spiral splitting on japanese maple branches

Discussion in 'Maples' started by UltraRed, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. UltraRed

    UltraRed New Member

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    San Juan Islands
    We've been here 1 1/2 years and it seems to be getting worse. Unsure how old tree is, no more than 22 years. Tree is surrounded on east, south & west by other trees & shrubs. The north side is open and there is a house about 50-60 which blocks some of the wind. An arborist looked at it after we moved in and said maybe it's from wind damage and recommend breaking off any dying bark etc. In the San Juan Island area.

    The first 2 pics are general shots. Next 3 follow one "crack" on one major limb from base, spirals around the limb as it goes up; Next 4 follow one crack on another limb, again spirals around the limb. The last is another part that has cut as well. Also there are several sections where limbs were cut.

    It seems that the tree was not pruned well, losing the leader and creating several limbs from the base. Perhaps the wind has twisted the limbs as a result?

    The leaves are full during the summer and a brilliant red during the fall. Any idea what is causing it and what to expect as time goes on? Anything we can do to keep it healthy for a long as possible?

    Attached Files:

  2. Sulev

    Sulev Active Member

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    Looks like the tree has been hit by the lightning bolt.
  3. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Active Member

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    Anacortes, WA
    In all but one pic, it is clear that the tree is growing to cover the wounds with new bark - those 'lips' around the wood. That is a very encouraging, good sign. There are a number of things that can cause this kind of damage, but I suspect it got extremely dry (e.g., from neglect or lack of rain) several years ago. I don't, however, understand this crack, but you've had an arborist look at it. Aside from that,

    I see no reason to give up on this tree. It went through something before you acquired it, that is all. It will have these scars for most of a decade before the bark will have closed in over them - just a little temporary unsightliness. If you don't like it and want to replace it, that is your choice. This tree will very likely be just fine if you don't, IMHO.
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    Hampshire England
    Hi, I agree with Osoyung, it suffered from lack of water several years ago at some point in its early growth. If it is still leafing out in the Spring and giving you lovely Autumn colour I would leave it alone but ensure it is watered well from next Spring onwards. It is healing itself.
    TBH I think scaring gives a tree character and age. Bonsai growers love this. Post some photos next Spring and update the forum.

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