Q: A grading machine backed into our poplar tree and scraped a section of the bark off. The interior of the tree was not damaged but loose bark is left hanging. What should I do now?
A: Use a razor knife to cut the shredded bark back to where it adheres tightly to the trunk. Sensing the exposure to air, the tree will “wall off” the wound and begin trying to seal over the damage. Do not coat the injury with tar. Thick coatings eventually allow insects and fungus to hide next to the sapwood. You can use brown spray paint to make the inner wood less noticeable.