This is another edition of "Remember When?" Last fall I posted this article about the bark on my crabapple tree. Here's a new pic, with bark woe enhanced by fresh water (read on about that). You can really see the splits when the bark is wet:
Well, I think I figured out why we got bark splits. Remember that it wasn't insects, and it wasn't because of winter freezing and ice buildup. The foliage and fruit seem unaffected by this. The tree has always leaned (planted by previous owner) and is secure in the ground. I wondered if it was too much moisture. And it is. "Here's what's happened." (For you Monk fans.)
A few years ago, when we went on a long vacation in the middle of summer, DH and I adjusted the sprinklers to water beyond what they normally did, because it was very dry, and so that the potted vegs and flowers could be placed just so and be watered while we weren't there. When we got back, they didn't get readjusted. The following spring, some of them did. Except for two. Which hit the tree. One hits it halfway up! I know, right?!
DH likes to water the lawn at 4:30 am. (Let's not get started on that discussion, please.) I'm usually in bed, trying to fall back asleep at that time. This week, I asked him to start it later (6 am). The backyard zones disperse at about 7:30 (yup, really big lawn, ten zones), so I have seen two days of the tree getting doused too much in the wrong places. This explains why the tree is damaged on all sides, and why the branches are damaged, too, not just the trunk. There is no splitting above where the water hits.
So tonight we adjust the sprinkler heads, again. This should prevent further damage, but I'm not sure how to fix the current situation. Any suggestions? Should we wrap it?