Q. I have a six-year-old, multi-trunked mesquite tree with bark that is beginning to peel from the trunk. It started last fall and is getting worse. Otherwise it is a beautiful tree and appears to be healthy but I am concerned I may be losing it. Any suggestions?
A. There are several different kinds of mesquite trees and it is normal among some of these for the bark to peel from the trunk as they get older. In some mesquite trees it is quite distinctive. It would be helpful if you knew which particular mesquite you have so we could determine if this is true of your tree.
However, peeling bark can also indicate a dead area developing underneath this area. You will not hurt any tree by peeling this bark back and looking more closely at the trunk. Inspect the trunk under the bark for possible damage and sap oozing from that location.
It is possible if the tree is watered too often that damage can occur to the trunk or limbs. Frequently damage from overwatering can also cause sap to ooze from the trunk or limbs. This damaged area of the trunk can lead to bark peeling.
If you peel off the bark and you don’t see damage underneath it, then assume it is natural for this tree at this age to have peeling bark and don't be concerned about it.