Originally Posted by windflower
I forget how it happens but that can be caused by too much warmth in winter. Especially if it is only showing up on the sunny side of the tree. If the foliage still looks ok the tree will probably survive.
That is actually known as "Sun Scald" and happens when the bark is extremely cold and a bright sun reflectes off the snow and warms one part of the bark, which expands and splits becuz of tempd differences...
To the OP:
Did the bark peel off all the way around the tree???