Can anyone identify this?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by chris saul, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. chris saul

    chris saul New Member

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    I have a 35 ft Burgundy Acer in my front garden that is beautiful and in the last year or two I’ve noticed this horrible looking fungus lurking around the roots and it seemingly damaging the tree.
    The tree Also has a horrible fungus growing on the bark and the leaves are wilting and looking very damaged? Can anyone identify the fungus and let me know how I can remove it if doing any damage?
     

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  2. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    @Frog, this was posted in the Fungus forum, as I thought the Maples people might have something to say. Could you have a look too from the fungus perspective? Thanks.
     
  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @chris saul, good morning Chris and welcome to the maples forum.
    I believe this is Lichen, I cannot identify it and will leave it to @Frog to do so, but IMO it is not this that is causing the problem with your tree.
    The presence of lichen is very often a sign that a tree is lacking vigour, diseased or indeed dying.
    If it was me, as it is a very large tree, I would consider bringing in a tree surgeon asap.
    In your final photo I see the start of cracking on the lower left limb which could mean it will soon break off. This could cause danger to anybody walking or playing near it.
    Others on the forum may have other opinions, but I would consider safety paramount first of all.
    I'm sorry I don't have good news for you Chris, but as I said it is my opinion.
     
  4. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Chris

    Photos 1-4 are of a lichen, a Peltigera or Pelt lichen. Most of this group are not arboreal. These are not harmful at all. And as terrestrials, they are also not warning signs of any issues causing disappearing foliage. They are a fascinating group of lichens and much more attractive when wet.

    I see damaged leaves in photo 5 and photo 6 is mainly moss, perhaps a bit of lichen. Again lichen is not harmful. Increased growth can be a sign that there is more sun / less foliage so sometimes a useful alert.

    Some Acers have happy associations with moss, like big leaf maple in BC, but I don’t have much info on the moss side of things.
     
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  5. chris saul

    chris saul New Member

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    Thank you all so so much, that has been super helpful as a layman I didn’t even know where to start.

    I guess the question is, what is damaging the tree to weaken it and allow the moss invasion.
    The leaves on the lower 1/3 are perfect. And the Acer gets more sparse the further you go up....almost every leaf growing on the top 1/3 is wilted and dried up. My thinking is - could water be struggling to get up there and how does that happen. I’ve broken up soil nearby the tree and filled with plenty water for the last 3 days and it’s not changed anything.

    Could the roots be getting strangled by nearby bigger trees.....could it be a fair idea to cut staggered triangles in areas out of the soil about a foot deep, add 1inch of sand or grit and put new nutritious soil on the top and hope that may encourage new root growth?

    is there anything I can spray on the bark to remove some of the moss to see if that is making a difference?

    again, thank you all for your time and generosity with your advice....I would be devastated to bring it down.
     
  6. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Indeed as others have said, it's harmless lichen. Just to clarify, lichen is not a sign of lack of vigor on the main trunk; it's a sign of clean air mostly, or seems to thrive in certain prevailing winds. When you see the twigs of a maple clogged up with lichen, it is indeed a sign of trouble: not because of the lichen itself, but because the maple is not outgrowing the installation.

    Most people like the look of lichens and mosses on tree trunks, I know I do. If you don't, there are various chemicals which will get rid of it, I believe. What's legal varies by country, I don't know if you're in Manchester NH, or Manchester, England, or some other Manchester. If England maybe @Acerholic has a rec for a product, but for a 35ft tree you may need a lot of it.

    Is this a Norway maple, maybe? I can't tell from the picture, but in any case it's unlikely that any maple of this size is being "strangled" except perhaps by it's own roots. I don't think your idea will do anything but damage it further, as maples are surface rooting by and large, but if you can give us some pictures of: leaves; the base of the tree; the tree in it's environment, that might help us to advise you. There may be water competition if it's packed in with other stuff, but it ought to be really well established at that size, you won't need to worry about keeping the base clear generally, but as it's struggling it wouldn't hurt.

    Are there any other mushrooms (i.e. Armillaria) growing near or in the base?

    best, -E
     
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  7. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @chris saul, OK Chris, first of all your lichen is not protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. I do hope you are in Manchester England as I say this.
    Next, Dog lichen is prevalent in areas that are compacted, this is now possibly the clue to your trees demise. If the area has become compacted over the years then water, oxygen and nutrients will not get to the roots efficiently and so not be transported up the tree. I will not go into the correct terminology at this time.
    I have copied a link that I think you will find interesting to watch, it is from Kew and by the BBC.
    The ancient oak tree that taught the world a lesson.
    There are people in the UK who can carry out the remedial work that this entails. It is specialist and you would need a quote. Using a fork, spreading compost, or top soil etc is not going to achieve much if anything IMO.
    As far as the moss on your tree, this is natural, especially on North facing bark. It's how people used to find their way around. ie North or South etc etc.
    As far as the lichen is concerned, I personally like it. It gives a natural woodland look that I really enjoy. But it is your garden and once the soil area is improved it will gradually disappear. You can indeed remove it before any treatments.

    Hope this is of a little more help.
     
  8. chris saul

    chris saul New Member

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    Yes I’m in north Manchester, England. You are all fascinating and yes the moss is facing the north haha. I never knew that.

    I can’t begin to thank you all enough. I’m happy to leave the moss as long as it’s not killing the tree. As you can imagine from a laymen, all of a sudden seeing the explosion of moss growth over 18 months at the same times as the trees demise you’d naturally connect these two dots.

    what type of professional would you recommend. To start my search. What should I ask them and is there anything else I can do myself to get it moving in the right direction and see if there are any mild improvements?
     
  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @chris saul, have a look at this link Chris, it is not near you but gives you an idea of what to look for.
    Stump Grinding & Tree Planting | Air Spading | Decompaction in Surrey

    I also dealt a lot with the Woodland Trust in my career and they are 'very helpful' with regards to pointing you in the direction of particular contractors. They won't reccomend for obvious reasons. Afraid I'm not aware of Manchester contractors to carry this out.

    Hope this has been of help to you.
     

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