Help! Esk Sunset "Maple" is dying off!

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Catherine Kieft, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    Hello folks - new here and trying to save a tree we love very much. We have several Eskimo Sunset "maples". All are healthy except one - the oldest. About 15 years with us, about 30 feet tall. Difficult to get photos of die-back, therefore. Healthy this year until about June, but in the last 4 /5 weeks, leaves have "dried up" and have fallen. Started at bottom branches, closest to trunk, now about 2/3 of tree is failing...top still vibrant. Last year we lost a 40 foot/15 year old golden frisia locust in much the same way. That tree was about 50 feet away from this one that's ailing now, but there are many trees between them which have not suffered/are not suffering. No obvious signs of changing colour of leaves or bark, no obvious signs of infestation/damage to leaves before they crisp up, no change in planting around/close to the failing tree, nor any of its general circumstances over the past 15 years. There are "new shoots" on some of the denuded branches. Have read notes here about verticillium and maple petiole borer (no signs). Maybe we can't save this one, but we'd like to save the others if this is a "spreading" disease. We have also noted "fried" leaves on several other younger, smaller maples of different varieties we have on our acreage....none of them close to each other. Can anyone help? Thanks :-)
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    5,635
    Likes Received:
    3,389
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    @Catherine Kieft, good evening Catherine and welcome to the maples forum.
    I'm afraid IMO it is looking like Verticullum wilt. This is a soil borne fungus that can spread to other susceptible trees and plants.
    There is no cure once a tree has this. You can check to see if it does have Verticulum wilt by cutting a dead branch and looking at the cross section. If it has a dark brown ring, then this is the evidence that it indeed has Verticullum wilt. What it does is clogs the xylem, this is the vascular tissue that transports water and minerals etc to the rest of the tree. If blocked the tree dies, sometimes over a couple of years.
    The only option IMO is sadly to remove this tree if Verticullum wilt is diagnosed.
    Do not replant any susceptible tree back in its place as this fungus can stay in the soil for decades.
    If you want to get a second opinion, then I would advise you to do so.
    Others may have other opinions on this, but this is what I think you are looking at.
     
    Catherine Kieft likes this.
  3. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    Thanks for this - we'll take a branch off to check the cross section, and I'll return here, if I may, when we have a little more insight. Meanwhile, I'll read up on verticullum wilt as best I can. C
     
  4. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    Hello again Acerholic - now have attached photos of two ends of a section cut from a branch; this is one of the branches that has lost all its leaves. No dark rings visible. (The slight discolouration is from the saw.) Worth mentioning here that we haven't planted anything near this tree for probably ten years, so no new soil has been introduced close to it. I am having difficulty in finding detailed information about how verticullum wilt arises and spreads other than via the introduction of infected soil from "elsewhere" - which (unless dropped by birds) hasn't happened here. Also, as you said, Acerholic, every source I can find cites the dark ring within an infected branch as a symptom. *sigh*
     

    Attached Files:

  5. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    117
    Location:
    Anacortes, WA
    IMHO, verticillium leads to leaves suddenly desiccating and NOT dropping. New shoots will not pop from a branch infected (or above the infected point on a branch/trunk) with verticillium. In other words, verticillium is not indicated.

    I refer you to the "JM with some curled leaves on different twigs" thread.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
    Catherine Kieft likes this.
  6. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    Thanks for directing me to that thread, which I read with interest. There is clearly a huge amount of knowledge residing within this community, and I am an enthusiastic rather than knowledgeable gardener! I could see in the referred thread that there were "odd leaves" curling and dying, but for us it's about 2/3rds of a 30 foot tree that's dried, curled, dropped...but, as you see, there are "healthy" branches and there are signs of shoots on some branches (I can't see very far up the tree!). It's not a young tree in a pot, and there can't be breakage-type damage to each branch affected (too many) which are all far from being "twigs". On past occasions we've seen other of our sunset maples get "sunburned" - when young leaves get fried a bit at the edges, maybe curl, and fall - but this is not that; it's too widespread, and the "sunburn" tends to be restricted to the young leaves at the ends of the branches, not those nestling deep in the growth close to the trunk...which is where this began. No mildew type powdery coating to be seen; no visible pests or effects of pests (holes, nibble marks etc.); not close to an area that's been unusually wet, or dry, this year; no wilting of the growth joining the leaf to the branch; no gradual change in leaf colour (though sunset maples have a lot of colours to start with) just goes brown and scrunches up. Went from - "Oh dear, that one might have a bit of sunburn" to "Oh my goodness, half the leave shave gone" within about 4 weeks.
     
  7. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    5,635
    Likes Received:
    3,389
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    @Catherine Kieft, good morning Catherine, that is good news you have eliminated Verticullum wilt. There is a problem with the uptake of water, nutrients and oxygen though IMO.
    Can I ask about the ground around your trees. Do you have grass up to the trunks? Is the soil open around the drip area. Over the years has there been a lot of foot traffic around this tree?
    Can you post some photos of this please? There is another theory, but I will not go into it until we can see what is beneath your trees.
     
