Japanese maple leaf desiccation.

Discussion in 'Maples' started by directorrod, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    I'm freaking out and in total melt down mode. My Mon zukushi that was fine just 2 days ago has a whole section today where the leaves have completely dried out. Photos of the tree are attached. This Mon zukushi is my best specimen tree so you can imagine my panic. Any advice about what you think is happening, and what I should do about it? Any assistance will be deeply appreciated. Thank you!
     

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  2. Margot

    Margot Contributor

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  3. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking nectria canker, not verticillium. If it is nectria, there should be little orange fruiting bodies around the area just below the first brown leaves - in the vicinity of that green tag seen in the first pic.

    I suggest you closely inspect the area of that green tag. In either case there ought to be some bark damage or recent (within the last year or so) pruning cut. In either case you likely will be removing that branch; if you so do it, promptly sanitize your pruner/secateurs. With nectria there may be some bark necrosis in the area - fruiting bodies will appear within a couple of weeks, if they aren't already present. With verticillium you should observe the characteristic blackish ring in the cross-section (which are streaks in a longitudinal section somewhere below the lowest brown leaf.

    The procedures to save the rest of the tree will depend upon what you find - post pix if you can.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
  4. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Rod, following here. Either possibility mentioned is possible, but too hard to tell from what you've shown. If you'd like you can email me a bunch as I suggested earlier (before seeing this thread), and post some more here, above all from the bark. Don't forget to include the base of the tree in closeup, the crotch of the branch where the problematic one splits off -- on both sides -- and bark closeups going up the branch all the way to the twigs.

    The clogging/blackening in the twig pictures is reminiscent of verticillium but need to see more. Don't panic though, that doesn't mean the tree won't survive for many years.

    -E
     
  5. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    Good Morning, Emery! It's still raining this morning but I'm going out for a closer look in a little while. Will examine all areas in question and will photograph them and post the results on this thread. All the replies here have been helpful but yours in particular has given me hope! Thank you for responding.
     
  6. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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  7. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    This is meant to be reassuring, though the picture isn't great, and we're having a terrible drought as you know Rod. But this 'Osakazuki' has been living with verticillium since 2006. Needless to say this wasn't its original form...
     

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  8. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    I'm posting these closeups as a follow up to my original post yesterday. The first photo is the bottom of the main trunk from opposite sides. Then I work my way upward to the affected area which is always to the right in these photos. I observed no black anywhere on the bark. There are a couple of places toward the top where I broke off small branches to to get a better view of the main branch. If I need to remove a branch please be as specific as possible, and suggest any necessary follow up treatment required. For an overview consult the photos I originally posted. Thank you to the members who have replied with suggestions and advice!
     

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  9. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    I don't see anything definitive. If it is nectria, the fruiting bodies will show within the next few weeks. The remedy that has worked for me is to cauterize the fruiting area and then some with a butane torch.
    Verticillium only infects the xylem (wood). Hence it has a strong tendency to only spread upward from the point of entrance. Find the point of entry and lop off everything above a point just below the entry point will generally nix it, IMHO.

    Were I in your stead, I would be playing wait-and-see for now, closely re-examining this area of the tree every few days.
     
  10. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    Thank you very much for your valued advice!
     
  11. Margot

    Margot Contributor

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    "Verticillium only infects the xylem (wood). Hence it has a strong tendency to only spread upward from the point of entrance. Find the point of entry and lop off everything above a point just below the entry point will generally nix it, IMHO."


    Since Verticillium is a soil-borne fungal disease, wouldn't the point of entry be the roots?
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  12. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    That makes sense to me. I'm waiting at least for the moment to cut the affected branch. I would think that if it is Verticillium there should be discoloration obvious on its wood. Thanks for your input, Margot! It's very much appreciated.
     
  13. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    It could be, but then it would affect the entire tree, not a specific branch.

