Your tree needs its bark to survive. The bark protects the inner wood, especially the tree's vascular system, from damage. Know the most common causes of bark damage so you can take steps to prevent them.
1. Mulch Volcanoes
The term mulch volcano describes the practice of building up a high layer of mulch right against the trunk of the tree. This practice traps moisture against the trunk, which can cause the bark to rot. Instead of a mulch volcano, spread the mulch out in a level layer that is about 3 inches deep. Then, pull the mulch back a bit from the trunk so it doesn't rest directly against the wood.
2. Ropes and String
Avoid tying anything around the trunk if you plan to leave it there for more than a day or two. Ropes left around a tree can eventually lead to girdling and tree death. As the tree grows and the trunk widens, the rope constricts the trunk. Eventually, it can cut right into the bark, where the rope with sever through the vascular tissues that lie just beneath the bark. When this happens, the nutrient and water transport can no longer occur and the tree dies.
3. Nails and Screws
Older, mature trees with thick bark can withstand a nail or a screw being put into them to anchor an item, but young trees or those with thin bark can suffer or even die. If you must drive in a nail or screw, make sure it is clean so you don't introduce any bacterial or fungal diseases to the tree. Further, never place a nail or screw into a tree that is already suffering stress from drought, insects, or disease.
4. Weed Trimming
String weed trimmers can be really hard on trees, especially those that have thinner bark. If you are cutting weeds around the base of the tree, the string from the trimmer can cut right into the bark. Even thicker barked trees can eventually develop damage from repeated string trimming around their base. Use shears or hand pulling to remove weeds growing right up against the trunk. Further, take special care to avoid damage when operating any lawn equipment near the tree trunk.
5. Gnawing and Scratching
Animals will sometimes use a tree as a scratching post, or they may gnaw on the trunk or peel off the bark. Domestic pets, like cats and dogs, may do this, but wild animals like rodents or deer are the more likely culprits. If you notice animal damage to your tree bark, place a tree guard around the trunk to prevent further problems.
Contact a tree service for more tree care advice or for help treating an issue with your tree's bark. Visit a website like https://www.hodgsontreeservice.com/ for more information.