw rod to repair the split. Native to Asia, it is both hardy and beautiful, with attractive, amber-colored, peeling bark. Watering the tree during dry spells can help prevent this condition. Miss kim flowering lilac tree sickness Asked March 26, 2019, 3:47 PM EDT I have had my Miss Kim lilac tree for around 10 yrs now and a couple years ago it began to lean over then l noticed the bark was splitting on the trunk and last year the branches on one side of the tree died but the other side seemed to be ok. Not all cracks and splits can be seen with the naked eye, but you can help the tree heal and prevent further damage. According to Gardening Know How, “Peeling tree bark is sometimes due to environmental factors. Its blooms are fragrant and gorgeous, and the lilac’s scent is unmistakable. Sign up for our newsletter. There may not be much you can do but you may want to contact an arborist to inspect your tree to look for any cracking, splitting, or other problems. The “Summer Snow” and “Ivory Silk” cultivars, with their rounded shapes and reddish-brown trunks, may grow from 20 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. Trees That Have Peeling Bark. Drill a hole into both sides of the split. Branches are pruned after flowers have dropped and dead branches and twigs removed. I am not sure what to do or why this is happening. Grapefruit Tree Problems With Bark Cracking and Splitting. It may be the result of heavy pruning that allows harsh winter sunlight to filter through the canopy. Environmental factors are usually to blame when a lilac is shedding tree bark. This occurs with high temperatures or humidity in late fall. ---Linda in West Chester A. What Causes Tree Bark Splitting. Japanese lilac tree trunks with wide crevices may never look as good as new, but you can repair the damage. Your lilac is valuable to you, I know, but if the trunk is severely split … The lilac gets a lot of sun—from around 1:30 pm until sunset. Splits can occur on the trunk of the tree as well as on branches. While it is a more common occurrence on younger trees, all trees are susceptible to bark splitting when exposed to the following: The Peking lilac is a dependable urban tree and a great choice even for parking lot, boulevard, and parkway plantings. Eliminate the torn bark. They require fertilizing in the early spring with a 5-10-10 mixture; chemical mixtures with high nitrogen levels will produce more leaves than flowers. Dry weather followed by wet weather causes fluctuating growth, resulting in splits in the bark. Do I need to cut the bark at the split to help the bark to mend back together? You can protect your tree while it compartmentalizes the damage and protect others by taking preventative measures. Spring is also a good time but avoid periods of freezing weather. She has done work for stations including WTVN, WMNI and WOSU (NPR). If you see bare wood or mats of fungus under the peeling bark, the tree is suffering from environmental damage or disease. Bark and Tree Splitting. Drought followed by hard and numerous rains may split the tree’s bark and trunk. In this case, I feel the cause for the cracking was due to the tree growing quickly, faster than the bark could keep up with the growth of the tree. With a sterile sharp knife, trace the bark around the split from one end to the other. In most of Colorado, the most important wood borer found in ash trees is the lilac/ash borer. Bark splitting occurs due to a variety of environmental factors, such as sharp temperature changes that freeze and thaw water. One or two inches of water during dry periods are needed. 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Bark splits are not likely to be fatal to trees, although they will, in some cases, allow entry of disease organisms which can cause decay. This 1-inch long moth looks like a wasp. Measure the trunk’s circumference and remove loose wood and bark. Look at the bark on the bush. It also has a distinctive dark bark with white lenticels. The injury may leave a scar, but natural scars often add character to the overall appearance of the tree. Silver has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with an English minor from The Ohio State University. You can extend your display of lilac tree flowers for as much as 6 weeks by planting different lilac tree varieties Fortunately, the tree will probably be fine. A tree with peeling bark doesn’t always indicate a problem. Japanese lilacs are hardy trees that prefer cold weather. Syringa vulgaris, the common lilac, is reportedly the most affected species. Lightning strikes can also fracture the bark, but that damage is usually more pronounced and easier to identify. Now that you know what causes bark to peel on lilac trees, you’re probably wondering how to treat the problem. Drill several holes in the tree, close to the split, and insert the bolts. This will be necessary to keep it from splitting further and to allow the tree to heal over the wound. There is no single reason for bark and wood splitting, according to Cornell University’s department of plant pathology, but tree growth will lessen in the spring and