P&PDL Picture of the Week for
September 24, 2007

Bark Splitting

Mike Mickelbart, Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Purdue University

Bark splitting of nursery trees affects approximately 5% of the nursery stock produced in Ohio. Although there are no numbers for Indiana, the problem is fairly common. These longitudinal splits in the bark most often do not limit the growth of the tree, but the damage often makes the plant unattractive enough that it cannot be sold. Furthermore, insects and pathogens may use these cracks to gain entry into the tree. Scientists at Purdue are working jointly with Ohio State University to determine the factors that may cause or exacerbate this type of cracking. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests that high fertility, herbicide application, or the use of tree guards may cause bark cracking.

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bark splitting

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service