Q: I've noticed that there seems to be so much bark on the sidewalks. I
assume the heat wave has made the bark come off early.
What effects will
this have on the trees - if any?
Sycamores and planetrees are infamous for having large plates or sheets of
bark fall off every year, and the amount will vary from year to year.
bark exfoliates because the tree (branches and trunk alike) increases in
diameter faster that the tree can keep up with, so as the tree increases in
diameter, the bark gets shed.
The extra bark shed this year may in fact be due to the dry weather. The
connection between the dead outer bark and the underlying periderm layer may
have been broken, so the bark is falling off at a greater pace.
speaking, this is not a problem for the tree -- it is mainly a problem for
the tree's owner who has to rake up all the fallen bark!