The choice to plant shade trees in the landscape is an easy one for many homeowners. Whether hoping to provide much needed shade during the hottest months of summer or wishing to create habitat for native wildlife, the establishment of mature shade trees can be a lifelong process that requires the investment of quite a bit of time, money, and patience. With this in mind, it is easy to imagine why growers may become alarmed when mature shade trees begin showing signs of perceived distress in the form of bark loss, as in the case of bark coming off plane trees.
Why is My Plane Tree Losing Bark?
The sudden or unexpected loss of bark in mature trees can be quite the cause for concern for many homeowners. Commonly used in landscaping and along busy city streets, one specific variety of tree, the London plane tree, is known for its habit of drastic bark shed. In fact, the London plane tree, as well as others such as the sycamore and some types of maples, will shed their bark at varying rates.
While the amount of shed from the trees each season is unpredictable, bark coming off plane trees during heavy shed seasons may lead growers to believe that their trees have become diseased or that something is seriously wrong. Luckily, in many cases, plane tree bark loss is a completely natural process and does not warrant any cause for concern.
While there are several theories as to why plane tree bark shedding occurs, the most commonly accepted cause is that the bark falling off plane tree is simply the process of old bark removal as a means to make way for new and developing layers. Additional theories suggest that bark drop may be the tree’s natural defense against invading parasites and fungal diseases.
Whatever the cause may be, bark shed alone is not cause for concern for home gardeners.