Grey branches on 1st year dwarf maple

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Brianconley, May 2, 2022.

  1. Brianconley

    Brianconley New Member

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    My wife and I bought a dwarf Japanese maple last year and this was its first winter. We live in the Eastern portion of Washington state. Some of the branches appear to be a light gray and some of them are the maroon color associated with Japanese maples. I don’t see leaf buds yet but have noticed what appears to be a split on the southeast side of the tree. I’ve done some reading on this. Should I bind the trunk or monitor it as we get into the warmer part of spring? I have pictures but there appears to be no way of attaching them to this correspondence.
     

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good morning Brian and welcome to the maples forum. Regarding your question, first of all the grey you mention is dead branches. If you use your fingernail and scrape back along one of the branches you will see brown underneath the bark. This will tell you it's dead. These branches need to be removed. Weeping Japanese maples that get no light inside are very prone to this due to being dense. So take all this out. Your second problem is the splitting of the bark. Again this can and does happen to maples, there are lots of theories why, but I have found it is from rapid growth and a lack of water. Others may disagree. All the loose bark should be removed to stop moisture getting underneath and causing rot. Now it is important NOT to remove the bark all the way around, otherwise anything above that area will die. Do NOT bind the trunk, let it heal underneath on it's own. I would also remove the weeds and soil from around the base . No soil to touch the trunk !!
    I have linked a file to show you how to attach photos .
    Attach photos and files
    I would like to see the Spring photos to gauge more on the health of your tree.
    Hope this is of help.
     
    AlainK likes this.
  3. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I can see the pictures so something must have happened in the meantime to make them visible. However, sadly it is not good news.

    The orange spots visible on the lower trunk look like evidence of Nectria canker or Nectria die-back or similar fungus. The bark and cambium appears dead around approximately 50% of the circumpherence of the tree in this area also. If it was a branch you could prune it out but as it is the main trunk I doubt this tree is salvageable. You should also at least be seeing leaf buds by this time of year, so the fact you are not suggests the tree may already be dead. As suggested above you can check the twigs and branches for signs of life below the surface, but from the pictures it does not look hopeful.
     
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I agree M, have just seen the photos. Nectria canker. It is looking a very unhappy tree, but I'm hoping when Brian posts more photos, there might be something we can advise that might give a little encouragement.
     
    maf likes this.

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