Sugar Maple is dying or dead

Discussion in 'Maples' started by boudy, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. boudy

    boudy Member

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    Location:
    N Central MA
    Hi,

    I have 2 sugar maples in my front yard that I planted almost 4 years ago. This spring they both began to leaf out simultaneously, however, one progressed more slowly, and then the leaves dies before they developed. Apparently the tree is suffering from some type of disease that I couldn't identify by searching the web.

    We've had tons of rain so water is not an issue. The drainage is good in the front yard, there is no standing water.

    The bark of the sickly tree is darker than its healthy and has dark splotches on it. I have been careful to avoid damaging any of my trees.

    I have attached photos of both trees.

    I'm wondering if the sickly tree is done for or if there are any steps that I can take to try to revive it (prune and fertilize)?

    Also I'm concerned about the green spots on the healthy tree, is it a fungus?

    Thanks.

    -Eric


    Top 3 photos are of the sickly tree.
    Bottom 2 photos are of the heathy tree.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Rima

    Rima Active Member

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    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    There may be no standing water, but I'd bet the rain is the problem. But without knowing your soil for sure, or examining the tree for ??? tiny pests, etc. it's hard to say. Can you call a 'tree doctor' (arborist) in to look at it? Maybe a local nursery who knows the local conditions well and your partic. tree could help.
     
  3. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    It appears that the spots on the healthy tree may just be lichen. Compare with the trunk of Acer saccharum ssp. leucoderme in the Maple Photo Gallery. As far as the soil, it sounds like you have good drainage and similar conditions for both trees. I would not fertilize at this point. Are you able to take some close up photographs of the branches and any more discolored or cracked areas of the trunk of the other specimen? It would be great if you could take these on a laptop, or by reference to this posting, into your local extension office, where they deal more with Acer saccharum, since it is native there. If you learn anything, let us know. It is important to know if whatever caused this could spread to the other tree, e.g. verticillium. Frankly, the future for this tree does not sound good if you are not seeing new buds. Looking at the third photograph and keeping in mind that this is a young tree, is it possible that last winter this specimen endured a frost crack or some other injury, through which a fungus may have entered? See:http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu/pubs/trees.htm. Vascular (stemwood) diseases that can injure sugar maple are usually caused by fungi entering the stem through wounds in the trunk or branches. Most vascular diseases are not fatal, but they can produce toxic substances that cause decay. For example, trunk rots are caused by fungi that enter the tree through frost cracks, dead branches, and stubs and less frequently through the roots.
     
  4. Raakel

    Raakel Active Member

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    Location:
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    Hello,

    It could be that the green spots on the leaves of your healthy tree are black tar spot. Did you notice the spots in years previous? Black tar spot starts out as green or yellow spots, gradually changing to black as the season progresses. Keep an eye on your tree. If the spots turn black, that is most certainly what you have. Black tar spot did not kill your other tree. It is a fungal disease that will cause premature defoliation, along with looking horrible, however it will not kill your tree. The best method of control is to rake up the leaves in the fall and dispose them.

    To determine if your other tree is dead, scratch the bark of new shoots and look for fresh green growth. Also look for live buds. If you "dissect" some of the buds you should see green tissues.

    As suggested it is best to have an arborist look at your tree. It is difficult for forum members to properly diagnose. I feel that the reason that your tree declined so quickly was a result of environmental stresses. Because of the trees proximity to the road it may have received a great deal of salt in the winter. Compaction? Drought stress from last year? The crack in the tree may be a result of extreme changes in temperature which causes expanding and contracting of the bark, and therefore splitting (this is more likely if that side of the tree faces south-west). At second glance, the damage to the trunk may have been there even when you bought the tree, as it does not look so much like frost damage.

    Good luck.

    Raakel
     

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