Replacing A Diseased Tree

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Idacer, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have a young dissectum that appears to be losing a battle against Verticillium Wilt. I noticed that the tree suffered a substantial amount of die-back this last winter when other specimens had little or no such trouble. This summer, the tree did add a little new growth, but the leaves on much of that growth wilted in late August and now most of the limbs have turned black.

    My question is whether there's a way for me to plant a replacement maple in the same spot. I'm considering the removal/replacement of potentially infected soil, but I have no idea how far to go in this endeavor. At most, I'm guessing the rootball of the failing tree would be no larger than a 5-gallon nursery pot.

    Is this a plan that has some potential for success? Or, should I just plant something else here for a few years until the spores have disappated?

    Bryan
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Depends on what, exactly is killing it. Maybe Cooperative Extension can help you find out.
     
  3. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I spoke with a horticulturist at our local Extension Service who indicated that a diagnosis at this time of the year was not possible. They want me to bring in sample material next spring. But, I'm betting that won't happen because I doubt this tree will make it through the winter.

    On a side note, the agent suggested that replacing a column of soil down to a depth of three feet would likely alleviate any problems with residual fungal populations.

    We'll see.

    Bryan
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If you do that you're going to have to dig out a huge area just to avoid a moisture relations problem later - unless you are able to get a replacement soil that matches the texture of the existing soil. You'll also have to be mindful of not transferring pathogens from old soil to new via attire and equipment.
     
  5. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I suspect is also possible that the pathogen that is killing your tree was harbored in the tree at the time you got it rather than an invader from your existing planting site. If you have not had the tree long, consider that VW is a slow killer in most cases and the extent of the damage you are seeing indicates a fairly widespread and established infection. Since I do not know the age of the tree and all of the other details, you can decide how all of this may or may not apply.

    I bet if you remove the infected plant and replant with a larger healthy specimen, you might not have any future problems. But, I would recommend a larger plant, say a 15gal container plant in excellent health. Before you did this, I would evaluate the site and try to figure out why the plant is suffering. VW and many other pathogens need a compromised host to become established. While it might not be the site, it is equally likely that the site, in its current state, is not hightly suitable for a maple. Again, you decide.

    MJH
     
  6. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Michael,

    I suspect that you are correct about the tree -- it probably came in dirty. This will be the second tree that I've lost from this particular supplier, so I'm thinking that the source may have some problems. This is about a 4 or 5-year old tree, but it hasn't progressed past the point of looking like a two-year old. It has a caliper of about 1/2" and a height of about 6" at this point in time. A Red Dragon of the same age planted a few feet away has nearly doubled in size this year (1" caliper, 2' tall), so it's easy to compare what should or could be against what is.

    I've got a plethora of potted trees that are awaiting a home, so I'm tempted to try and make a switch to something more vigorous next spring. I wish I had the dough to buy 15-gallon trees -- maybe when I hit the PowerBall :)

    Thanks,
    Bryan
     
  7. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    A 15gal tree can easily be one of your own 5-8 year old trees. The wait might not be long. I just moved some of mine up to 15gal and they are about 5 years old. It will be a couple seasons before they fill the containers.

    MJH
     
  8. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I seem to have a lot of problems getting mine to size well in pots. Maybe it's just perception, but it seems that my trees in the ground consistently outperform similar trees that are in pots. So far, (cross fingers & knock on wood) I've had good success planting two- or three-year trees. Of course, I haven't had to deal with this particular situation in the past and we've been having really mild winters. So, maybe I've just been lucky.

    Thanks,
    Bryan
     

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