Maple disease

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Michael C, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. Michael C

    Michael C New Member

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    Hello.

    I wonder if anyone can tell me what is troubling my maple tree. It grew well last year but this spring, and now it has problems. A couple of months ago the leaves started turning light green and I believed this to be Chlorosis. Now the tree produces lots of tiny leaves coming from the trunk and small branches but they never develop. It looks like the branches never develop but tiny leaves do and they just keep coming and then dying. I don't know what variety of maple it is. The leaves turn brown, crinkle up and then die.

    Thanks
     

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Michael C, good morning Michael and welcome to the Maples forum.
    Next looking at your maple, it is trying to survive but failing to thrive. I'm looking at the photos and the problem may well be your grass.
    It appears you have thick turf up to the base of your maple ? This should not happen as it does not allow oxygen to easily go to the roots. Maples are shallow rooting trees and the roots obtain their nutrients, water and oxygen from near the surface compared to a lot of other trees.
    IMO you should cut away the turf from the trunk, my rule of thumb is out to the drip area. Then GENTLY loosen the soil around this area to ensure you do not have compacted soil, but I am certain you will have.

    Compaction is a problem for many trees and not just maples and can if not rectified cause a tree to die.
    These are my thoughts about your tree, others may have a different opinion. But do remove the turf.
     
  3. Michael C

    Michael C New Member

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    Thank you very much for the information. I would never have thought of that.

    Michael
     
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  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Michael C, you are welcome Michael. Please update the thread on progress.
     
  5. Michael C

    Michael C New Member

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    Hello. Sorry, but I have searched the help files but I can't find any info on how to "Update the thread". Can you assist please?

    Thanks

    Michael
     
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Michael C, you have just done so by posting a message. That is updating the thread .
     
  7. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi @Michael C , it looks as if this is a Sugar Maple, but it could be a Norway Maple too. With the small distorted leaves it's hard to tell, but if you break off a leaf and see white sap, it's a Norway. In any case both these maples are similar in their needs.

    When did you plant it? What is the native soil like? Was it a bare root tree, or in a container?

    I don't think it has chlorosis from the close up of the leaf, which is crisping from the outside inwards. The inside of the leaf looks fine and green though. This type of damage is often a sign of over watering, or the roots rotting because the ground is unable to drain water away from the roots.

    The tree is not pushing sap up the trunk, and as a result it is trying to leaf out where some nutrition can be provided. The problem comes without a doubt from the roots. Certainly as @Acerholic pointed out having the sod right up to the trunk isn't helping, so that's something to start with. Next, has it been planted too deeply? The soil should only come up to the root flare of the trunk -- that's where the roots start to push out.

    As pointed out, it's all about getting oxygen to the roots. These maples don't need or want a lot of water, and I've seen them drown when they're standing in a sump.

    HTH, -E
     
  8. Michael C

    Michael C New Member

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    Hello. Thank you for your information. The tree is about 3 to 4 years old now. I actually got it as a stray. It was growing in a neighbour's front yard between a couple of rocks so I thought I would try to give it a life. When I dug it up it was about 18 inches. Every year it has grown well and taller except for this year. It is about 17 feet tall now. It has clusters of leaves all bunched up and crowded near the trunk or on the branches. It's as if it just wants a decent branch to grow so the leaves can flourish. I was guilty of over-watering for sure and watering down the trunk instead of the drip line.. I have educated myself on that and have cut back the grass around the tree and will place some mulch there. The tree seems to have greened up a bit over the last 2 weeks though. On the other side of the fence my neighbour has a vegetable garden so maybe there is also excess water getting to the tree from his side as well. The soil is definitely clay heavy but when I planted the tree I made a big hole and was aware of the proper planting depth.

    Michael
     
  9. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi, you clearly know what you're about, so I don't want to overstate the obvious. Did you fill the hole with the same soil, or planting soil? It's important for water flow to use as much native soil as possible. Otherwise you basically make a big bowl to fill up with water and drown the roots.

    One thing is clear, the tree is not suffering from a disease per se. Either it had a bad year last year, possibly with a difficult winter (too wet, too cold, no snow cover, etc), or there's a current issue with the roots. All the back budding could be from areas further up where the cambium froze or was otherwise damaged. That wouldn't stop leaves at the top, at least for a while. My best guess is water issues, sorry I can't help more. -E
     
  10. Michael C

    Michael C New Member

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    Thanks, you've been helpful. When I planted it I believe I added some soil from the compost bin but mostly used the same soil from the hole. Maybe too much, but then it did well for a couple of years. Hopefully it will come back. Question: When a tree grows do the roots span out just to width of the canopy or further?

    Thanks again.

    Michael
     
  11. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    Roots go hither and thither. If they don't stay moist, they die (which causes new branching closer to the trunk). So most of the active roots will be found just beyond the edge of the canopy if there no irrigation is being done. Irrigation and mulch can alter this distribution.

    By active roots I mean near growing tips. The cell wall extensions of epidermal root cells, a few millimeters back of the tip, are known as 'hair roots' and are responsible for the majority of water and mineral adsorption. The rest of the root does some adsorption but is just a pipeline.
     
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  12. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Michael C, good morning Michael, re your question of how far the roots go. They can and will spread at least two and a half times the crown of your tree planted in the ground in 10 years.
    So many people continue to water their trees at the trunk, when it is further out you need to do this year after year.
    When planting a new tree, I always drench the area outside the rootball and not on top of it.
     
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  13. Michael C

    Michael C New Member

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    Thanks much. A lot of science to this stuff.
     

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