All the leaves on our maple suddenly went brown, is it dead?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by MaxF, Sep 23, 2021.

Tags:
  1. MaxF

    MaxF New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nanaimo, bc
    Hi, any help on this would be super great. I'll explain and if pictures are needed I can put them up too, but I've been quite depressed about our tree and reluctant to document it.

    We planted a Maple in our yard a few years ago, maybe 4 or 5 now, it was of decent age when we planted it, so maybe 8 to 10 years old? It seemed to do really well compared to all the trees we planted for a few years. The tree also seemed to be going for broke this year and appeared to grow much more rapidly than previous years. However; this year, around mid august I think, all the leaves on the tree suddenly went brown. It happened quite fast. I remember noticing a single yellow leaf first, then the next thing I knew it was just brown all over. We had written it off as sudden death and attributed it to the nearly 40C summer heatwave we had for several days in July. As summer wore on it started to sprout leaves along the main trunk and up in some branches. Now looking at it as September gets on some branches are starting to look brown and dead. Little leaves are still sprouting and some parts look healthy and promising but other parts, like the main leader at the top look like they have already died.

    Is this tree going to come back next year? It's quite large for it's age, but still manageable for us to trim and we wonder if we should take it down and replace it, trim the dead wood or leave it? Any help would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,075
    Likes Received:
    1,017
    Location:
    Nanoose Bay, BC Canada
    Hello, @MaxF and welcome to the UBC BG Forum. I certainly do empathize with you on the apparent loss of your prized maple but there may be reason to be optimistic.

    Here are a few thoughts:
    1. Knowing the name of the maple and seeing 2 or 3 photos including close-ups of the branches would be a big help.
    2. What kind of a watering regimen did you have in place for the tree this summer?
    3. Are the branches really dead or only the leaves? A good way to find out if the branches are dead is to scrape away a small strip of the bark with your fingernail or a knife to see if the cambium layer (right under the bark) is green. If it is, the branches are still alive and should produce fresh new leaves next spring. Check several branches and the trunk to be sure.

    I would suggest giving your maple a thorough watering except for 2 things - the watering restrictions still in place and also the fact that lots of rain is in the forecast. Still, if you suspect it may not have been getting enough water, try to address that if you are able.

    In my garden, not too far north of Nanaimo, quite a few trees have lost all their leaves early this year so, hopefully, yours is doing the same because of the harsh summer conditions.
     
  3. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    193
    Location:
    Anacortes, WA
    Unfortunately, it is just like the timing and effects of nectria canker - if so, you will observe little orange 'thingies' (fruiting bodies) at or below the lowest branches. If this was but a few branches, the tree could possibly be saved.

    Of course, this disease is not the only possible explanation. It is extremely odd for this to show up on an established tree unless you did as I have done - unwittingly propagated it from a newly acquired infected tree by failing to sanitize your pruning/cutting tool(s).
     
  4. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,075
    Likes Received:
    1,017
    Location:
    Nanoose Bay, BC Canada
    Seems a bit of a leap to me, @Osoyoung, to suggest such a serious diagnosis before getting answers to a few basic questions.
     
  5. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    263
    Location:
    Estonia
    Maple's cambium should never be green. The green stuff under the bark (cork) is actually inner layer of the bark - a phloem.

    Instead of scraping the bark I recommend you to start cutting those damaged branches away, step by step starting from tip or from where they look obviously dead and moving towards the trunk, until healthy tissues appear. Such sudden drying suggests serious disease, so better cut infected parts off ASAP. If there is not much to remain, then your maple is probably a goner,
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2021
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    12,595
    Likes Received:
    8,729
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    Good evening Max. If I can add that there does seem to be a lot of trees this year that are exhibiting the same problems. I believe it is envoirmental and that they will recover over the Winter and be fine next Spring. I would remove any obvious dead branches, but that is it. Do look for any obvious signs of new buds forming. They maybe small, but if there, then I believe your tree will be fine.
    A good watering regime next Spring when it starts putting out new leaves is my reccomendation. What you do or don't do in the Spring always shows up later in the Summer.
    I would definatly check branches tbat you are suspicious of by doing the fingernail test. If brown underneath then a high chance that you have a dead branch, but if there is green then it will be fine.

    D
     
    Margot likes this.
  7. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,654
    Likes Received:
    538
    Location:
    Northamptonshire, England
    @MaxF please post some pictures. While all the advice dispensed above is good in a general way, we haven't seen the specific damage and we don't even know what species of maple we are talking about...
     
    AlainK, opusoculi and Margot like this.

Share This Page