In most instances, it’s not a sign that something is wrong. The general cause of tree bark loss is that it’s coming out of its skin, which has to shed to let its trunk grow. In other instances, tree bark can come off because of disease, animals attacking it, or insect infestation. If you want to know the exact reason your bark is peeling off, have an Orchard Park arborist assess your trees.


A tree grows by creating a new layer of fibrous tissues well within its core. As it thrives from the inside, its outer layers grow, and it discards its old bark to make room for the new. The bark on a young tree is usually flexible and smooth. It can withstand the inner growth with little effect. However, old bark is dry and has spent much of its elasticity, making it split and crack as the tree flourishes.

 Orchard Park Tree Care Why is bark peeling

A Birch tree peeling naturally

Certain tree types, like paper birch or white, shed their bark in curly strips that reveal the inner layer (cambium) to the elements. In a wholesome birch tree, the exposed layer heals fast. On the other hand, in a tree weakened by insect damage, disease, or prolonged drought, exposed tissue offers easy access for more issues that could threaten its survival.


Certain fungal diseases grow just under the outer bark, making it drop off in little or large pieces usually seen on the ground. Diseases like cankers typically get in the tree’s inner layers via the bark, creating branch dieback and disfigurations. It could at some point kill the tree. If not stopped in time, a whole stand of trees can be affected, making the issue harder to deal with.

There are several canker types, but they all show up on what seems like good bark as red, brown, or black lesions. Indications are found on several tree species such as willow, maples, and beech trees. The reason for canker illnesses is drought, excessive water, and fluctuations in temps. Call a tree specialist to determine if your tree is worth keeping or needs to be removed.