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Hi there, my name is Neil. I am excited to share my knowledge about tree service with you all. My land is absolutely covered in fruit trees. Before I started providing the trees with regular care, they did not produce much fruit each year. I worked with a tree service professional to see if we could improve their yields across the board. My tree service professional eliminated pests and improved the health of my trees in a short span of time. The trees started producing fruit in abundance after that point. My site will explore the extreme level of care provided to trees by these dedicated professionals.


Talking About Tree Care Services

Bark Inclusions Are A Common Structural Problem In Trees: Here's How To Spot Them And What You Can Do To Strengthen The Tree

by Fred Nelson

If you've ever seen a broken tree that looks like it was split right down the middle of the trunk, it's likely that the cause of the break was due to a co-dominant stem splitting away from the rest of the tree. The most common reason why this happens to trees is a presence of a bark inclusion, which weakens the co-dominant stem's attachment to the tree and makes it more likely to be ripped free during storms or snow.

Since bark inclusions are such a common cause of large limbs breaking off of a tree, it's important to learn how to spot it. Tree bracing can be utilized to reinforce trees with bark inclusions and reduce the risk of the smaller co-dominant stem breaking. Below, you'll find more information about bark inclusions, how you can spot them, and what you can do to prevent them from becoming a problem.

What Is a Bark Inclusion?

Bark inclusions occur when two co-dominant stems grow too closely together. The area of the trunk underneath the bark inclusion develops into bark rather than connective tissue, and bark isn't nearly as strong. This represents a weak point in the structure of the tree, with its smaller co-dominant stem being much less securely attached to its trunk compared to a tree with no bark inclusion.

How Do You Know When a Tree Has a Bark Inclusion?

Only a professional can truly determine whether or not a tree has a bark inclusion. However, there are a few clues that you can use to spot trees on your property that may pose a problem.

On some tree species, bark inclusions are visible on the outside. They look like small ridged areas circling the trunk that are slightly darker than the rest of the surrounding bark.

Another good indicator is the shape of the crotch between the two co-dominant stems. A V-shaped crotch is a sign of a potential bark inclusion. A U-shaped crotch, in comparison, is less likely to contain a bark inclusion. In this situation, the co-dominant stems usually grow far enough apart to prevent the formation of a bark inclusion. As the angle between the two co-dominant stems becomes steeper, it becomes a more certain sign of the existence of a bark inclusion.

If you notice either of these signs on a tree on your property, call a tree service company to have your tree inspected. The smaller co-dominant stem could be at risk of breaking off when force is applied to it, such as during storms.

What Can You Do When a Tree Has a Bark Inclusion?

Some trees with bark inclusions may need to be removed, but most can be saved with tree bracing. Tree bracing refers to the process of driving steel rods throughout the entire length of the trunk where the bark inclusion occurs. The rods are capped on both ends in order to secure them in place, and the trunk of the tree naturally grows into the rods and integrates them into its structure.

The steel rods help to hold the co-dominant stems together. They also prevent the smaller co-dominant stem from being subjected to twisting forces in high winds. A twisting force that shears across the bark inclusion will cause the smaller co-dominant stem to break off entirely. "Smaller," in this case, is relative to the larger dominant stem of the tree—the smaller co-dominant stem on even mid-sized oak trees often weighs hundreds of pounds, and is easily capable of destroying vehicles or the roof of a home.

Overall, bark inclusions should be taken seriously as a potential failure point in your trees. A bark inclusion between two co-dominant stems means that the smaller stem is susceptible to breaking free of the trunk during a storm or if the tree is covered in snow. If you notice any bark inclusions on your property, call a tree service company to assess the risk. In most cases, tree bracing can reinforce the tree enough to prevent the smaller co-dominant stem from splitting off.