Bark is the Tree’s Skin

A group of older women with their backs in the pictures touching the bark on big tree

Tree bark is like our skin and requires us to take care of it so it remains healthy. The outer bark is a tree’s protection from the outside world. It is continually renewed from within, getting thicker and thicker as the tree ages. Bark helps keep out rainwater and prevents the tree from losing moisture when the air is dry. It also insulates the tree against cold and heat and wards off insect enemies that can cause disease and lead to tree mortality. And when a tree becomes diseased, it can spread to surrounding trees, creating an unhealthy forest.

I bring this up because the last few times I’ve been out to Big Tree, I’ve noticed people have been picking at the bark. The “sores” created by this picking can allow insects to invade the tree’s cambium. The cambium is the thin layer of living cells just inside the bark. Cambium is incredibly important because that’s the part of the tree that makes new cells that allow the tree to grow wider each year.

All of us want Big Tree to remain big and strong, which is why we created a nice deck around the tree to protect the root system. So, the next time you walk out to admire it, think about how protecting its bark is the best way to keep it healthy and strong.

– Katha Miller-Winder, President


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