    Quite frankly, verticillium and Japanese maples is quite over-hyped, IMHO. Verticillium in the soil is likely only if @directorrod just had some uncomposted dirt/soil/mulch brought in earlier this year or last and worked it into the ground around this tree. Verticillium is characteristically a disease of cool spring when it grows rapidly. It is, for all practical intents, dormant when temperatures are above 75F/23C. There are ways that the effects could be delayed, but I am skeptical. On the other hand, it is often explained that rain splash can lead to entrance via bark damage above ground.

    On the other hand, this is the time of year that nectria canker strikes. Garden center nursery people are very cavalier about simply pruning off things that don't look nice, so that the trees will sell before the season is over. I've chastised individuals I witnessed doing this when the characteristic orange dots are visible because they go to another tree and prune it, spreading the infection. I became such a zealot because I lost a magnificent and very expensive golden full moon to it and naively spred the infection to two other trees. It took several years, but I have managed to save those other trees I infected. Cauterization was the only effective treatment.

    So, this story of @directorrod's tree seems all to familiar. But, no orange fruiting bodies = not nectria = I've erred in diagnosing his tree. Wait-and-see. There is hope for the branch as long as it has buds.
     
  14. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    Thanks, Margot! Nothing new has been done to the soil the tree has been planted in for 4 years, and I always disinfect my pruning shears before use, so for the time being the problem will remain a mystery. I greatly appreciate the information you shared.
     
  15. Margot

    Margot Contributor

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    I sincerely hope that the problem @directorrod is having with his Japanese Maple is not caused by Verticillium Wilt. However, VW cannot be ruled out for the reasons cited by Osoyoung.
    • It could be, but then it would affect the entire tree, not a specific branch.”
    Website after website describe VW typically first attacking individual branches or portions of trees. http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/fact_sheets/plant_pathology_and_ecology/verticillium_wilt_of_trees_and_shrubs_05-08-08.pdf

    • Quite frankly, verticillium and Japanese maples is quite over-hyped, IMHO. Verticillium in the soil is likely only if @directorrod just had some uncomposted dirt/soil/mulch brought in earlier this year or last and worked it into the ground around this tree.”
    VW can survive extremely long periods of time in the soil as microsclerotia.

    Plants weakened by root damage from drought, waterlogged soils, de-icing salts, and other environmental stresses are thought to be more prone to infection.

    Also, VW can move through surface and groundwater from other locations.

    • Verticillium is characteristically a disease of cool spring when it grows rapidly. It is, for all practical intents, dormant when temperatures are above 75F/23C.”
    Symptoms are usually most obvious in mid to late summer or fall – frequently after stressful periods of hot, dry weather.

    • "There are ways that the effects could be delayed, but I am skeptical. On the other hand, it is often explained that rain splash can lead to entrance via bark damage above ground."
    In all the websites I’ve been reading lately, there is no mention of VW being spread by rain splashes. Verticillium Wilt disease enters the plant via the roots.
     
  16. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    Margot, I've gotten some great advice from two very highly respected experts that seems to be at odds.
    Tim Nichols (of Mr. Maple, in NC) has highly recommended the following product saying that he has used it himself with results that border on the miraculous. It was suggested to him originally by Brian Sherman (of Pagesrun Nursery, in NJ). He says it will effectively treat a number of different maple diseases including Verticillium. Emery Davis whose opinion I also greatly respect cautions that as a systemic it will kill the Mycorrhizae and other beneficial bacteria in the soil. Taking the advice of both experts, I plan to use the Subdue Maxx Anti-fungicide now in the short run to stabilize the tree. and then wait until next spring to work MYKE (a Mycorrhizae product that I always use when planting) into the soil all around the rootball. The recommendation of Subdue Maxx Anti-fungicide is new to me.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=subdue+maxx+label&source=lnms&tbm=shop&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiEq4D-j_PcAhUHhuAKHT6RBX8Q_AUICigB&biw=1920&bih=925
     
  17. Margot

    Margot Contributor

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    Subdue Maxx does not mention Verticillium Wilt in its literature or advertising so I would be doubtful that it would help. It has "broad spectrum disease control, including Pythium blight and Pythium damping-off, Phytophthera, yellow tuft (downy mildew) in bluegrass and downy mildew in St. Augustine."

