Mend an Oak Tree: Rot, Bruises and Peeling

Like all trees, oak trees are susceptible to a variety of ailments. Use the following guide to see what you can do to keep your oak strong.


Rot occurs when raw wood is exposed to mold and fungi. You can usually spot tree rot around holes with spongy sides. In the past, people would attempt to fill these holes. However, it has since been discovered that the tree can cope with the problem on its own. Eventually, the air around the hole will be dry enough to let the tree's natural defenses take over. Once the rot has dried, you can apply some topical chemicals to help speed the recovery.

Root Rot

There are several forms of root rot that can affect oak trees. Some of them can live in the soil for many years and infect new trees planted to replace old ones that have died. Although root rot is rare, it is often too late to do anything about it once it is discovered.


Pressure and physical attacks can cause bruising in oak trees. The bruises often aren’t always obvious, but they will show up as slight swellings as the sap leaks from damaged capillaries. If the bruising is not severe, it will eventually fade away. Sometimes the pressure of the sap can crack the bark. The bark will subside as the sap leaks away and the crack in the bark will heal itself, although it could result in some scar tissue. The best treatment for bruising is preventative. The tree should be protected against being knocked or hit. If you need to tie anything to the tree, use soft rope with a wide surface area.


An oak tree will often shed its bark when it has been stressed, or damaged by pressure or chemicals. Even though this may look severe, it can usually be treated if the section is small. To treat peeling, cut back the bark to a point that it is still attached to the tree. Then use a very sharp knife to cut the bark back on small strip at a time until there is no gap between the bark and the tree. Do this around the entire peeling area. Make sure you don't leave behind areas where water can collect when you make your cut. Eventually, the tree will produce a callous material to cover the edges you have cut. This material will slowly cover the peeled area over the course of a year or longer.

It may seem like there is little you can do for a sick tree, it is important to remember that most oak trees will recover own their own. The best thing you can do is take action to prevent damage from occuring in the first place.