Damage to Weeping European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Pendula’)

(Question)

I live in Mississauga. My backyard is south facing. I planted a weeping european hornbeam in May 2013. The tree is in the east side of the backyard. I just noticed the indentation you can see on the picture I am attaching. The tree is on warranty until the beginning of May. Is this a curable disease?
Thank you in advance for your response.
Ana

 

(Answer)

Your tree, Carpinus betulus ‘Pendula’, is a relatively low maintenance, wind, pollution and drought tolerant tree that needs full sun ideally – a striking and unique choice, that also attracts butterflies. It is a slow growing tree known for its hard wood (used for butchers blocks, wooden screws, piano making) and minimal insect and disease issues. It has been cultivated for centuries, notably in England and Europe, and is extensively used for hedging.

The indentation on the bark is not likely a disease – is it possible that the tree was staked too tightly and that some binding damage occurred? It does not appear to be a mark that would quickly grow over –  you may want to ask the nursery if a stake was attached in that spot? As it is still under warranty you may want to replace it if that area is sufficiently unsightly.

The other possibility is sun scald (also known as “winter crack”) as these trees are susceptible, especially when young and establishing themselves, and need a protected site. Sun scald occurs usually when snow is on the ground and the sun is out. The bark is heated which causes the tree to come out of dormancy but when the temperature drops again, the layer under the bark can crack and sometimes the tree can be killed. Wrapping a young tree for winter in single wall polypropylene trunk wrap can slow down heat transfer and loss and prevents your tree from becoming stressed. The wrap is white and reflective on the outer layer and black and heat absorbent on the inner layer.