What Causes a Tree Trunk To Split Vertically in Torrance, CA?

It can be good practice to check on your tree’s health, but when you notice a vertical crack in the trunk, it could mean problems. While there are many factors leading to vertical trunk splitting, the main cause is frost cracks. 

If you want to know more about what causes a tree trunk to split vertically, let Gutierrez & Sons Tree Services and Landscaping, an expert tree service company in Torrance, explain everything you need to know.

what causes a tree trunk to split vertically

Vertical Tree Trunk Split Causes: What Are Frost Cracks?

One of the prominent tree trunk vertical cracking reasons is frost cracks, which are splits within a trunk that occur during the cold winter months. Vertical trunk split triggers are mainly due to the fluctuations in temperature that happen between cold and warm seasons. Since the tree compresses the outside more than the inside, frost cracks form.

Frost cracks can be a danger to the tree because the vertical tree trunk split exposes the tree’s internal parts. This can lead to infestation from insects or infection and injury via tree diseases. Luckily, trees with vertical splits aren’t always on death row and can recover naturally, albeit more quickly, with a little extra help.

How Can You Prevent Frost Cracks and Other Common Causes of Tree Trunk Vertical Fissures?

What causes a tree trunk to split vertically is not force but subtle changes in temperature over time. There are ways to prevent frost cracks, including:


If you protect your tree from drastic temperature changes, it will be less likely to crack when the temperature goes up or down. Since temperature changes are why tree trunks split vertically, a good tarp or burlap can help keep the trunk warm enough to slow those temperature changes down. When wrapping your tree, try to focus on the base of the tree.

Strategic Planting

While you can’t do this with your older trees, new trees you have yet to plant can avoid frost cracks with a bit of strategy. If you want to help prevent frost cracks on your new trees, try planting them somewhere with less wind exposure. Excessive wind and frost can cause a tree’s bark to become brittle and more likely to crack.

Promote Tree Health

A healthy tree is a crack-resistant one. If you give your tree nutrients and plenty of care, you can prevent cracks.

Fertilizing your soil during the summers and watering the tree’s base during the winters promotes flexibility and growth, helping the tree remain solid instead of cracking under the changes.

Work With Gutierrez & Sons Tree Services and Landscaping To Protect Your Trees

Now that you can answer, “What causes a tree trunk to split vertically?” do you want to learn more about how you can help your trees? Gutierrez & Sons Tree Services and Landscaping can help take care of your trees and educate you on how you can keep them happy with sprinkler irrigation, root fertilization, and more. Call 310-324-6593 for your free consultation.

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