i have a possum problem & wonder if it’s the cause of my very old nectarine tree’s bark cracking & falling off? Or whether she’s just too old & should be replaced.
It doesn’t bare much fruit as most of the limbs have died & it has a kind of moss growing on branches.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Before I tag some of our resident horticulturalists to assist, I reckon it might help if you shared some more detail if you can. Perhaps your best guess of the age of the tree, where you are based, what kind of soil you have, and perhaps also the weather conditions since the problem started.
So the tree was planted before 1960, in Westbury, Tasmania. The soil type is free draining, no organic matter or fertiliser. Tests around about pH 6 (for memory). Weather conditions are dry in summer to infrequent downpours. Was very rarely watered, just left to its own devices, getting water from the lawns around it being watered with a sprinkler.
Dad purchased the property in the early 1960’s. Neither Mum or Dad had been too heavily into fertilising or adding any organic matter to garden beds as far as I’m aware. Although the tree isn’t “in” a garden bed, but planted in amongst the lawn.
They sold in 1986, & I started renting in 2016. So there are many years of unknowns in between.
When a tree's bark dries, cracks and peels off like that to expose very dry looking / dead wood beneath, unfortunately it's curtains for the tree.
The growth ring or sapwood of a tree, which carries moisture and nutrients around the tree, occurs directly under the bark. In your photo, there is no sign of healthy green tissue - just the older wood that would normally be under the growth ring. You've said the top branches are dead? That tells me that probably the whole tree is dead and will eventually just rot away.
Best to remove it before that happens. It's caused by age and neglect - not possums. Possums may chew the bark from living trees to expose the green wood beneath but they are seldom interested in stuff that's already dead!
Thx @Noelle , I kinda thought it has had its day. But I also thought maybe the possums running up the trunk with those sharp claws might have helped or contributed to it coming off.
Thx for your advice