When to Worry: Signs of Bark on a Tree Falling Off Explained for Your Tampa, FL, Property

Seeing bark on a tree falling off can often strike a chord of concern for any gardening enthusiast, especially when it’s your favorite specimen. If you encounter this issue, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that something is wrong. 

As Tampa’s arborist, we at Arborist Aboard know a lot about arboreal behaviors and their nuances. Keep reading as our experts share the crucial details and bring you peace of mind.

The Natural Function of Tree Bark Shedding

Believe it or not, tree bark peeling off is like a snake slipping out of its old skin. Certain species do it to expand, grow, and shed parasites or diseases clinging to their shells. As long as the exposed wood looks healthy, there’s usually no need to hit the panic button.

Varieties that exhibit this behavior include:

  • Birch
  • Sycamore
  • Silver maple
  • Redbud
  • Pine trees
  • Hickory

Tree Bark Flaking From Environmental Stress

Undesirable growing conditions, sadly, can cause stress symptoms like tree bark coming loose:

  • Drought: When a tree doesn’t receive enough water, its bark may start cracking and peeling as a desperate measure to conserve moisture. An easy fix is to regularly water your trees, especially during extended dry or hot periods.
  • Poor drainage: Standing water suffocates roots, which can lead to tree bark sloughing from the stress of oxygen deprivation. Correcting the drainage issue or considering a raised bed can prevent moisture from pooling and damaging the plant.
  • Soil compaction: Heavy, dense soil limits the amount of air, water, and nutrients that reach a tree’s roots and cause tree bark detaching issues. Aerate the soil around your specimen to promote healthier growth.
  • Mechanical damage: Bark on a tree falling off may stem from accidental hits with lawnmowers or trimmers. Experienced gardeners avoid this by creating a mulch ring around the base to keep equipment at a safe distance.

Tree Bark Detaching When Pests and Pathogens Attack

Tampa’s humid climate is like a welcome mat for various critters and microorganisms that would love nothing more than to make a home out of your trees. Watch out for:


Bark beetles, emerald ash borers, and other insects will bore into the inner bark to feed and lay eggs. The damage disrupts the nutrient flow and slowly suffocates it, which can lead to tree bark detaching. Diligently caring for your specimens will help them stave off most infestations.

Bigger critters like squirrels can also damage bark with their clawing and feeding habits. If these gnawing antics seem incessant, consider installing protective mesh around the bases of your trees. 


Various fungi can wreak havoc on your trees and leave the bark discolored and peeling or even cause the tree to die back. You might encounter:

  • Armillaria root rot: Armillaria root rot or shoestring root rot will make bark peel at the base of infected plants. They spread through the roots if the surrounding soil has an existing fungal colony.
  • Anthracnose: While mostly a leaf disease, some types of anthracnose affect the twigs and bark, too.
  • Cytospora canker: This disease often manifests as sunken portions of bark, and the affected parts eventually crack and fall off. It commonly attacks willows, poplars, and spruces.

Your Go-To Tampa Tree Specialists 

When you see the bark on a tree falling off in large sections, the best thing you can do is to reach out to Arborist Aboard. Playing a guessing game with the health of your precious specimens can lead to heartache. Our crew can accurately diagnose your tree’s condition and recommend the most beneficial course of action.

Dial (813) 920-4410 or read more of our blog and learn how to save a tree with damaged bark.  


Arborist Aboard is owned and operated by an ISA Certified Arborist and a second-generation tree care professional. We take great pride in our work and the customers we serve, commercial and residential.

Contact Us

8611 Vivian Bass Way
Odessa, FL. 33556

(813) 920-4410

Call Now Button