Peeling bark can be a sign of insect infestation or disease for some trees. For others, it's part of the charm. Most trees drop off some bark every year to make room for new bark. On trees like the shagbark hickory, a good portion of the bark stays on the tree, coiling upward and giving inspiration for the tree's name. If you want to know which trees naturally lose their bark, read on.
The shagbark hickory is a slow grower. With time, it creates crops of nutmeats enclosed in little hard shells covered by green outer husks. Like the tree's name, the bark changes into narrow, long strips that peel back from the trunk to give the tree a fuzzy look. The older the tree gets, the more its bark curls.
Several types of maples also have peeling bark, like the trident maple and paperbark. The paperbark is deemed an understory tree since it grows to the full height of 30 feet. Its bark is cinnamon color and peels to display lighter colored bark.
The river birch has cinnamon-colored, peeling bark. River birch is more resistant than any other birches to the birch borer, a beetle that gets into birches' large limbs and trunks. River birch endures moderate flooding, making it the choice for erosion control along streams and rivers.
The strawberry tree is an evergreen that grows to 30 feet tall. Classified as an ornamental tree, it grows round fruits in the autumn that are the color of strawberries and very appealing to birds. The tree's dark-green, glossy leaves are situated on limbs with gray-brown bark that peels away from the bark growing underneath. The strawberry tree grow slow and is best suited in well-drained soil in partial shade or full sun. When mature, the tree is very resistant to drought.
Peeling bark on trees that don’t usually exhibit that trait may do it because of environmental factors. Peeling bark doesn’t mean death for a tree. Conditions causing peeling bark on trees with typically smooth bark are extreme drought, severe cold, and sunscald. Make an appointment with an arborist to determine if your bark is peeling naturally or there is a more serious issue.