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  • Splitting bark on fig trees

    After a warm period where the tree soaks up the water and then freezes because a cold front has come in for an extended period of time, the freezing of the water expands the bark causing it to split. I know the reasons why it happens but does anyone know how to repair it besides cutting off the branch/branches that have the split? Here is a photo of a fig tree with bark splitting on the left and right side branches where the trunk is.
    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
    Last edited by vintagevette53; 07-29-2021, 11:26 AM.

  • #2
    Both branches look like they are dying. Was the tree damaged somehow? Given that multiple branches growing out from the same point in the trunk creates a weak spot, perhaps consider pruning off the two that are not healthy, leave the one that appears to be healthier as your new main trunk, and grow side branches off it at various heights, ideally 2" apart.
    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Source Unknown MA 5b/6a
    Part Owner at Catskill Mountain Lavender


    • #3
      It is cold and or heat differences in temperature that normally cause bark splitting but does anyone know of a remedy /repair besides cutting off the branches?


      • Figgerlickinggood
        Figgerlickinggood commented
        Editing a comment
        I bought this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077XNP69Q...roduct_details. Looks like a good product

      • Finodejete
        Finodejete commented
        Editing a comment
        Gently chip off any dead bark at the edge of the split until you see green margins. Cover the split part so it receives no sun. If the tree is healthy, in time the bark will eventually grow back together again.

      • Rewton
        Rewton commented
        Editing a comment
        Fig trees grow so fast that I would just removed the two problematic branches and not look back. I guess the advantage of having over 100 trees is that if a single tree has a set-back you don't let it bother you too much!

    • #4
      I think Gina's advice is sound. you have too many side branches in one spot.
      Pm me for the list of trees available for sale.
      Phoenix, AZ zone 9B


      • #5
        Finodejete....great advice, thank you so very much!


        • #6
          from what I can see, it looks like the split has gone deeper than the cambium layer. Perhaps the cambium will grow back over the wound if you do as Finodjete says and clean up the edges so they are fresh and green...it will be interesting to see how this works. I have a few small trees where it looks like something chewed the trunk a bit...the trees are hanging in there, but I may try this trick and see if I can get bark back on those spots. I really don't like that open wound situation.
          Pm me for the list of trees available for sale.
          Phoenix, AZ zone 9B


          • #7

            This type of major branch dieback on such a young tree seems to be caused by pathogenic reasons
            Wonder if you have already read this interesting report. which, I believe, deals exactly with the subject




            • JR
              JR commented
              Editing a comment
              Glad you read the article and are now aware of this form of canker on figs also you feel confident that your fig limb dieback may be something else not mentioned on that paper..
              This same type of dieback , sometimes multiple and on much older figs, can be seen here (Portugal) and may be a consequence of a string of problems, the most common having a lot to do with the methods used to prune the trees, as well as scalding of the branch structures over the seasons without protection. The remedies used locally to try and salvage these trees are mostly selective cuts to extract the contaminated sick wood and to apply a thick white wash layer on the wounds 'tempered' with small additions of cooper sulphate.

          • #8
            JR...I read the article and it seems to me that Neoscytalidium fungus that causes a black powder residue is not the cause of this particular fig tree that is splitting the bark, why? no black powder residue for one and no excessive long term California heat since this tree is located in Staten Island New York with short summers.


            • #9
              This is my fig tree for sale on figbid.


              The tree was placed in a mini-greenhouse in April. There was one night where the temperature dropped below freezing with some well-leaved trees inside. Some lost leaves and some had bark damage, including this one.

              The growth on all three limbs is still healthy, but if I still own this tree come dormancy, I will be pruning the two side branches off. The middle branch did not split at all.

              We have had many back and forth correspondences about this. The splitting has been a major concern of yours. I recommend not purchasing the tree if you have these reservations. There will surely be others for sale in the future.
              NYC Zone 7b & Central NJ 7a


              • #10
                CaricaChris...Posted this topic to find out in general what can be done to correct the problem by others with knowledge about fig tree bark remedies. I did ask your opinion about this on figbid but you didn't reply to my questions so I thought I'd bring this topic here to be discussed not about your tree in particular since I didn't mention who owned this tree nor the variety but about finding some answers to correct fig tree bark splitting problems.
                Last edited by vintagevette53; 07-29-2021, 01:41 PM.


                • CaricaChris
                  CaricaChris commented
                  Editing a comment
                  No worries, I would do the same. I'm not upset about this. That's what this forum is for.

                  However, I did answer many of your questions promptly. I see now you asked me another question yesterday and sorry I didn't respond sooner to that one.

                  Personally, I would remove the split limbs during dormancy. The reason I haven't yet is because both limbs have multiple figs on them that would be a shame to lose. Figs are incredibly resilient plants.

              • #11
                JR, thanks for the article! It is a very interesting read. Actually, I was in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Estate this morning in Hyde Park NY looking at a few split bark maple and oak trees and saw some with the assumed Neoscytalidium fungus that causes a black powder residue, they all had it. I rubbed my finger on it and there was black fungus on my finger which I washed off with hot soapy water immediately.


                • #12
                  I'm worried about my fig tree. It's 5 years old and has been doing so great. It started to bud out and then we had a couple of frosty mornings so it's now delayed and the buds dried up. But I just noticed this crack and I'm worried it's doomed.
                  You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.


                  • #13
                    gin-gin First of all, welcome to the forum and thanks for doing a search to see if this topic has been discussed before. To answer your question, I suggest to first try scraping the bark to see if the cambium is brown. If so, then that area is dead. Then keeping going down the trunk until you get green (not yellow) cambium. Once you see green then there is some life there (though there is no guarantee it won't die in the coming weeks). Good luck!
                    Last edited by Rewton; 05-03-2023, 04:10 PM.
                    D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                    WL: Castillon, Fort Mill Dark, White Baca