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I did some research on the internet about my red maple. From what I can tell my tree is suffering from sun scald. It said to put white tape or something on it. But can't you paint a tree? I see trees that the bottoms are painted white. I was just wondering what kind of paint you should use?
Is is a japanese maple? They tend to like some shade. I never heard of putting tape on a tree...hmm.
It is a Crimson King Red Maple. The bark is coming off at the bottom of it. There is no bugs, no holes, just bark coming off. It looked just like the picture I seen when I looked up sun scald on trees.
I just read a brief article on it and it says wrap it in the fall and unwrap it in the summer for a few years until the bark gets stronger. Is that what you read?

but that's from Colorado.....

But a similar article says the same thing in Wisconsin.

I don't see anything about painting. I remember when I was a kid my granny put white shoe polish on one of hers for bugs of some sort but that may have been an old wives tale - who knows.

I have no real answers obviously but I hope those articles help
How old is the tree and where is it located in the garden (full sun, partial sun, shade)?
Blistering occures in the winter months with the freeze thaw cycle.
The sap freezes and expands lifting the bark!
It is usually too late to do anything to help the tree when this happens
Most japanese type maples need to be planted in sheltered areas to protect them from the prevailing winds (which tend to be different depending upon where one lives)
Never plant a JM on the south side of a house, or structure like a garage.

Sorry to say that the damage is done and there is nothing you can do. Using a white latex paint will not make any difference.

It the tree leafing out? If so, are there any branches not leafing out?
It's not a Jap Maple that one is doing fine and growing really good. The one I am having problems with this year is a regular red maple (Crimson King). It is in full sun and all the branches are budding out. The tree we put in there about 4 years ago. We bought it at a nursery and it was about 6 feet tall then. Now it is about 10 or 12 or way over my head LOL. The spot on my tree isn't very big but want to make sure I don't let it get any bigger. It is probably about 5 inches in diameter.
Most gardeners I know usually have problems with their JMs! It's rare that regular maple having this kind of damage.
How close to the ground is the wound?
All you can do is to remove the damaged bark back to good bark! Use a sharp pruning knife to cut/trim the damaged bark off. As you trim check for any insect activity, you will know if you see any!
Let the area dry on its own; do not apply anything to the wound.
It will close up as the new bark surrounding the damage will eventually grow over the damage.
Well a couple of years ago I was having a problem with my JM. It would leaf out then the leaves would die and fall off in early summer. Then one day I went to Lowes and seen the mulch mats they had and bought several of them to go around my trees. Every since I put the mulch mat around the JM I didn't have that problem any more. After I had the mulch mat around it I had read somewhere that you had to keep the roots cool and moist. DUH!

As far as my regular Maple the damage is about an inch from the ground. I already removed the damaged bark looking for insects and didn't find anything. It is only on one side of the tree and it is the south side. Not sure if that makes a difference. I really appreciate every ones help on this! Thanks everyone!
Ron's diagnosis and advice is good. Follow it. And yes it is by far most common for this type of injury to occur on the south facing side of the stem. That is the side heated by the sun in winter and where the repeated freeze/thaw cycle occurs.

Young red maples have thin bark and are occasionally prone to this malady. I have seen it extend as a thin crack in the bark well up the trunk some times. As the bark thickens, it will abate. The tape referred to is a crepe paper type of tape that is available in many garden centers. It is not sticky and is simply wrapped around the tree. The instructions to wrap in winter and remove in summer are correct. Painting in white with latex paint has the same effect. The white color reflects the sun light so less of the energy is absorbed by the bark and thawing is greatly reduced. Remember, it is the repeated freeze and thaw that does the damage, not the freezing it self.

At this point, while injury has already occured, I think I would consider using the tape or paint for the next couple of winters to prevent recurrence or exacerbating the current injury.
Around here they use white cheese cloth to wrap the trunks.
Using white paint is just doesn't look all that natural, but it does work!
I prefer the cheese cloth, using it in late October, once the leaves fall, and removing it in late March/early April! You can use a safty pin to keep it in place.
Thanks like the cheese cloth idea. Will probably go that direction. Thanks for all your help Ron and everyone else! Theresa :) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to