summer if the ground is abnormally dry. Japanese lilacs are hardy trees that prefer cold weather. Plant your lilac tree in a sunny spot, where your lilac will get at least 6 hours of sun per day. Emerald ash borers leave tree bark looking like it is splitting, and you will typically see “wavy galleries where larvae have chewed thorough the bark,” according to Davis. Damaged bark gives the bacteria an entrance to the tree, while drought stresses reduce the tree's ability to resist infection. If you see bark covering the wood after the old bark peels away, the tree is probably undergoing a normal shedding process. The damage looks consistent with squirrels, although other critters can attack young trees (deer, rabbits, voles, etc.) The outer layers of bark are dead tissue and can-not grow, so the outer bark must split in order for the tree Water well to provide moisture and settle the soil down. The best solution is to let the wound callous over naturally. Peeling bark on lilacs doesn’t always indicate a problem. Mild infestations can be treated with insecticide, but in severe cases, the tree should be removed. If you'd like to plant a sucker, simply dig a hole, plant your sucker, and water. Sunscald and frost cracking can cause strips of bark to peel off, exposing the tree’s inner wood. Splitting bark is rarely serious, although it can allow disease organisms into the plant, but diffuse or target-shaped cankers can be lethal. However, your photos show something more extreme happening. New growth will bandage the crack and new bark will cover the scar. Is it harmful? I have put chicken wire around it for now to protect it and am thinking about using tree … The Bark Is Splitting on My Autumn Blaze Maple Tree, Cornell University: Bark Splitting on Trees, University of California: Managing Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Wood Decay Fungi in Landscape Trees, University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture: Bark Splitting, University of California: Managing Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Syringa, Lilac, Japanese, North Carolina State University: Trees: Damage. Grown for its scented purple flowers in spring, this large shrub or small tree is widely cultivated and has been naturalized in parts of Europe and North America. Adverse environmental factors may cause Japanese lilac trees to split at their trunks and branches. Sunscald can cause unsightly bark damage. Pull the split together. Cut the bark in the opposite direction, removing its center piece to expose the cracked wood. Carefully pruning infected branches and removing damaged bark without cutting into healthy cambium may help the tree recover as the area heals. The short answer is the splits will not likely cause harm, but let's go in detail. Peeling bark on lilacs doesn’t always indicate a problem. Water the tree in dry weather so that, within time, the wooden trunk area will toughen and callus. Trim away loose bark on the tree. Winch the sections back together. Being able to recognize the wood boring insects found in a tree is essential when making informed decisions on the need for control. Sorry Linda, but that is NOT a lot of sun, and it's the way wrong kind of sun for a lilac. In fact, it’s commonly used in perfumes and fragrant lotions because it’s known to trigger pleasant memories and happy feelings. However, left untreated, they can attract insects and fungi that can lead to infestation and disease. Secure a winch 6 feet above the split. If not, then the side with little or no bark will eventually die, since the part directly under the bark is what feeds the branches and leaves. Infill with well dug soil and firm down to remove air pockets. Although trees with widely-split trunks do not fully recover, you can repair the wound to promote new growth. I would like to save the tree from splitting the rest of the way and losing half or all of the tree. Trees that are most susceptible to this type of injury are those with thin bark, such as certain fruit trees. While the wound heals, watch for insects that may infest the exposed wood and spread diseases. Here are the most common causes of splitting or shedding bark: Rapid freeze and thaw cycles sometimes cause splitting and peeling bark on lilacs. Frost cracking occurs with extreme temperatures from cold to hot and back again, producing a long, vertical fissure down the center of the tree trunk. Splitting bark on a Japanese lilac tree can be caused by rapidly changing temperatures, especially when freeze-thaw cycles occur in winter, or rapidly changing water conditions, like a drought followed by heavy rains. The common lilac tree, also known as Syringa vulgaris, is universally popular among flower fans. Ron Noble (author) on June 01, 2019: You may want to contact a local arborist to physically inspect your tree and to recommend any treatment for the fungus and to limit the damage to your catalpa. There is no single reason for bark splitting on trees. Now have a little patience and in 4-5 years, you'll have a big, beautiful blooming lilac tree. 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