Maple Tree Problems

Maple Tree Pests and Problems

As a former editor of the LoveToKnow.com Garden channel, I frequently get questions on how to identify and deal with common maple tree pests and diseases. Unfortunately, without photos, problems can be hard to identify. I've included a slideshow on this page to help you identify some of these problems, and as I come across good examples of the maple tree pests or problems, I'll photograph and add these to the slide show. Whether you have a problem identifying what a maple tree gall is, or you don't know what lichens look like, you'll find the answers here, as well as the photographs to help you identify them.

Maple Trees Problems Slideshow

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Sugar Maple tree leaves.  Photo by Slavka/Dreamstime.Maple mosaic virus on a flowering maple. Union County College Biology Department.Pear thrip damage on maple leaves.  Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Laboratory.Maple leaf anthracnose.  Ohio State University Extension Plant Pathology.Gouty Vein Galls.  Ohio State University Extension Entomology.Maple Bladder Galls.  Ohio State University Extension Entomology.Maple Spindle Gall.  Ohio State University Extension Entomology.Maple Velvet Gall.  University of Minnesota Extension.Mealy Bugs. Photo by Jeridu/Dreamstime.Red ant on scale insects. Photo by Jeridu/Dreamstime
Sugar Maple tree leaves.  Photo by Slavka/Dreamstime.
Sugar Maple tree leaves. Photo by Slavka/Dreamstime.
Maple mosaic virus on a flowering maple. Union County College Biology Department.
Maple mosaic virus on a flowering maple. Union County College Biology Department.
Pear thrip damage on maple leaves.  Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Laboratory.
Pear thrip damage on maple leaves. Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Laboratory.
Maple leaf anthracnose.  Ohio State University Extension Plant Pathology.
Maple leaf anthracnose. Ohio State University Extension Plant Pathology.
Gouty Vein Galls.  Ohio State University Extension Entomology.
Gouty Vein Galls. Ohio State University Extension Entomology.
Maple Bladder Galls.  Ohio State University Extension Entomology.
Maple Bladder Galls. Ohio State University Extension Entomology.
Maple Spindle Gall.  Ohio State University Extension Entomology.
Maple Spindle Gall. Ohio State University Extension Entomology.
Maple Velvet Gall.  University of Minnesota Extension.
Maple Velvet Gall. University of Minnesota Extension.
Mealy Bugs. Photo by Jeridu/Dreamstime.
Mealy Bugs. Photo by Jeridu/Dreamstime.
Red ant on scale insects. Photo by Jeridu/Dreamstime
Red ant on scale insects. Photo by Jeridu/Dreamstime

Maple Tree Tar Spot

The maple tree tar spot is pretty easy to identify. I've included a photo below to help you see what one looks like. The tar spot is caused by a fungal pathogen in the genus Rhytisma. It affects maple trees, especially the Norway Maple, Silver Maple and Sugar Maple. It will not kill your trees, but it is unsightly and can cause early leaf drop before the fall season.

The spots first appear as small yellow spots in June, then progress to the familiar black spots on the leaves which can be 1/8 inch in diameter to an inch or more on the Norway Maple. The spots can also appear on the seeds (samaras).

The fungus winters-over on leaves that have dropped to the ground. If the leaves are not raked up in the fall, the spores will reappear in the spring on the old leaves and spread to any nearby tree. Treating the trees is usually not effective since the spores can travel from a neighbor's tree onto your trees.

If your tree has these spots, which then turn into curling leaves in mid-July, you may have a different disease, Anthracnose.

Maple Leaf Tar Spot

Maple leaf tar spot.  Photo by Lepas/Dreamstime.
Maple leaf tar spot. Photo by Lepas/Dreamstime.

Anthracnose

Anthracnose is commonly mistaken for tar spot. However, the damage is much more extensive as it affects not only the leaves but the branches as well. The spots on the leaves are many, and are usually much smaller than the 1/8 inch tar spots.

This condition commonly occurs when there are long periods of cold and wet weather. The areas affected may include the dark small spots and irregularly shaped dead and brown areas on leaves. The leaves usually fall off in the early spring, followed by a second set of leaves which will also die off. The branches may develop cankers which can girdle the branches and kill them.

The disease is perpetuated because the fungal spores over-winter in dead leaves. When there is a prolonged wet spring, the spores have a perfect breeding ground. The spores are carried by the wind to other trees. Once infected, the disease can over-winter in the host plant in the infected branches and twigs.

