Question: The bark on my new tree is splitting vertically and the inner tissues seem to be exposed. What causes that? How can I stop it?

Answer: That’s usually from sunscald. If it’s on the south, east or west sides where the sun is most intense, that’s probably the problem. Trees that had been shading one another are suddenly sold and planted alone, generally in full hot sun. Most of the sunscald occurs in winter and early spring, when nights are cold. The early morning sun changes the trunk temperatures very quickly, causing the splitting. Trim away any of the dead wood, and seal the wound with a small amount of black pruning sealant. You should always use paper tree wrap for the first year or two if there is any chance of trunk damage from cold or sun.

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