Most trees are resilient enough to withstand natural elements, including harsh winters. Nevertheless, some trees may experience signs of wear or injury. One common problem during the cold season is frost cracks. Learn what these are and how to recognize them.
What Are Frost Cracks?
Despite its name, a frost crack isn’t actually due to frost. It’s due to exposure to sudden temperature fluctuations. In this sense, winter frost plays a role, though it’s not the sole cause.
Frost cracks are common during cold sunny days. The afternoon sun causes the bark, and the wood underneath it, to expand. When the temperature drops at night, the bark cools and shrinks back down faster than the wood. This causes a vertical crack as the bark splits over the wood that remains expanded.
Implications of Frost Cracks
Frost cracks are rarely detrimental. In most cases, the tree self-heals by forming a scab over the crack. However, larger cracks may expose an opening for boring insects and fungus. While emergency tree service is usually not necessary, homeowners should err on the side of caution and enlist a tree care specialist. An arborist can determine whether remediation is necessary.
How to Treat Frost Cracks
As mentioned, frost cracks often cause a vertical split. If the adjacent bark is still firmly attached to the wood, then the tree will heal on its own. Remove loose bark because it will get in the way of the soon-to-form scab. You can also minimize frost cracks by planting shrubs around the trunk. The shrubs provide protection against the sunlight, which is responsible for one-half of the temperature extreme.
We Treat Frost Cracks
Tree care and removal are common during the winter months. Call Pro-Cut Tree Service if you notice any disruptions in the surface bark. Depending on the severity, the frost crack might require human intervention.
Winter Tree Maintenance
Serving customers in Lake Stevens, Edmonds, Marysville, Mukilteo, Lynnwood, Everett, Snohomish and the surrounding area