    Catherine Kieft likes this.
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,178
    Likes Received:
    319
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    On another subject variety name is 'Esk Sunset' after the Esk Valley in New Zealand.
     
    Catherine Kieft likes this.
  9. Margot

    Margot Contributor

    Messages:
    1,116
    Likes Received:
    381
    Location:
    Nanoose Bay, BC Canada
    'Esk Sunset' would certainly be more acceptable than 'Eskimo Sunset' in these times when many racially charged names are being questioned and abandoned.
     
    Catherine Kieft likes this.
  10. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    5,635
    Likes Received:
    3,389
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    @Catherine Kieft, as per last post by @Margot , I can change the thread title for you you to Esk, so as not to upset anyone ?
     
    Catherine Kieft likes this.
  11. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,379
    Likes Received:
    918
    Location:
    Normandie, France
    'Esk Sunset', indeed. Someone decided "eskimo" was more marketable, we've lived with it ever since...

    It's an interesting case. This cultivar is not the toughest of sycamores, but still a sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and so a tough tree when established.

    I would be interested to know about the weather this winter and into the spring in your location, @Catherine Kieft , sorry I don't know where Maple Ridge is. Have you had a warm winter with lots of rain, and in spring? I'm thinking of some sort of Phytophthora in the soil, which might explain the nearby locust. Or no rain and tons of sun? Sometimes in a severe drought a sycamore will shed its leaves. I don't think any issues like soil compaction could cause a mature tree to suddenly fail in this fashion, but has there been work (like sewer lines, etc) that might have cut or weakened the root system? Any signs of fungus in the soil or dead wood near the base, coral spot, etc? Normally this wouldn't lead to sudden failure either, but trying to rule things out.

    Have any lower branches started to put out replacement buds? (I mean, where are the new shoots forming?) These could take 6 weeks to appear, and may not open this year due to the late date (might be better if they don't). Are the lower branches out towards the twigs desiccated, that is when you scratch them is there brown, or green? How about further down the branch? In your picture, the cambium looks green, but it's a little difficult to see.

    Following with interest, hopefully we can come up with some ideas for a diagnosis. Best, -E
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
    Catherine Kieft and AlainK like this.
  12. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    Thanks, Acerholic - that would be good, but I don't know how to do it myself. Thanks
     
  13. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    5,635
    Likes Received:
    3,389
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    Catherine Kieft likes this.
  14. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    Some replies to several questions (this is before we have had a chance to get the ladders out again to scratch-check the branches): there is no foot traffic around the tree as it sits in a bed, and there's no grass around it at all - also no new planting around it nor disturbance of roots for any reason, but I couldn't say the soil around the drip line is "open" - it's hosting a variety of plants (rhododendrons, hibiscus, crocosmia, hostas etc.) and planted next to it is a mature cryptomeria japonica (about 25 feet tall, and 100% healthy). Our "recent" weather (past 2 years): we're in the south west corner of British Columbia, and the past couple of years have been "average" in terms of rain and temperature...but not necessarily in "average" ways eg: much wetter periods and much hotter/dryer periods, but averaging out overall. No recent drought, but no recent inundation of this area either (not an especially wet/damp spot). No sign of dead wood at the base, and no sign of coral spot fungus. Am going to check "where exactly" the buds are appearing, and will do scratch tests today, too. Thanks for all this direction and help - this is fantastic! It's wonderful (especially in these times, but - frankly - I expect in any time, to be able to talk with so many people who know so much :-)
     
    emery likes this.
  15. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
  16. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    5,635
    Likes Received:
    3,389
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    @Catherine Kieft, lots to take in and think about. This is a process of elimination as is often the case.
    Can I ask about the Rhodedenron, how close is it and what type is it?
    The reason I ask is that certain Rhodedenron's are not only invasive but they can also compete for water and nutrients. Although rainfall has been average, it may not be enough to satisfy the needs for the Esk and the Rhodedenron.
     
  17. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    Hello folks - OK, have been up and down the ladder, and have more photos. Have discovered (on the branch we cut down to be able to check the innards) that the leaves that are dying are "spotty". Also, where leaves are dying and curled, there's a new "bud". Branches, and twigs, are all green when thumbnail-rubbed, not brown. There are no buds except where leaves have fallen. The rhodos in that area are yakushimanum and Princess Margaret; when the weather is dry - they get water, and they all get fed once a year. However, on the level of the "bed" where this tree lives (which is ground level, not raised) there's nothing else (there's a forsythia planted "above" it on a bank, and beside that there's a mahonia...both might be "fighting for the water" with the tree in question, but they are planted at least four feet higher than the tree). I suspect the appearance of the leaves might give you folks more clues about the problem.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,379
    Likes Received:
    918
    Location:
    Normandie, France
    That's botrytis, or gray mold. A bad case can certainly defoliate a tree. Sycamores are particularly susceptible, and it occurs particularly during periods of uneven water. More later, but it's good news.
     
