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If a tree loses bark over a large area, this does not necessarily have to result in a catastrophe. But it can be a clear warning sign that something is wrong. While there are trees, such as plane trees, where bark shed is part of the natural growth process, it is definitely not normal for fruit trees in the garden. The reasons for this should definitely be investigated. And fortunately, they can usually be fought well.

natural causes


The bark of trees falling off is more common than you might think. With birches and plane trees it is even a completely natural process that is repeated at regular intervals. The reason for this is the growth of the trees. The diameter of the trunk and branches increases, and the bark that does not grow with it is blown off. It is as if the trees would free themselves from a corset. Often the entire trunk and at least the thicker branches are downright bare.


Again and again it happens that citizens, especially in cities, worry about the tree population. In such a case, however, there is no reason to worry. An affected tree not only loses its bark, it also grows back relatively quickly. Incidentally, this also applies if growth is not the reason for the loss of bark in birch and plane trees, but birds. Above all woodpeckers always ensure that larger pieces of bark detach from the trunk. The animals damage the protective shell in search of food. Of course, the damage is usually never so great that it could endanger the tree.

Woodpecker, Picidae

fruit trees

The situation is somewhat different, however, when fruit trees in the garden suddenly come along bark flaking or a complete one bark loss have to fight. Apple trees that are a bit older are usually affected here. Of course, it can also have completely natural causes. If, for example, the bark is only lost on the sunny side, the reason for this is simply too much solar radiation or the associated heat build-up between the trunk and bark. However, the problem can easily be remedied with a coat of lime. Alternatives to lime are pulp mixtures made from:

  • soft, almost liquid clay
  • fresh, very liquid cow dung
  • herbs, such as horsetail, mashed and soaked in water
Lime paint on the tree bark

Basically: The loss of bark on fruit trees usually does not pose a threat to the tree, as long as it is not yet other changes such as a brown discoloration of the leaves.

fathom the cause

If this is the case, however, it is high time to get to the bottom of the causes. In the case of fruit and especially apple trees, these can be extremely diverse. The range extends from more in-depth ones injuries over Diseases to an acute one fungus. The first warning signs should therefore be taken seriously. Alarm signs can be, for example:

  • cracks in the bark
  • minor chips
  • browning of the leaves
  • little or no fruit formation

Determining the exact cause is unfortunately not exactly easy. In such a case, it is best to consult an experienced specialist. In particular, it must be determined whether it is a fungal infestation.


The fungus Diploida Mutila in particular can cause the bark of apple trees to fall off. It usually starts with small cracks and chips. The problem with this is that the fungus can then spread even more easily over the entire tree via these open areas. It also opens the door for various insects to get in. In the case of an infestation with Diploida Mutila, not only the tree bark is affected, but also the water-conducting layer in the trunk. At some point, the tree will inevitably lose its water supply and die. Acute control of such a fungal infestation can only be carried out by authorized professionals respectively. Of course, preventative measures are possible.


In order for a fruit tree not to lose its bark, some preventive measures are advisable. This can significantly reduce the risk, if not prevent it completely. The most important of these measures is a regular cut, which strengthens the entire tree. But an adequate supply of nutrients also strengthens the tree and protects it from infestation with fungi, pests or diseases in general.

A regular cut strengthens the tree

Tip: The fallen leaves simply lie under the tree in autumn and let them rot there.

immediate measures

If a fruit tree loses small pieces of bark or cracks appear, it makes sense to close these open areas immediately. To put it plainly: These injuries, especially to the tree bark, are gateways for pests. In order to be able to close them, so-called wound closure agent from specialist retailers, which can be easily applied and provide reliable protection.

Otherwise, the following applies: Older apple trees in particular should be checked regularly for cracks, chips or other damage to the bark.

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