GLT's Grow: Cracking Trunk Indicates Graft Problem | WGLT

GLT's Grow: Cracking Trunk Indicates Graft Problem

Aug 5, 2016

Mike's apples tree has a wound at the graft site.
Credit Mike Cameron

Mike in American Fork, Utah recently planted an apple tree that's developed a problem. The trunk shows the bark near the graft union is starting to crack and peel away.  Is this a root stock issue, or something else?

  • The practice of grafting is very common in fruit trees, said Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow.
  • The grafting is done to initiate a dwarfing of the specimen. 
  • Grafts can change overtime.
  • Freezing and expansion of water will impact the graft and weaken it.
  • Grabbing a plant by the trunk is another way to have a negative impact on the graft.  Only grab by the rootball.
  • A critter nibbling on the tree can cause the problem , too.
  • The tree can recover from this, leaving a wound behind.
  • Don't cover or paint the trunk.  Let it heal on its own.