Q: In the last few weeks, we have noticed that oak trees are shedding their bark profusely. The bark is simply falling off the trees in bits and pieces. What is happening to our wonderful trees?
A: There are two possible explanations. The first is that the trees have simply had two drought-free years of growth and the trunks are expanding more rapidly than the bark can accommodate. Another possibility is that the trees have smooth patch disease. This fungus decomposes the outer bark of trees, particularly white oak, and causes it to slough off. After a storm you might see several large pieces of bark at the base of the tree. Neither condition hurts the tree. If your oaks have full canopies of leaves there is no need to worry.