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Sunscald is an incredibly common problem in the Central Valley due to the strong sun and high temperatures. Many trees that are planted in our area don’t have bark that is really designed to resist the strong sun of our climate. Once the bark of a tree is burned off, usually on the south and west facing sides, it rarely is able to grow back. Because the inner bark is the part of the tree that carries the food made by the leaves downward to the roots, the roots begin to suffer, which sends the tree into a downward spiral.
Because the wood of the tree is exposed after the bark is burned off, it will be invaded by wood decay and likely wood-boring insects as well. To avoid the problem, choose trees that are more appropriate for our climate. Do not trim the lower branches up too high, too soon. Leaving them on the trunk of the tree for a longer period of time strengthens and thickens the trunk, while providing precious shade that will protect the bark from sunscald. If your tree does get sunscald, you can treat the exposed wood with copper fungicide to deny access to wood decay fungi. If you need help choosing an appropriate tree or treating a tree with sunscald, please give us a call.