Sugar Maple – Planted Too Deep

Q: Could you please give me your opinion on a problem I’m having with my Sugar Maple?

I planted it about 21 years ago and I’m having a problem with the bark splitting and coming off near the bottom of the trunk. There has been no equipment damage to the tree.

The bark appears to be rotten and brittle and easy to pull off the tree. The other parts of the tree seem fine. This problem started a couple of years ago. Is there anything I can do to for this?

A: My guess is that it has been mulched too deeply over the years. Constant moisture at the base of the tree can allow fungi to attack the lower trunk.

Either that or it was planted too deeply to begin with, leading to the same problem. I don’t see the flare roots spreading away from the trunk, they seem to be covered with soil.

As long as the tree is healthy, leave it alone. Pull back mulch and soil from the trunk. This may allow it to heal sufficiently to have a long life.

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