Why is the Oak Tree Bark Falling Off My Tree?

Oak trees are evergreen acorn-bearing or deciduous trees known for their usual impressive sizes. While some bark might split at the base of the trunk during the tree’s exfoliation process, oak tree bark that is coming off the trunk is typically the result of pest infestation or disease.

Slime flux, also called bacterial wetwood, is a bacterial infection that produces unpleasant-smelling, dark sap that oozes from holes or cracks in bark. The wet bark may be loose and easy to peel from the tree.

Taking away the bark reveals wood that is dark brown. Arborists suggest drilling a 1/4-inch-wide and very long hole into infected areas and implanting a copper tube inside to drain out fluids. The tube must come out slightly from the tree so that fluid doesn’t go back down onto the diseased area. You should also periodically check the tube for blockage.


Canker is a fungal illness that is worsened by environmental stresses like roots injury or drought. The disease makes bark fall off the branches and trunk, displaying brownish fungal spores that ultimately turn black and silvery gray. Crown dieback is usually an early indication of the disease. According to tree specialists, the virus can’t be managed once it spreads to the trunk. Diseased trees must be burned or cut down.

Other Considerations

Giving your oak tree certain cultural conditions will aid in stopping future issues. Oak trees have a varied range of preferences and habitats. However, most thrive well in moist, well-draining soil and full sunlight.

Hardiness differs according to species. Try not to damage the bark! A cut from a weed whacker or shears makes a tree susceptible to diseases and insects. Water the tree during drought periods hinders stress. Once planted, oaks shouldn’t be moved. Moving creates root disturbance.

If your oak tree bark is peeling and there aren’t any other symptoms, it’s probably due to weather stress. Stressed trees love mulch and water. Therefore, water your tree when there is dry soil and put down eco-green mulch in the fall and spring.

If the tree seems completely healthy, there’s a good possibility the bark peeling is because of growth. As long as there’s healthy bark beneath the peeling layers, your tree is fine.

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