    It seems to me that if it were an effective control for such a serious disease as Verticillium Wilt, the manufacturers would highlight that fact to promote the product.

    Did Tim Nichols realize it was the Verticillium fungus in particular you were talking about?

    Personally, I would weigh the dubious effectiveness of Subdue Maxx (since you aren't even sure yet that it's a fungus you're dealing with) against the knowledge that you would surely kill beneficial fungi in the soil.

    http://www.greencastonline.com/imag...19b33e-c96f-455c-bf3f-2e65142a35a9&fTy=0&et=8
     
  18. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    Tim wrote, "If I saw that, I would treat it with subdue maxxit's clogged and damaged xlyem,
    whether verticillium, pseudomonas.. or whichever canker might be causing it."
    I'll let you know. Margot how successful the treatment turns out to be. My immediate concern is that the condition of my tree not worsen.
     
  19. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Rod, coming back to this in the morning light with a cup of coffee and a clearer head. I think it's always a good idea not to precipitate either diagnosis or treatment, after all the maple lives in "plant time" so a few hours make no difference.

    I've looked at the pictures as well as the one Tim marked up. What he is pointing to in some of the circles is clearly not damage, but rather wound wood closing a gap where there had been a previous problem. Going clockwise from the bottom right, this is the case with the first 2 circles. The third, which we see (but out of focus) in pic 2 of your second batch, is indeed indicative of a current issue, but looks more like gall or sunburn (from the lighter edges) than clogging. I was also under the impression that this isn't the branch with the problem? In any case a better focus on that spot might help. I do not see any pseudomonas issues with the possible exception of this area, but in any case pseudomonas is a bacterial infection.

    The final circle, also not very focused, shows some smudging that might indicate arterial clogging of some kind. We can see many marks of stress on the bark at various places, and of course it is stressed trees that are most at risk from verticillium. This is in part because verticillium is always present, and in fairly high quantities, in the soil. (The quantities explode in earth where potatoes or tomatoes (Solanaceae) have been grown, making it difficult to grow maples in such places). Healthy trees have verticillium taken up by the roots, but are able to outgrow or otherwise fight off the infection. But when they get stressed, it can clog the xylem, with the results we all know.

    You've already summarized my opinion about using a systemic fungicide. I'll add that the mycorrhizal balance in the roots is delicate -- the fungus actually penetrates the root walls -- and takes a while to get established; so simply killing everything off and re-spiking with mycorrhizae as you propose, may not be such a simple solution. I will point you to the top of pg 87 of the recent Maple Symposium proceedings, where you will find Agustin's phrase: "Fungicide will not cure infected trees. Chemical treatment is a waste of time and money, in addition to being harmful to the Soil Food Web." I believe copper can help the tree compartmentalize the infection, so I'm not 100% with this statement, but certainly mostly agree.

    So, do you have verticillium? Well there are two kinds we see, the sudden spring wilt, where the tree always dies, and the slower summer form. The latter does come on in stressed trees as we are seeing here. To find out, you can run one of the blackened branches to your university extension for analysis, which takes some time. (You seem impatient my friend!) You can also cut the lower of the 2 branches in your last pic, in the blackened part and at an angle, so we can see it there is the characteristic staining on the interior. Of course I'd be happy to look at the picture of this, but it isn't definitive when you don't see it; lab analysis is the only way to be 100% sure. If you're planning on waiting for next spring to cut, I would certainly recommend you get the analysis done.

    Proceeding holistically though and above all considering the prior stress and gall, I think vert. is the most likely suspect. I would proceed by cutting down to "clean" (meaning clean of black, not entirely gall free -- you'd lose the whole tree) wood now, and treating with a foliar copper spray like phyton27, while you wait for the analysis. I would fear the systemic would further stress the tree and be likely to accelerate rather than slow pathogen advance. This is a conservative approach, but I think it would give you the best chance. (I'd get some copper on that black spot both Tim and I saw, anyway.) It's the way to proceed whether vert. is the culprit or not.