The disease can be controlled by removing dead leaves in the fall from the base of your trees. Fungicide can also be applied, but due to the size and number of trees that may be affected, commercial applications are usually required. You can call your local Cooperative Extension office to find out what fungicides are legal in your state.

Anthracnose

Anthracnose on maple leaves.  Photo by Charlotte Gerber.
Anthracnose on maple leaves. Photo by Charlotte Gerber.

Sooty Mold on Trunk

Sooty mold sometimes occurs on maple trees. This mold feeds on the sticky substance (honey dew) left by aphids and scale insects. If the mold rubs off easily on your fingers when you touch it, it is sooty mold. This won't kill your tree and it can be treated easily.

Try using Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub mix. Follow the instructions carefully and mix it with water. It is applied at the base of the tree and is taken up through the roots. This application should also stop reinfection for up to one year.

Lichens

Lichens can be found on many maple trees, especially mature trees. Lichens are not harmful to your trees. They don't feed off of your tree- they feed off of air. You don't need to do anything to the lichens since they aren't harmful. If you feel the need to get rid of them anyway, copper fungicides can assist you in this endeavor. As always, read the label and follow instructions to a "T."

Lichens on Maple Tree

Lichens on a maple tree.  Photo by Charlotte Gerber.
Lichens on a maple tree. Photo by Charlotte Gerber.

Verticillium Wilt

One of the worst diseases that your tree can get is verticillium wilt. This affects the vascular system of the tree and usually ends in death of the tree. The verticillium fungus is a soil-borne disease and can live in the soil for years before it makes an appearance. It enters the tree through the roots.

Common symptoms are yellowing leaves, followed by the leaves wilting and entire branches can be affected. In some maples, the entire crown can wilt and die within a short period of time.

Proper diagnosis can help you make the right decision in what to do with your tree. Call your local Cooperative Extension office to see if they can come out and examine your tree. A core sample of the tree will be needed for correct diagnosis. A green or brownish green color can be found in the sapwood of affected trees.

Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot can affect maple trees, especially when there is a wet spring or a tree is living in poorly drained soil. The main symptom of this problem is yellow, smaller than normal, leaves. Dark brown and black roots can be found on the tree when root rot occurs.

Plants can't usually be saved when this happens, and they will need to be cut down to avoid injury to people or damage to property.

Asian Longhorned Beetle. Photo by U.S. Forest Service
Asian Longhorned Beetle. Photo by U.S. Forest Service

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Comments 183 comments

Angela 5 years ago

I live in Dallas ,Texas and have a red maple that we planted four years ago and blooms great every year however this spring as of today I am still awaiting leaves. The tree started buding several weeks ago but we got some really bad storms and for the last month we have had very windy conditions. After a bad storm the buds and new little leaves dried up and seems as though tree still looks it goes in the winter. I see green on the trunk so I don't think it's dead. Do you know what is wrong?


Michelle 5 years ago

We have a very large 40-50 year old Norway maple in our back yard. Last summer the leaves started to turn and fall early. We had two tree people come out to look at it, one told us it was drought and wind damage and to fertilize in the fall. The second told us it looked to be the same and that we had a 50/50 chance of bringing it back in the spring if we fertilized in the fall. My husband did tree spikes in the drip line and broadcast fertilizer in the fall. This Spring only about 25% of the tree is leafing out. The rest looked like it was starting to get buds, yet when I climbed the ladder and touched them, the buds seem dry and just fall off. I am devestated! We have many Maple's in our yard and it could have been any tree but this was our favorite! Reading your other posts you state trees can leaf out more than once in a season if they are stressed, should we be giving up at this point? All our other Norway's on the property are doing fine. We live in Eastern PA.

Thank You for any help!


Lee 5 years ago

Hello Guys

Harleyz66

maybe fertilizer burn

I would say the best way to ensure a tree gets adequate nutrients is to put mulch down, an inch or so at the most. its slow release, has nitrogen in it, helps to reduce evapotranspiration, helps retain moisture!, protects from cold weather.

is the soil type the same in their different locations?

is there any grazing going on?, not sure at the moment about no helicopters, will ask a couple of friends of mine over the weekend.

if the leaves are flacid then it maywell be lack of water, long slow infrequent soakings are the best

yes pictures are a big help

glory maples is a common name and these vary in different locations, you are better sticking to the latin names

let me know, cheers


Lee 5 years ago

Hello Guys

Kathie

you should be able to go to the above link, which is another hub of mine and email me there.

failing that upload the pictures to flickr or picassa and then give me the url's.

where are the roots in relation to the trunk?, are they the butress roots? are they x amount of metres away

How long has the root been exposed or has it always?

is there any environment changes around the tree and its canopy or root system?

has bark been chipped off?

are there any other stress factors, fungi, dieback, insects at the spot?

a handful of pics should be alright

let me know, cheers


Harleyz66 5 years ago

What an informative website! I've read all the comments regarding Maple Tree problems, but can't seem to find my answer. I did see one poster who seemed to identify with a like problem, but she never replied with pictures so an answer was never provided.

