Identification: Japanese maple dead branches and discolored bark

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Kirk J, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. Kirk J

    Kirk J New Member

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    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    Love the forum. We just moved into our home in Fort Worth, TX where we have a beautiful Japanese Maple situated on our North wall. It is well established, with large, strong roots, gets partial sunlight in the AM, full sunlight in heat of day, and gets some evening shade.

    We noticed a few weeks back that one branch's leaves curled up and never opened fully. Meanwhile, dead branches seem to be propagating at an alarming rate, with nearly 1/3 of the established branches bare and showing signs of the bark growth/deterioration you see in the pictures below.

    We have had a much wetter summer than this region is accustomed to - with numerous June/July/August rainfalls when it typically receives a handful.

    I've read many sites, including this site's Maple Bark Problems thread. Unfortunately, what I can deduce is inconclusive. Please help with any solid advice or observations. Photos are embedded below. We really don't want to lose this beauty!
     

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  2. 0soyoung

    0soyoung New Member

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    Location:
    Anacortes, WA
    This looks to me like the tree was very dry several years ago and has 'tried to make a comeback'. Given your description of its location, I speculate that other trees/shrubbery that had shaded its trunk and larger branches was removed. Then the combination of too little water and scorching mid-day sun killed the cambium all up and down the sunny 'side' of the tree. Possibly the previous owners took note of this a little late but nevertheless better tended to it so that over the following several seasons, it started regrowing on the damaged sunny side. As this progresses/progressed, the old bark is lifted and begins to flake off revealing what I think I see in your pix.

    I don't know that there is much that you can do other than remove the dead branches and continue the long process of regenerating your tree OR take it out and replace it. The situation you describe isn't the best for a Japanese maple in Ft. Worth. A shadier location with only morning sun would be better. Nevertheless, this tree has survived for some time where it is.

    And, then again I may well have misdiagnosed what is going on and what has happened to it - just dunno. Sorry
     
  3. Kirk J

    Kirk J New Member

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    Thanks, Osoyoung. The only reason I question if it was previous season scorch is that one of the two large branches that's bare, wasn't before. My wife and I swear that's more recent, but we can't be 100%. The other concern is in photo 0910. I've never seen this orange scabbing. It's almost fungal looking.
     
  4. emery

    emery Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Location:
    Normandie, France
    Almost, but not! :) It is definitely bark regrowing and regenerating.

    I think @Osoyoung is on the right track, certainly there has been bark damage and recovery. I see no sign of disease or fungus, but I don't know much about growing under your conditions, so can't offer much else.
     

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