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Frost cracks...yeah, that's what those are called.

January 11, 2018

Most are unfamiliar with what a frost crack put it simply, they typically happen in winter or late spring when water in the phloem (inner bark) and in the xylem (the wood), expands and contracts under varying temps.


"They are formed when the water in the wood cells is drawn out and then freezes.  This occurs near the outside of a tree. Meanwhile, the cells toward the center of the trunk maintain a higher temperature, and therefore are less subject to wood shrinkage.  The outer ring of wood tissue cannot withstand the pressure from the inside ring, and it eventually cracks."


Have you ever heard a water main break? Much like that, it is common to hear a "pop" sound which can accompany the cracking.


Fluctuations in temperature can assist in precipitating a frost crack, but the precise location of the crack is typically determined by previous injuries or structural weaknesses that have occurred to the tree. 


In general, these kinds of frost cracks usually affect deciduous trees, particularly the linden, apple, tulip, walnut and willow.


If you are seeing these types of cracks and are worried, don't hesitate to reach out and let us give you a consult.

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