Keeping a Tree's Bark Healthy
It is useful to think of the bark of a tree as being analogous to the skin on an animal. When an animal's skin is injured, by being scraped or cut, steps must be taken to prevent infection. If infection does occur, not only the skin is involved, but the entire animal may fall victim. The same is true of a tree. If its bark is scraped or cut, the resulting wound will allow bacterial, viral and fungal infections to attack the bark as well as the sapwood and heartwood of the tree. Consequently, it is always a good idea to dress such wounds with pruning sealant as soon as possible.
Again, the overall health of an animal affects the health of its skin. A healthy animal, fed and hydrated properly, will have thick, intact skin that is highly resistant to
|penetration by pathogens. A sick animal will
often have thin, inflamed, and easily broken skin that easily allows
pathogens to pass through it. Similarly, an animal that is not properly
cared for may develop lesions and thinned areas where disease easily
develops and then spreads throughout the body.
A tree, like an animal, needs to be fed and hydrated properly in order to maintain thick, healthy bark. Otherwise, its bark will be thin and easily penetrated by pathogens. Also, allowing vines and other plants to encroach upon, or climb on, a tree leads to bark lesions that allow pathogens to infect the tree. If the tree is particularly susceptible to such infections (e.g., all Red Oaks) such infections are often life threatening.
Bugsinthenews ... Trees in Central Texas