peeling bark

I have a small Trident maple tree in my back yard that the bark doesn't look that good. It's about 2 1/2 yrs old and not growing much, on the bark it has grayish greenish small circles and the bottom of the tree the is peeling. Should I remove it or nurse it? Thank You Francine Z in Effingham, SC
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

The grayish green circles on the trunk sound like they must be lichens, which are nothing to worry about. Lichens naturally grow on trees and rocks, and cause no harm.
The peeling, splitting bark at the base of the tree could be a matter for concern. Maples have thin bark, and often suffer from sunscald over winter until their bark becomes thick an woody. If the damaged area is less than 1/4 the way around the tree, the tree likely will recover with no long-term consequences. If the damage extends more than half way around the tree, it may permanently be stunted, and it might be advisable to remove it. (Or cut it back and let it sprout from below the damaged section.)

To prevent sunscald, wrap the trunk of the tree over winter with kraft paper tree wrap until it forms thick bark.

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