Q. We have a large sycamore tree in our yard. Every summer it sheds its bark over a few weeks’ time. I think as it grows it is growing new bark and losing the old bark. Am I correct? – J.C., Walton, Ind.
A. You’re on the right track. Peeling bark is normal, and is a key ornamental characteristic for a sycamore, also known as American planetree. The bark starts out a bit gray-brown and as the bark matures, the outer layer peels off in large sheets to reveal a lighter-colored, creamy, off-white inner layer. The result appears a bit like a camouflage pattern. No need to worry – the tree is not harmed by the peeling bark.