maple tree disease

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cknighton
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maple tree disease

Post by cknighton » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:15 pm

I have a 36 year old maple tree that has died. Over the years the bark has turned black and the main trunk has deteriorated. Looks like pieces of mulch in the yard. Lots of holes in the tree. The tree did produce smaller leaves this year and turned its usual orange. But I fear is that this problem has spread to my other four 36 year old Norway maples. One norway had some ooze that turned the bark black. Another has a limb shedding the bark plus black on the tree. The remaining two have black bark and some dead limbs. The Norway maple that is closest to the dead tree seems the healthiest. (back yard) The other 3 trees are in the front yard and appear more stressed. Shenandoah VA 22849

lorijones
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Re: maple tree disease

Post by lorijones » Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:33 pm

This decline in your Norway maple may be caused by a canker.
Bleeding canker is caused by the fungus Phytophthora cactorum. Norway maples are susceptible to this disease which is characterized by dark sap oozing from fissures in the bark overlying the cankers. The bark eventually separates from the trunk as the wood underneath the canker (which becomes reddish brown) dies. Toxins secreted by the fungus travel up the tree and cause decline and eventual dieback of upper branches.
Steganosporium canker is more of a secondary infection in a tree that is already in decline due to some other type of stress (drought, disease, or mechanical injury) or insect infestation. This canker produces black fruiting bodies that eventually grow together and form a crusty black layer over the bark.
The holes you see in the trunk (depending on their size and appearance) could be from borers which would cause stress to the tree and open them to this secondary infection by the canker. Depending on the size and arrangement of the holes, they could also be from sapsuckers or another woodpecker species (see my blog post on woodpeckers: https://viettes.wordpress.com/2015/01/1 ... nd-or-foe/).
Photos of the trees showing the holes and the black bark would help. If you reply to this post, you can upload photos if you have some.

Does the oozing sap have a strong, sour smelling odor? If so, this could be a bacterial disease called bacterial wetwood or slime flux. It occurs mainly in elms and poplars but is also found in oaks, maples, magnolias, and other species. Wetwood is caused by a bacterial infection in the vascular system of the tree. The bacteria cause fermentation of the sap which increases the pressure in the tree's vascular system and results in sap oozing out of cracks in the bark on the trunk or branches. The sap is normally dark in color and very pungent and sour smelling. The oozing of the sap is usually worse during the growing season. This bacterial disease can cause branch dieback, wilting, and leaf scorch but it generally doesn't kill the tree as long as it is healthy to begin with.

There is really no cure or chemical control for these diseases. The best thing you can do is to keep the remaining trees as healthy as possible through proper feeding and watering. Fertilize your trees with Espoma Tree-tone according to the label directions and keep them deeply watered during times of drought. Be sure the soil is well-drained and avoid soil compaction by restricting foot and vehicle travel over the root zone. Make sure the trees are not growing in soggy soil as this can promote fungal diseases.
Infected branches should be pruned out if they can be reached from the ground. Dip your shears or saw blade in a 10% bleach solution between cuts to prevent the spread of fungal spores. Sometimes smaller cankers can be cut out of the bark but the resulting wound can open the tree to infection from other wood decaying fungi.

Since these trees are important to your landscape, you might want to consult a local arborist about them and consider having them do the pruning work for you. Bartlett Tree Experts (https://www.bartlett.com/) has a location in Harrisonburg. It would be worth a call!

cknighton
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Re: maple tree disease

Post by cknighton » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:23 pm

The dying maple tree back yard ( not a norway) never had any smell from the ooze. It is not oozing now and there are some leaf buds up high. The holes on that tree are 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide and 1/2 in. apart. The other Norway maples have a few holes, 1/8 to1/4 in. wide, spaced about 1/2 in apart in rows. I havetried to send photo from phone but unsuccessful so far. Thank you for quick response. Carolyn Knighton

cknighton
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city_state: Shenandoah, VA

Re: maple tree disease

Post by cknighton » Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:21 pm

Bart McDowell, a certified master aborist, from Bartlett Tree Service came. The tree in question is a sugar maple. Diagnosis: girdling. The tree was being suffocated. He cut wedges in smaller roots circling tree. We had soil injected slow release fertilizer and a bark treatment to suppress borers. The tree is beautiful! My husband wedged root of one norway. No disease on any tree. The norways are damaged due to bad tree (too deep) trimming. We learned a hard lesson- use an aborist. Bart came on Earth Day and our tree was saved. I was emotional. Plus plenty of rain came next which helped. Carolyn from Shenandoah

cknighton
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Re: maple tree disease

Post by cknighton » Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:29 pm

I misspelled arborist. BUT I wanted you to know that the day before Bart came, another tree person came and recommended that the tree be cut down and that one of the Norways would be dead next year. He said it was disease but did not name it. My husband's intuition said "no." Again, readers use an arborist. Carolyn from Shenandoah

lorijones
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Re: maple tree disease

Post by lorijones » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:28 pm

Carolyn, I'm so glad your tree is doing well now! Bart is a great arborist and very knowledgeable. I'm so glad that you contacted Bartlett! I'm also very glad that I was wrong! I never thought about girdling roots, but many trees, silver, Norway, and sugar maples in particular, are prone to this. Thanks for the update!

Jinny
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Re: maple tree disease

Post by Jinny » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:39 am

The tree in question is a sugar maple. Diagnosis: girdling. The tree was being suffocated. He cut wedges in smaller roots circling tree. We had soil injected slow release fertilizer and a bark treatment to suppress borers machines à sous 
. The tree is beautiful! My husband wedged root of one norway. No disease on any tree. The norways are damaged due to bad tree (too deep) trimming.

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