Why trees shed bark
Find out why some trees go through a natural exfoliation process
One of the simplest reasons a tree may shed its bark is because it grows from the inside out. Bark consists of several layers. The living inner tissue (the phloem) plays an important role in transporting organic molecules around the tree. The dead outer layers (known collectively as the periderm) help in reducing water loss and protect the wood from injury and disease, similar to the role of skin in humans. This dead layer is unable to expand, therefore as the inner wood grows, the outer layer of bark expands and cracks to make room for the new bark underneath.
This process provides the tree with a number of ecological advantages; as old bark is lost, atmospheric pollutants, parasites and fungi are also removed, helping to keep the tree healthy. Similarly, climbing plants such as vines are not able to grow as high up the tree.
Trees that shed their bark seem to do so more after hot weather, as the outer bark dries and shrinks, allowing it to peel away more easily.
The shedding of a eucalyptus trees’ bark can be a fire hazard as it makes the perfect tinder