The unusually cold weather that has swept over North America this previous winter has brought with it an unfortunate phenomenon. “Radial shakes”, “ray shakes”, “spider hearts”, “freeze cracks”, or “frost cracks” are caused by extreme cold (or intense damage in general) and usually inflict very small or thin-thrunked trees. Fast growing trees, such as specific variety of oak and sycamores, that have been wounded are vulnerable even when fully mature.
Unfortunately, not a great deal can be done to prevent these injuries from occuring. Since they are caused primarily by environmental factor, the best action to take is to occasionally check trees after stressful periods for damage. Trees that appear heavily damaged should be removed as to avoid possible injury.
- McCoppin, Robert, Alexandra Chachkevitch, and Michelle Manchir. “Trees Can Be Deep-freeze Casualties.” Chicago Tribune [Chicago] 19 Jan. 2014: 4. Print.