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. Continue Reading →