Most trees shed bark as new layers develop under older, dead bark, but in eucalyptus trees the process is punctuated by a colorful and dramatic display on the trunk of the tree. Learn about peeling bark on a eucalyptus tree in this article.
Do Eucalyptus Trees Shed Their Bark?
They certainly do! The shedding bark on a eucalyptus tree is one of its most charming features. As the bark dries and peels, it often forms colorful patches and interesting patterns on the trunk of the tree. Some trees have striking patterns of stripes and flakes, and the peeling bark may expose bright yellow or orange colors of the new bark forming underneath.
When a eucalyptus is peeling bark, you don’t need to be concerned for its health or vigor. It is a natural process that occurs in all healthy eucalyptus trees.
Why Do Eucalyptus Trees Shed Bark?
In all types of eucalyptus, the bark dies each year. In smooth bark types, the bark comes off in flakes, curls, or long strips. In rough bark eucalyptus, the bark doesn’t fall off as easily, but accumulates in entwined, stringy masses of the tree.
Shedding eucalyptus tree bark may help keep the tree healthy. As the tree sheds its bark, it also sheds any mosses, lichens, fungi, and parasites that may live on the bark. Some peeling bark can perform photosynthesis, contributing to the rapid growth and overall health of the tree.
Although the peeling bark on a eucalyptus is a big part of the tree’s appeal, it is a mixed blessing. Some eucalyptus trees are invasive, and they spread to form groves because of their lack of natural predators to keep them in check and the ideal growing conditions in places like California.
The bark is also highly flammable, so the grove creates a fire hazard. Bark hanging loose on the tree makes ready tinder, and it quickly carries the fire up to the canopy. Attempts are underway to thin stands of eucalyptus and remove them entirely from areas prone to forest fires.