    Catherine Kieft and 0soyoung like this.
  19. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    5,635
    Likes Received:
    3,389
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    @Catherine Kieft, this looks like Anthracnose, looking at the leaves. I also see signs of lichen. This is a sign that the tree is struggling. (Not a cause of the problem btw). Anthracnose can be treated by the use of a copper spray and clearing and destroying 'all' infected leaves. Dead or dying branches should be removed and also destroyed.
    Next Spring a further spraying of new shoots will also be of help. Water well and consider lowering the PH around the area below the Esk.
    I would also drench the soil now around the drip area of your Esk.
    Others may have a different opinion.
     
    Catherine Kieft likes this.
  20. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,379
    Likes Received:
    918
    Location:
    Normandie, France
    Well yes, I do disagree with a diagnosis of anthracnose, which usually burns through both sides of the leaf and is less spotty (unlike the related tar spot) when it is this advanced. We have very problematic anthracnose and botrytis every year now on our many sycamores, and this really looks like the latter. Just this evening I was spraying the undersides of a very young hybrid A. velutinum x A. pseudoplatanus infested with gray mold, and I can say it the purple leaf undersides look identical to your picture, @Catherine Kieft . But of course anthracnose may well be right, for all anyone can tell from a picture.

    Anyway, we needn't kvetch about it, because either diagnosis is good news (though anthracnose is a little more troublesome year-to-year): the maple is not in danger of complete failure, or at least it doesn't seem so. The bud looks good, and I disagree that the lichen is problematic, as the twig is clear, and we can clearly see the growth over several years. Esk is not very vigorous as far as sycamores go, this looks like a completely normal growth pattern to me.

    Further, the treatment for either fungus is exactly the same, just as D has said in the previous post. Anthracnose, tar spot, or gray mold can only be controlled, and when you see it, the leaf is already endangered. On leathery-leafed maples like A. obtusifolium it spreads only slowly through the leaf, and the copper pulverization will kill the fungus and leave a hole, but in sycamores and other softer leaves, generally the whole leaf dies. So treatment should be prophylactic during the season (at least) following a serious infestation. The problem with treating large trees by pulverization, is of course, that they're large. It's hard to perform effective treatments without specialized equipment, but maybe with a ladder and a mast sprayer you can reach the top leaves. It would be important to treat those now, but neither anthracnose nor botrytis is usually threatening to the life of the sycamore.

    I agree that it will be a good idea to make sure it has enough water. I'm not sure why the soil acidity would have changed, or what that would have to do with either fungus, so personally I'd not worry about it; but in any case test the pH before thinking about trying to change the soil characteristics. It's been doing fine until now, I think it will get through this episode too.

    Do let us know how you do with the treatments, and if it successfully comes back. All the best, -E
     
    Catherine Kieft likes this.
  21. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    WOW! Thanks for all the info, folks. I really appreciate you all taking the time - and having the interest and kindness to do this :-) Husband and I will talk about the possibility of us being able to reach the top leaves...not sure our orchard ladder will cut it! We'll see. And will also check what equipment we have for "squirting" upwards etc. We'll put some time into clearing the fallen leaves "properly" and will make sure there's no chance of contamination for other trees/plants. We'll give it a good old watering and check the pH.
     
    Acerholic likes this.
  22. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    Hello again folks - I wanted to follow up here to help build the knowledge reservoir! We had a fully qualified arborist visit our property (he was puzzled), then we took a sample to the Ministry in Abbotsford for diagnosis (they couldn't give one), then they asked for a follow up sample, and the following diagnosis arrived last evening.

    "Cristulariella sp. - a fungus known to cause leaf spot (known as target, zonate, gray or white leaf spot in maples) was observed in leaves following incubation and microscopic examination. Please see the link below for additional information on the disease. Cristulariella depraedans - Wikipedia No insects or mites were associated with the spots. There were a few mites, aphid skins and thrips on leaves but only at very low levels and they are not causing damage at this time."

    I want to thank everyone for their input and suggestions...of course it's the time of year when the leaves are starting the change, so there's not much we can do this year, but we'll be ready for it in 2021 (fingers crossed it won't be an issue!). Hearty thanks, Cathy
     
    emery and Acerholic like this.
  23. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    5,635
    Likes Received:
    3,389
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    @Catherine Kieft good evening Cathy, that is wonderful news to have a scientific evaluation to your Esk Sunset problem.
    This will also be very useful to members with similar problems in the future.

    Thank-you for updating the forum with a full explanation, it doesn't always happen.
     
  24. Catherine Kieft

    Catherine Kieft New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    You're welcome :-)
     

Share This Page