Japanese Maple bark splitting, oozing sap

Discussion in 'Maples' started by JDowning, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. JDowning

    JDowning New Member

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    Oakland, CA
    maple4.jpg maple1.jpg Help! My mother's Japanese Maple is having some issues. Tree is in Fremont, CA. No harsh Winter or deep freeze....See pictures

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2018
  2. JT1

    JT1 Rising Contributor

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    Euclid, OH USA
    Hi @JDowning and welcome to the forum. It's very kind of you to help your Mom with her Japanese maple.

    Old Japanese maples don't respond well to branch removal, especially when cuts are improperly made. In photo #2 you can see the branch rotted below from the branch collar. Cuts should be closer to the branch collar. Great care should be taken not to crack the remaining bark. Branches should be removed quickly, when dead or diseased, to prevent dying back beyond the branch collar. When using bypass pruners or loppers make sure the face of blade faces the trunk and anvil is on the branch being removed. Pruners or saw must be of high quality, extremely sharp, and sanitized with 92% alcohol.

    This is also a sign of a few other problems:

    The tree is weak. Most likely a combination of drought stress and synthetic fertilizer, (possible glyphosate). The trunk (in photo #3) shows possible stress from weed and feed and or Roundup (glyphosate) or similar product containing glyphosate. (Note: "possible". I don't know the history of this tree, but trunk cracks, shown in photo #3, are a symptom given more weight in a area with very mild winters.) Note about glyphosate. This chemical can become airborne especially in hot climates, so it doesn't need to be applied directly to have an effect. (Near by walkway, patio, or even as far as a neighbor's yard- via heat, wind, and or water runoff). Never use Roundup to create a new bed (a common practice encouraged by many "professionals"). Glyphosate destroys the trees health and imune system. Decline usually does not occur in the same season, it happens slowly over time.

    I recommend you improve the health by using a high quality ORGANIC fertilizer.

    VERY IMPORTANT: Do not use synthetic fertilizer on a stressed tree. You will cause further decline. Synthetic nitrogen is a food source for bacteria pseudomonas, Japanese maples are very prone to especially when stressed. Using a high quality organic fertilizer does not force growth or use up available sugars to turn synthetic nitrogen into a useable form. Also, growth from a synthetic fertilizer is more prone to disease and pest (causing further stress) and is less heat, drought, and cold hardy. Also, roots are dedicated to feeding and other roots are dedicated to water, when everything is in a natural organic form. Whereas synthetic nitrogen is taken up by feeder roots and the roots used to take up water.

    So in simple terms every time the tree goes to take a drink it is forced to grow. That is why you get long leggy growth with synthetic fertilizer.

    This tree needs to use organic forms of food to restore health and close wounds / fight rott. And not forced to grow at the expense of sugars only to stress the tree further and attract pest/disease like in synthetic fertilizer.

    Use corn gluten as a weed preventer every three months to control weeds. Do not use glyphosate!

    Consider vertical mulching to increase oxygen, moisture, and nutrients to the roots to improve health. I can provide more information if interested in vertical mulching (note this is not dumping a mound of mulch around the trunk)

    Keep tree on regular watering schedule, provide about 1" a week during the hottest part of the growing season. Be sure to avoid constant wetting of wounded areas.

    Use a layer of double ground pine bark mulch or pine straw to keep roots cool and retain moisture to about 1.5". Do not mound up around the trunk!
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
    AlainK likes this.
  3. AlainK

    AlainK Well-Known Member Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    nr Orléans, France (E.U.)
    Excellent advice from JT1.
    A message that deserves to be bookmarked.

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