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Bark Splitting on Young Tree

Southwest InjurySouthwest Injury

Southwest injury or trunk scald often causes maple tree trunks and bark to split in winter. The problem is more prevalent in maples which are thick barked and in younger trees. The low angle sunlight in winter warms the trunk tissues, activating dormant cells and making them prone to cracking and splitting in the cold nighttime temperatures. Trees can often recover from this bark splitting fairly quickly and there is nothing much you can do about it after the fact. Management of southwest injury includes covering the lower trunks with burlap or jute during winter. This material can be re-used every winter while the tree is still young and the bark is thin.