Bark splitting on your trees can occur due to a variety of factors at all different times of the year. There are certain trees which have far less defense against bark splitting than other species such as fruit trees.
It’s not the splitting of the bark you have to worry about, however it is the entry of pests or other organisms which can cause future trouble or even prove to be fatal for your tree(s). Entry of these pests can cause decay.
During the late winter or early spring months, sharp temperatures can freeze the water located inside the tree’s trunk causing it to crack or burst open. In the tree industry, we refer to this as “frost-cracks.” Water that is also found inside already opened cracks in the trunk can freeze, expand and cause the crack to open much wider.
Erratic growth can also cause bark splitting. For example, one week may be very dry with no rain or humidity and then the following week, the trees sees nothing but precipitation. These strange periods of growth can definitely be a cause.
When we see splits in trees, we use a process known as “tracing.” We trace around the wound with a knife dipped into 70% alcohol or bleach (so we don’t infect the tree) and carve around the crack. After this, we remove the bark from the affected area.