I have a young tree (<5 years old; about 1.5" trunk diameter). I do not know the species of tree, but am told it is common to my area of Southern Ontario, Canada.

Unfortunately, the tree has had its trunk bark damaged all the way around.

How should I repair this? Can I expect the tree to fully recover?

tree in summer (to show leaves for identification)

tree in summer

tree right now (showing damaged area)

tree right now

damaged area detail damaged area

1 Answer 1


There's nothing you can do to repair the damage - that's up to the tree. Do NOT cover the damaged area with anything! Leave the damaged area untouched and open to the sun and air. The tree will callus over and in a few years only a light scar will remain. If the damage has not gone too deep (and I really think it hasn't), then your tree will recover on its own.

Right now, the buds seem to me to be swelling. If this is the case, then your tree has not been girdled and will live, although some branches may die back. If I'm wrong and the buds are still dormant, then you'll know within a month or two if the tree has been girdled because the new leaves will not open entirely and the tree will rapidly die.

Many trees can recover from as much as 75% or more damage to a trunk, but this is IIRC species dependent (I once owned a chokecherry that was severely damaged by a deer - it had removed at least 85% of the bark and cambium - and the tree recovered).

As for tree identification, it kind of resembles a Serviceberry (Amelanchier species), although the structure may be incorrect for serviceberry. Flowers would really be a definitive ID marker.

  • Thanks! Fingers crossed, then. I am glad I asked because my naive thought was that the damage would need to be "protected" with some kind of gardening sealant (whatever that might be).
    – Roberto
    Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 23:44
  • Hope the tree looks good this spring. If you'd like an ID, ask another question with photos of the flowers (both closeup and from a distance) and we'll see what we can do. Also tell us what kind of fruits were on the tree last summer/fall (color and size).
    – Jurp
    Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 2:38
  • Following up... the tree is in full bloom now, so it looks like it will survive! I'll ask a new question with flower photos to try and get a species identification.
    – Roberto
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 14:07

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