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How to Use Tree Wrap for Damaged Bark

A wounded tree is susceptible to disease, pest attacks, and discoloration and decay of the wood. These could all result in the death of your tree if left untreated.

Tree wrap for damaged bark helps treat bark by allowing the tree time to heal before it is exposed to the elements. Keep reading to learn how to use a tree wrap for damaged bark.

tree wrap for damaged bark

Using Tree Wrap for Damaged Bark

Tree wrap can help heal damaged bark by protecting it from further damage caused by the elements, pests, or lawncare implements.

The wrap allows the tree to focus on healing the area without any further damage slowing things down. Proper care of a wounded tree is vital to limiting the progression of decay. Once a tree begins to decay, it’s very difficult to save.

When to Use

The best time to use tree wrap for damaged bark is in the fall when your tree begins to slow its growth.

Trees that benefit from being wrapped when the bark is injured include maple, ginkgo, redbud, crabapple, and linden trees.

In cold months wrapping your trees will keep wildlife, like deer, from stripping the bark. Sunscald is also an issue in the winter, which tree wrap can help prevent when used properly.

When Not to Use

Tree wrap should not be used for long periods because it gives pests a place to hide and causes further damage to the bark of the tree.

You should not wrap a tree in the summer because it can lock in moisture and cause decay and molding.

Some trees, like bur oak trees, with thick, corky bark, won’t need to be wrapped.

How to Use

Tree wrap is easy to apply, but it is important to follow the instructions carefully so that you don’t leave your tree susceptible to pests and disease.

Before wrapping a tree, you should pull the loose bark from the damaged area. You should do this because loose bark most likely won’t reattach itself to the tree and will just trap moisture inside, which gives mold an easy place to thrive.

Grafting wax should be applied to the damaged bark to seal it off and help prevent mold from forming in the damaged area. Make sure the entire area is coated, including up against the edges of the bark surrounding the wound.

Place the wrap against the wound and hold it in place, or have someone help if you can’t manage it alone. While holding it in place, pull the material around the tree and overlap it at the end so it will stay attached.

Once the tree wrap is held in place, you can continue to wrap it around the tree several times to make sure it is completely sealed off from the elements, and no insects can get inside.

When to Remove

Tree wrap is a very useful tool for caring for your trees, but it can have negative impacts on your trees if you leave it on too long.

It should be removed when the weather starts to warm or no more than two to three months after their application. Before you remove the wrap from your tree, make sure the last frost of the season has passed.

If you are using it to prevent pests from damaging your tree bark, it can be removed when you have resolved the pest issue.

After removing the wrap from the damaged bark, spray the area with bug spray. This will repel pests that may cause further damage to your tree. You can spray the area as needed until the bark has healed.

Common Types of Bark Damage

tree bark repair


Sunscald is a common type of damage to tree bark caused by the location of the sun in the winter months. This is also referred to as the “southwest injury” because it happens so often on the south or southwest side of a tree.

Sunscald is easily identified by the jagged wound it creates along the trunk of a tree. It can take a long time to seal over, so there is a good chance that insects and diseases will infiltrate the wound.

Frost Cracks

Frost cracks happen after sunset, and the bark temperature drops quickly while the inside of the tree remains warm. This results in the splitting of the bark.

This is most common in young trees, and these cracks are usually not as detrimental to the tree’s overall health as sunscald.

Other Damage

Other damage to tree bark can be inflicted on animals such as deer and rabbits. Deer scrape their antlers against trees, damaging the bark. Rabbits gnaw on the bark, damaging large areas and resulting in the death of younger trees.

Tree Wrap Material

Fruit tree wrapped in bandages

There are many materials used for tree wrap, but the most common four you will find are burlap, paper, polypropylene fabric, and corrugated cardboard.

Polypropylene Fabric

Polypropylene fabric is the most commonly used material for tree wrap because it stretches and allows for a secure wrap. This material degrades over time, which prevents it from girdling your tree.

This tree wrap for damaged bark is bright white, so it will be very visible against the bark until the first snow of the winter.


Paper wrap is another commonly used material for tree wraps, considering its versatility. Tree wrap made from paper comprises a few layers of craft paper held together by an asphalt-based adhesive.

Since it is made from paper, this wrap will degrade much faster than polypropylene fabric, so you will have to buy wraps more often.

Corrugated Cardboard

Corrugated cardboard is commonly used to create a tree wrap that is thinner and more flexible than some of the other materials we have discussed today.

Cardboard tree wrap matches the bark of your tree better than other materials, but it will degrade quickly, especially in wet areas. This material is best for areas that don’t see a ton of rain during the winter months.


Burlap material is sometimes used in tree wraps, but not as often as other materials because it’s very messy. You might recognize this material as the same fabric you use to make sacks to wrap the root ball of your trees! It is extremely cheap and easy to find, usually in the craft section of a store.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tree Wrap

tree wound repair

What is tree wrap, and what does it do?

Tree wrap is used to wrap the trunk of a tree. Sometimes it’s used to seal off a tree from the elements to help it heal damaged bark.

Most often, it is used for seasonal protection for young trees. Tree wrap offers a layer of protection to the bark underneath, protecting it from the elements, pests, or diseases that could wreak havoc.

Should I wrap my trees?

Not all trees need to be wrapped. Some benefit from wrapping to protect the bark, while others have thick bark that does not need it.

If you have a young tree, you should wrap it for winter protection for the first few years until it’s established. Once your tree matures, it’s up to your discretion to wrap it if you notice extensive damage to the bark.

Can tree wrap be used for winter protection?

Yes! Tree wrap is most commonly used to protect trees from the harsh temperatures in the winter. It also protects the bark from wildlife, such as deer, from scraping the bark.

Since sunscald is an issue in the winter months, thin-barked trees are most susceptible. These trees benefit from being wrapped for winter protection.

Wrapping around the trunk of a tree during the winter can also prevent damage from de-icing salt, which can burn the tree’s foliage and harm the bark. These injuries can lead to the death of a tree.

Wrapping Up Using Tree Wrap for Damaged Bark

Using tree wrap for damaged bark is a simple process, and it can save your tree from decaying from its injuries.

Tree wrap can be made from many different fabrics and materials, from polypropylene fabric to burlap material. It will provide your tree with protection from the elements, as well as protection from insects or other pests that attack tree bark.

For more information about tree bark, including uses for bark from some trees, check out our guide to the beauty of tree bark.