60-70 Year old Norwegian Maple dying- can I do anything?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by thesame2me, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. thesame2me

    thesame2me New Member

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    Provo, Utah
    So my wife and I bought a house that was built in the early 40's. When it was built, Norwegian maples lined (and shaded) the street. Now 70 years later this beautiful tree is dying. Granted, it was dying when I bought the house 3 years ago, but now it is even more dying. This tree has probably been through a lot; before we bought the house renters had lived in it (and not taken care of it) for 25+ years. I have branches dying every spring. This last winter I actually had a large branch snap off (coldest winter in 30 years) The main trunk is still alive. Last summer I dug a 5 foot space around the trunk and watered it with a drip line most of the time. I think that lack of water may have been a longstanding problem because of the renters.

    I just want to know if there is any saving it, or if its even worth saving. It is the only shade the house gets and lowers the temperature of the house by about 10 degrees (no A/C!!!) so I would really like it to live.

    can I do anything?

  2. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Larchmont Z7, NY, USA
    When we moved in 12 years ago, the street was lined with Norway Maples probably planted in the late 20's. They are all gone now, every one. One fell on the neighbor's car in a storm, others were in decline generally and needed to be removed. I had my last one, next to the driveway, cut last year after it dropped some large limbs in a moderate storm, and I took care of it yearly. They can be lovely trees, but were not well suited to be street trees. I'd guess that most of ours were girdled, and not in great shape. That said, I've seen some beauties, but they can be rather invasive, too, at least here. Best to deal with the issues, I did, and then if it needs to be removed, then replace it with something better. I see street tree planting as legacy work...
  3. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Normandie, France
    A picture might help to say whether the tree can be saved, but I'd tend to agree that at 70, if it's really declining, it might be better to look at a replacement. If you do replace it, it would be a good idea to avoid the same species which, although a beautiful tree, is both invasive and over planted. The beautiful (and related) Caucasian maple A. cappidocicum should do well in your area, or one of the fast growing Freeman maples (more easily available). The Purpleblow or Shantung maple, A. truncatum, has several cultivars available in the US that are suitable as street trees, resist heat very well and have fine fall color.

    It seems unlikely to me that the tree is having trouble getting water at this age, unless something has happened. Has the sidewalk been redone or some other digging (gas or sewer network)? Or maybe it has become root girdled with age. Otherwise, there may be another culprit.

    If you want to spend to find out, the best thing to do would be to have a qualified local arborist in to evaluate the tree. At the very least you will want to cut out the dead wood (have it done professionally if you don't know what you're doing) so the tree is safe. But a local expert will be able to give you better advice than anyone who hasn't seen the tree in person.

    Good luck,


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