A couple years ago we planted 2 October Glory Maples here in TN.

On one of the trees the leaves seem to be developing holes and it looks as though they're being eaten. Leaves higher up and near the tops are slowly shriveling up and dying. I've checked the leaves for insects, but can't seem to find any. We've had a wet spring, so I've watered only after a couple days of dry weather using Miracle Grow and other types of fertilizer.

Two trees (Same Size) 2 1/2" trunks 12' -14' tall were planted two seasons ago within 20 miles of one another. My tree each year establishes pods a few weeks prior to leaves emerging. The other tree doesn't yet establish pods, but is full of leaves each year and growing quite well. I do still have newer leaves emerging on the problematic tree, but the tree sometimes looks wilted. It looks wilted today and we just received 5-7 inches of rain in the past 72 hours. Both trees receive the same care and watering schedule with fertilizer. Both trees were planted in new home subdivisions where the topsoil was replaced with basic dirt.

Basically, what I'm trying to find out is whether I have an insect problem or the tree isn't receiving enough water. I'm afraid of over watering because I don't want to possibly rot out the roots.

Also, I'm curious as to why one tree sprouts pods (Problematic Tree) and the other one doesn't given the trees are approx. the same age.

I'll be more than happy to post pictures if it will assist in identifying the problem.

Please help as I do not want to lose these wonderful trees.

Thanks


kathie 5 years ago

Where can I send a picture to? What other info would you like?


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cazzart 5 years ago from England , west Yorkshire

could anyone help.. I have 4 acer atropurpureum maples.. 3 are doing well no problems... but one something (I think) eating the leaves... some of the leaves have fallen off the others have very light brown marks on them, kind of thin lines then bigger in parts.... edges of the leaves look like they have been nibbled ...I have had a good look on and under the leaves and so far haven't spotted anything... it's a small plant as ive only had them since last year.. I really don't want to loose it ... any help would be greatly appreciated

thank you

Carrie


Kathie 5 years ago

I should clarify, the spot has the diameter of an orange.


Kathie 5 years ago

Our well established maple tree has developed an orange-sized black moist spot on one of its exposed roots. Any thoughts?


Lee Curtis profile image

Lee Curtis 5 years ago from London, UK

For above comment on Maple trees.

New constructions near established trees sometimes affect the tree, compaction of the soil.

Environment changes.

I reckon putting some mulch down, this will suppress the weeds help retain moisture and release vital nutrients back into the soil

whatever you do, you have to be careful of the roots no chopping them.

and if it's dying back consult a qualified arborist.

good luck


ThanksforyourHELP 5 years ago

Hi,

Four years back our newly constructed home came with two maple trees in our front yard. Through all the 4 years my trees fare the worst compared to any lawn in my neighborhood. The leaves start showing up very late in the spring (that too sparingly). The leaves stay green only for a month or two and then start getting yellow and fall off much before Fall. I water the trees as much as my neighbors.But the trees are always greener on the other side :( I want to help my tree grow. Please help.

PS: I have to sadly also mention that the soil in my yard is not of the best quality since we have to fight a lot of weeds and do a lot of work to get our yard green. But again the whole neighborhood has the same soil. Then why are my trees the only ones not growing :(


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 5 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Jerry, So sorry for the delay in responding to you. The holidays bogged me down! I'm not sure exactly what may be causing the lesions you speak of. Did they occur as a result of a hard frost or a period of freezing weather followed by a warm thaw (or vice versa)? This can cause splits in the bark of maple trees. If this is the case, the tree will bounce back from the injuries, though they may look a little ugly until the tree ages a few more years. Avoid putting any type of paste or tar in the wounds as it only inhibits the healing process from this type of injury.

If this isn't the case, please write back and give me a few more details or contact your county Cooperative Extension office's tree expert for assistance.


jerry 5 years ago

silver maple leasions in bark / separating 8 or 10 years old 30ft tall - we live in texas near austin. any way to save it?


