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Author Topic: Diseased Maple Trees  (Read 7187 times)

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Offline jaythecelt

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Diseased Maple Trees
« on: June 24, 2009, 11:46:57 PM »
I've lost several maples over the last few years to some sort of disease.  It looks like the bark starts to separate and peel away and forms long vertical scars, the wood then rots underneath.  It doesn't appear to me to be from gypsy moths.   Is there some sort of maple blight going around?  Is there anything I can do to save some of these trees? I live in western PA.
-J

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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Diseased Maple Trees
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2009, 04:37:19 AM »
What species of maple? Is there sap weeping at the infection area?
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Offline jaythecelt

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Re: Diseased Maple Trees
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2009, 11:00:51 PM »
Red Maple ... I don't see any sap coming from the wounds.  Here's some pics:


...

...

...
-J

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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Diseased Maple Trees
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2009, 03:32:13 AM »
Looks like possible landscaping damage and root smothering by soil added and compacted on top of the old soil layer. The roots are very close to the surface and red maple is very susceptible to smothering. The leaves have a touch of anthracnose, which most red maple get every summer. Might have some ambrosia moving in on the weakened trees as well. My mother landscaped some white birch with brick, built up a couple feet high and 4 feet in radius. The trees sent roots up in the new mud, now I couldn't remove those bricks if I wanted because of the roots in that raised bed. She planted shade loving flowers and annuals in it, like begonia.
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Offline Phorester

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Re: Diseased Maple Trees
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2009, 09:40:20 AM »

The leaf problem is unrelated to what is killing the trees.  They could have anthracnose as Swamp said, but looks more like a leaf spot to me.  In any event, niether is a problem to be concerned about.  Both occur every year on lots of tree species.  They are more common in years with cool wet springs that keep the spores and bacteria alive longer as they are blown in the wind, allowing them to infect more leaves than in drier weather.

I think the big problem these trees have is some sort of canker disease.  This one looks like fusarium canker to me. This is a lethal disease (as you are finding out) that probably started in these trees many years ago.  Could be long-ago construction or landscaping damage as Swamp said that weakened the trees making them suceptible to this canker.  Could have been some other environmental stress.  Unfortunately there is no cure.
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Offline jaythecelt

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Re: Diseased Maple Trees
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2009, 03:16:54 PM »
Thanks - all of that makes sense.  We built here about 15 years ago and cleared many trees.  I was pretty selective about which trees I kept; and I kept a lot of the maples.  Every red maple in the cleared area is affected.  Its unfortunate that I can't do anything about it.

Glad to hear the spots are not much of a problem.

Thanks again, that was good information!
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Diseased Maple Trees
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 07:21:10 PM »
At times the leaf spot can be pretty dramatic. Here is a photo I took of a red maple's leaves from my front yard in 2001.

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Re: Diseased Maple Trees
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2009, 02:03:18 AM »
Jeff has eyes everywhere.  ;D
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Offline Phorester

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Re: Diseased Maple Trees
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2009, 09:23:16 PM »

Yep, JAY, if a tree is not killed outright, it usually takes from 5 - 10 years before symptoms appear from construction damage.  That puts it about right for your trees.

For future reference, most construction damage to trees is actually root damage ,either tearing them up or soil compaction over them.  Any trees wanted for landscape specimens should have no disturbance underneath the branch spread.  No grading, filling, trenches, storing construction materiels, parking vehicles underneath the tree, etc.  Best way to protect them is to put up a snow fence around the dripline before any construction starts and tell everybody to keep out.  Put that in the contract with the builder.
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