    And, I don't think you're about to lose the tree, though you may lose some of it.

    Good luck! I'd be happy to look at any additional pictures of course.

    -E
     
  20. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I'm afraid my oldest maple (about 20 yrs) has verticillium: first, I noticed some dry leaves at the tip of some branches, but as Emrey wrote, we're having a terrible drought here, and where I live, temperatures about 30° for days in a row, with peaks at 36° so I thought it was because of the weather.

    But it rapidly went down the branches, and I noticed that the bark was black in some places.

    Since it's a double-trunk tree, I decided to cut the infected one as low as possible. I will cut it even lower actually because I noticed the bark on the side exposed to the afternoon sun is getting a bit black too. For the moment, I applied Bordeaux mix diluted in chlorine - I know verticillium is hard to beat, but I can try.

    The black bark is developping where the branches/twigs start, but I didn't notice any dark ring where I cut the branches, whether black or still green. I'd really hate to lose it...

    acer_180818a.jpg acer_180818b.jpg acer_180818c.jpg acer_180818d.jpg .
     
  21. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    A well reasoned argument, be it legal, philosophical, or scientific, is a thing of beauty as is the case you present above. I cannot thank you enough for your thoughtfulness and thoroughness. I will proceed exactly as you advise. I had an Emperor I specimen tested for Verticillium Wilt (confirmed positive) at the University of Illinois Plant Laboratory in 2015 and will arrange to send a specimen from my Mon zukushi there for testing on Monday. I will treat the tree with Phyton 27 in the meantime, while awaiting those results. I had the same reservations you raised about the circled areas in my photos, but then again my expertise is in theatre not botany. I will begin today by removing portions of the affected branch from tip back downward until I reach a clean point. I haven't done any cutting yet but I do expect to encounter discoloration. I'll let you know.
     
  22. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Harrumph. That's way too flattering, but I appreciate the sentiment. ;) And I do think it's the best for the tree.

    Let us know what the analysis comes up with.

    @AlainK I hope it works. There is usually a good chance of saving the tree or at least part of it. BTW I love the color of your Bordeaux Mix, are you brewing your own? That's the really authentic color, mine never looks that good.
     
  23. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society

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    Same problem for me with a Bi hoo , pic 1 last October no problems then followed by pic 2 April this year right side nicely starting to blacken off (within 10 days of noticing the change)) then pic 3 my remedy !! (each to their own)

    Last three pics of the tree today , some might think a bit to drastic but at least it's still alive and throwing new growth in some length i might add all round , where i cut the branch i just painted some cut/wound sealer on the top of the cut then placed a plastic cane/eye protector on the top which has stuck to the cut , will clip back the left side slightly in the fall but leave the right side and see how it copes for the 2019 season time will tell ? " To cut or not to cut " hard decision to take sometimes. Bi hoo's can be a hard tree to keep going at the best of times though i must admit i am pleased it's still alive, tend to think though that the fantastic warm/hot sunny weather we have had this year in the UK has played a major role in keeping it alive , if it was last year with the constant rain i don't think it would have made it some how, also i think the co domination of the tree helped also?

    Albeit this is only a 20ltr container tree and not a ground specimen tree like yours , if one of my large ground trees were to develop sudden die back and blackening of the branch/branches i would have no hesitation in doing the same again to try and save it.

    Would rather look at a tree maybe half alive but surrviving and which hopefully in time should make new budding in the future years , the other option (worst scenario) of an empty space in the garden.
     

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  24. directorrod

    directorrod Active Member

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    Thanks for contributing to the conversation, Roebuk. Situations are actually not similar. No black anywhere on my tree, and no discoloration on the wood. I did actually cut the branch off, but probably didn't need to to do that (photo attached.) Am currently treating with Phyton 27 as a precaution against fungus.
     

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  25. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I couldn't take the dead parts of the tree to waste collection this weekend, but this part of the trunk that was green when I cut it and showed no dark ring on the cut looks that that today:

    acer_180820a.jpg

    Unfortunately it confirms that this is verticillium.
     

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