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Cracks in the bark are not good for any tree, but some types of chestnuts can be the cause of serious diseases. That's why you should take a closer look, especially at an American chestnut or a sweet chestnut.

Frost can cause the bark to crack

Why is the bark cracking?

When researching the cause of the crack in the bark, the point at which you discover the crack is important. If it occurs in winter, it may be frost damage. Draws moisture into the trunk and freezes there, then the bark bursts. This danger is particularly great when temperatures fluctuate greatly between day and night.

The reason for the bark of the chestnut bursting open or even flaking off may also be a disease, more precisely a fungal infestation. Two different pathogens in particular can be responsible. On the one hand there is the fungus Phyttophtera, which causes the so-called bleeding chestnut, on the other hand the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, which causes chestnut bark canker. Chestnut bark canker occurs primarily in sweet chestnuts.

Reasons for peeling bark:

  • Damage caused by frost or extreme temperature changes
  • chestnut blight
  • "Bleeding Chestnut"

Can the chestnut still be saved?

Since damage to the bark is a welcome entry point for various tree diseases and pests, you should definitely react quickly. If no fungus can be found and the crack appeared in winter, a coat of lime may be sufficient to protect your chestnut from major damage. It prevents pests from settling and protects the bark from further stress cracks.

In the case of a fungal infection, prune the affected parts of the plant generously. Then close the wound so that no new germs can enter and disinfect the tool used. Even if the cancer sometimes heals on its own, you should not wait too long. When the fungus spreads, parts of the chestnut die, later the whole tree. In addition, the fungus can be transmitted to other trees, including oaks.


Occasionally chestnut bark canker occurs in a weakened form, then the tree has a good chance of coping with the disease on its own.

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