Thread: Open Gash in Weeping Cherry Tree

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Seymour, IN

    Open Gash in Weeping Cherry Tree

    I planted a weeping cherry tree last year which had a 3" trunk diameter. Almost immediately I noticed a small gash in the bark of the tree. Practically every month since I have noticed the opening in the truck getting bigger and bigger. It is now a 7" long gash. I had a professional look at it and he was 100% sure it was NOT any kind of insect damage, but perhaps woodpecker damage. I have an overabundance of red-bellied woodpeckers on my property and in the surrounding woods. One day I did actually catch the woodpecker pecking on that opening and I ran out and shooed him away. I also caught a woodpecker on another tree of mine. What can I do to keep woodpeckers from damaging my new trees? It's upsetting because there are TONS of huge trees in the woods, but they are preferring to pick on my new treelings!! What can I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Eastern PA

    RE: Open Gash in Weeping Cherry Tree

    I feel for you - with me, it's deer who clearly prefer whatever I plant over whatever grows naturally, even same species a few feet away...

    We have a lot of downy and hairy woodpeckers, and we've seen one pileated, but none of the red-bellied sort. I am by no means an expert on them, but I'm surprised they'd be digging at the tree unless something tasty had infested it - in that case, they'd be helping you, though.

    Green Man Enviroscaping LLC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Seymour, IN

    RE: Open Gash in Weeping Cherry Tree

    Yes, I also have a lot of deer that pass through and for the first time in 4 years they scrapped the bark off one of my small crimson maples and trampled on another smaller tree, but at least half of it is still standing. I guess it's all a part of being out in nature.

    I was just wondering if I should use some kind of tree sealant to help keep the bark closed so insects do not enter or put some kind of dressing on it - but then I'd be afraid of mold or mildew damage.

  4. #4

    RE: Open Gash in Weeping Cherry Tree

    Cherry trees and some maples have very thin bark and don't do well in sunny and cold climates. What you're probably seeing is called "sunscald" and happens when the bark is frozen and the sun warms it up and then goes behind a cloud. The constant freezing and thawing cracks the bark and causes a split. If you look closely you'll notice that it appears on the south or southwest side of the tree. Some white tape is available for this and should be applied to the tree from October through March or April.
    You can also do a search on under "sunscald cherry tree".

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Seymour, IN

    Re: RE: Open Gash in Weeping Cherry Tree

    Actually this split is facing north-east, but this was the first year I owned the tree and it could have been facing south at the nursery before I bought it. I imagine once your tree gets a split, the constant freezing and thawing will open it up even more. Thanks for the tip - I'll purchase the white tape and see how that does.

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