What's different this year? Well, more rain, and constant. Slower drainage because of that. The branches are not heavier with fruit. In fact, I pruned inside the foliage last fall to allow more shade with less strain on the branches. No playing on the tree. No pesticides on the tree. I don't see any bugs, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. (There is a giant spiderweb very high at the outer leaves, telling me the victims will be coming from outside the drip line.)
The tree itself sits at an angle, not upright. I believe when it was planted, before we got here, it wasn't tended to properly, and by the time we bought the property, it was too late to try to right it. We did not stress the tree like that. The roots are expansive, and some of them are at the surface.
So here's the problem:
This is the trunk. The bark is "shaggy," and by that I mean split, but still firmly attached to the tree. Not shedding, but splitting, and the splits have gotten wider. The trunk has also gotten wider as the tree has grown.
This is where the tree forks, about three to four feet up. You can really see the splitting here. The splitting bark used to only come to the bottom of this fork. now it goes up the branches...
....and then stops. You can see where the smooth bark remains.
What's up with this? Does anyone know what is causing this? Too much moisture? How to fix the bark problem?