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Throughout most of the year, trees’ bark serves as a protection. Yet certain spots of bark could exhibit damage, during the winter season.

Protection that nature put on the truck, and its relation to sunscald

On each tree, there are 3 layers of protection. Underneath the tissues that cover the trunk’s surface exist 2 other layers of tissue. One is the phloem, and under that is the cambium. During most of the year, sunshine activates the cells in the phloem and cambium. Since sun hits the trunk’s southwest section most strongly, the cells in that area can get activated during the winter months, as well. Understand, though, that such activation only takes place when the temperatures do not drop to an extremely low level.

The sun’s ability to activate the cells that are part of the tissues in the bark’s inner layers does not ensure the same layers’ protection them from the effect of changing temperatures. Consequently, when the temperatures drop, a discolored area could appear on a trunk’s surface, if it has received exposure to rays from the southwest. That discolored patch is called sunscald.

What events could trigger creation of frost cracks?

Because they are filled with chemicals, the bark’s inner layers expand, when the temperatures are warmer. After the temperatures have dropped, the tissues in those same layers shrink. The repeated expansion and shrinking creates an element of tension. The tension in the bark’s inner layers has the ability to trigger the formation of frost cracks.

Gardeners should help trees to heal the wounds in their bark.

Nature has blessed trees with the ability to carry out a healing process. The deep watering of a tree promotes the progress of that same healing process. Tree service in Palo Alto knows that mulch placed around a tree’s trunk can serve as a natural means for healing any wounded patch of bark. It helps to hold warmth and moisture in the soil, where the roots are growing.

Special covers can function as an artificial means for achieving the same level of protection. Gardening stores refer to such covers as tree guards. Actually, a gardener does not have to protect the trunk’s entire height and circumference. For that reason, a well-placed bush can function as a type of protection. A smart gardener would know to plant that same bush on the tree’s southwest side.

That is the area where the hottest rays of sun send their heat into the trunk’s inner layers. Hence, that is where the phloem and cambium could get activated. Yet, if a bush’s leaves were able to shade the bark on the southwest-facing section, then activation of those particular layers would not take place. Furthermore, the inner layers would not expand and shrink.