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Trees/Maple Tree sunscald


Ho would (or should) I treat a maple that has sunscald? The tree is planted in the southwest. There is on portion of the tree that the bark is beginning to peal. I have read conflicting reports on-line to don't and o wrap the tree and paint with tree paint. I truly don't know what to do. Our daughter started this tree from a seed, so it's very important to us and we don't want to lose it.

Thank you,

Sunscald is a form of winter injury that can cause cracks and splits. Sunscald occurs when cells in the living tissue beneath the bark thaw out on sunny days. This occurs mainly on the south or west side of trunks and branches. These cells rupture when they re-freeze at night. The tree is injured when enough cells in a given area rupture. You'll notice the injury the following spring as a discolored, sunken area. Fungus infections often invade trees via sunscald injuries. Young, thin-barked trees are most susceptible to sunscald injury. These include maple, honey locust, linden, and mountain ash. Heavy pruning on neglected trees exposes sections of bark that have been protected from the sun's direct rays for years, predisposing them to sunscald injury.

You can reduce or eliminate sunscald injury on young trees by wrapping the trunks each fall with tree wrap paper. Do this every year until the bark begins to roughen. This may take only a few years on some trees, but more years on others. Prune trees that haven't been pruned for years in stages, not all at once. This will help prevent sunscald. Remove the wrap in the Spring.

I would spray the area with an insecticide called Merit to prevent borers from entering the trunk. And fertilize the tree with 10-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of 1 lb per inch of trunk diameter scattered around the tree and watered in good. This will increase the health of the tree and allow the tree to better stave off any insect or fungi.
In general I would not be too concerned about the crack except for borer prevention.  


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Jim Hyland


I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.


34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
Registered Forester
Certified Pesticide Appicator

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