My neighbor managed to park their SUV into one of my front trees and about two dinner plates worth of bark was scraped off. The tree diameter is around 14". I don't believe it is enough to seriously harm the tree but I want to facilitate the healing process as much as possible. Some sites I have read suggest that duct tape can be used to reattach the larger bark pieces and I attempted that within an hour or two of the incident. I also trimmed the ripped edges of the wound to have a cleaner cut for the tree to heal.

What is the best way to help this tree to heal? I'm worried about it potentially being exposed to an infection, especially if the bark reattachment is not actually a good idea.

Tree Pictures

  • Did you keep the same orientation for the bark? Apr 4, 2018 at 20:37
  • @Graham Yes, I puzzle-pieced the larger bark strips back together in their original positions. Apr 4, 2018 at 21:33
  • What kind of tree? A photo could also help: we see more than you, what for you it is just "bark" for use could be also other layers. Apr 5, 2018 at 8:13

3 Answers 3


Remove the bark, as Dalton noted, for exactly his reasons.

DO NOT SEAL THE WOUND - this is no longer correct. See this article for details: http://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-and-plant-advice/horticulture-care/trunk-wounds-and-decay.

And this article: http://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/2001/021001.html

And this answer from kevinsky in a previous question: Are tar based products really useful in treating tree wounds?

The first article states that trees with 25% of bark removed will survive; I think this depends on the species and/or size of tree, as I had a 3" caliper chokecherry with 75% of the bark removed by deer survive with no problem. I've frequently seen aspens (up to 6" caliper) survive with at least 50% of bark removed. Your tree should be just fine.


Asphalt emulsions are sold to coat pruning scars. On the other hand, trees recover pretty well by themselves; deer scrape the velvet off their antlers on various trees in my yard and remove a lot of bark ( they concentrate on one side of each tree) all have survived. And someone took bark off an elm near my driveway, very similar to your situation, it recovered well. I can't imagine your graft idea working.


Yeah, you should take that bark off. There is nothing feeding it anymore. It'll just die and be a place for insects, rot, and other nasties to hide.

You can paint or seal the would to keep bacteria and the like out. There are plenty of products out there. You could probably use just about anything. Eventually the tree will start growing a callous and closing the wound up. It'll get closer and closer to closing every year as layers are added on.

I don't think you have much chance of making it go away completely due to the size of the tree. We have a small maple in the front yard that deer chewed the bark off of one side. It's been a few years and it's making good progress in closing up. With so much size left yet to gain, it'll probably disappear completely. Your will probably continue to be noticeable, but I'd think the tree will stay healthy and grow well regardless of the wound.

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