Extreme temperature fluctuation causes tree cracking

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. - You might call it just the nature of nature. Trees cracking in the aftermath of what cold temperatures and sudden rises to warmer temperatures can do to a tree.

It happened with some Japanese Maples at the Botanical Garden about ten or more years ago, but the trouble is, it's hard to counter it.

Wrapping trunks in the winter time is a possibility, but the wrapping has to be removed in spring as it can become a haven for insects and diseases retaining moisture.

Another option is planting evergreens around the base of the tree, creating a shade condition for the trunk. But that bark gets damaged, and can damage the cambium and possibly eventually kill the tree, especially on thin barked trees like cherries, crabapples, linden trees and young walnut trees.

Additionally, tree cracking can be quite loud, according to Ben Chu, a horticulturist at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

If temperatures continue to fluctuate between extreme cold and quick warmups, the possibility of more tree cracking will exist.

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