How to Peel Bark Off an Oak Tree

Removing the bark from your oak tree is a quick way to enhance your landscaping. A trunk with stripped bark makes the tree look older and weathered. It can also add additional colouring to your garden, since the layer of trunk underneath the bark is usually a different colour than the bark itself. In some cases, the loss of bark signifies disease or problems with the health of the tree, but removing the bark yourself in small amounts will not harm the tree.

Put on gardening gloves to protect your hands from sharp areas and splinters. Peel the bark off by hand, as using a tool can rip into the meat of the trunk underneath the bark and damage the tree.

Locate a loose section of bark by pressing various sections with your fingertips. Find an area that gives way slightly when you press it down and look for a split in the bark to use as a finger hold.

Put your index finger into the split in the bark and wiggle it to loosen the bark further. Using all of the fingers on your hand, begin to peel the loose bark off in sheets. Do not remove too much, or the tree may become susceptible to diseases.

Discard the bark in a compost pile, toss it out with your other yard waste or simply leave it on the ground underneath the tree. Bark that is left in nature will most likely be used as a nesting material by birds or squirrels.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
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About the Author

Amanda Hevener has been a freelance writer and photographer since 2006. She is a member of the Akron Press Club. Her writing has appeared on SeededBuzz,, Baseball Fandom and Deep Left Field. She reviews restaurants for AltOhio and other websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Ashland University.