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Tammy, Some years are just better years for seed production than in others. The tree has to store up energy, sometimes over the span of several years, before it produces a lot of seeds (pine trees need a lot of energy to produce pine cones, for example). Your tree is probably healthy - it was just a prime year for seed production.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Cindy, My neighbor has a similar problem with bees and a hollowed out tree. While the tree is still alive, obviously it isn't a healthy tree because it has a large hole in it that the bees are living in- the heart of the tree is dying, which is probably what is happening to your tree.

If you don't have a problem with it, you can keep the tree as the bees are using it. Alternatively, you could contact a beekeeper who may be interested in the bees, then cut down the tree (though they would be "wild" bees). I wouldn't cut the tree down with the bees in it though- that's just asking for trouble!


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Bob, Sap is common; it doesn't signal the end of the tree's life though. Maples can live a hundred years or more if they're in a good spot. I have a row that are so big around, it takes 2, sometimes 3 people to join hands around them! (I'm guessing they were probably around during the Civil War or even earlier). It is too bad if they're causing trouble for you, since they're great shade trees. If you do cut them down, consider selling the lumber instead of giving it away- a healthy, large maple tree (or several) is valuable to lumber dealers.


Cindy 6 years ago

I have a huge old maple in my yard that has recently started leaking water from trunk, about five foot from ground. Any ideas why? Tree has a five year old honey bee colony inside.


Tammy 6 years ago

The trees in my neighborhood have finally lost all of their leaves, and I noticed that my 2 maples have a lot more seeds than any others in the neighborhood. I have lived in my house for 24 years and they were large trees even then. I fear that they might be ill and are sending out seeds in a desperate attempt to leave a new generation behind. The trees have always been healthy, dark nicely shaped leaves and beautiful and they appeared to have the same amount of leaves as they always do. Any information you can give me would be very helpful.


Bob 6 years ago

I have two old silver maples in my back yard. One of them has been trimmed in the past, while the other has pretty much grown on its' own, it is huge. At this point, they cover the driveway, the back deck, and most of the back yard. While they look nice during the season, they are driving me crazy with all the leaves they drop...which I could live with, but they have also started dropping a lot of sap. So now the cars and deck are covered with sticky sap.

I am literally at a point where I am considering having them removed as they are a year round headache as far as maintenance. From helicopters to leaves to the sap...

One arborist said you don't see too many maples reach this age and be relatively healthy. I am curious if the sap is common or a sign that they are nearing the end?


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Hunter, If the spots are white and fuzzy it is probably leaf spot fungus. It won't kill the tree. The fungus spores will winter over in the dead leaves on the ground, so rake up the leaves in your yard if you don't want it coming back next year. If the spots make an appearance next year, you could spray the leaves with a fungicide; contact your county Cooperative Extension office (in the US) to find out what fungicides are allowed in your area.


Hunter 6 years ago

I have a lot of maple trees were i live and like Lizzannae the small trees that are only around a year old and only have a few leaves. and the leaves have started to turn white and its not bird droppings or any thing it doesn't come off im not sure what's happening to them?


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Samantha, It sounds like you might be describing a leaf gall. If so, it won't kill your tree, it is just unattractive. The best way to prevent these in the future is to do a good fall cleanup (assuming you don't have dozens of trees, or an untidy neighbor). Fungi overwinter in leaves left in the yard, which will guarantee the same problems again the following year.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Dear Bella, It appears that you are the one should take a hike. Your Life has called and left you a message: get one, and spend less time surfing the Internet.


BELLA 6 years ago

TAKE A HIKE LOSER


Samantha 6 years ago

I live in the Minneapolis area. There are three silver maples in my front yard that have recently developed small (not more than 1mm diameter), pointy black dots on their leaves. Most leaves have them and they are sprinkled around the bottom portion of the leaf, closest to the stem. It doesn't look like tar spot, but the dots look like they're part of the leaf so I am wondering if it is a disease. The trees still look healthy. Do you know what it could be?

thanks :)

Sam


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Bruce, There is a borer beetle that likes maple trees - the Asian Longhorned Beetle. Please check this link from the US National Forest Service: www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/alb/. It has photos and contact information if you suspect an infestation in your trees.


Bruce 6 years ago

I live in long Island and Have a Maple that is around 30 years old - I have noticed the last 2-3 years that healthy branches are simply dying throughout the summer. Leaves simply die and fall off while the rest of the tree is healthy. I am suspicious that I have some form of insect boring intop the branches (based on looking at a couple of these branches where they final broke off - This usmmer a health brach came down and you could see where something had basically cut it through part way - Lookinf for suggestions if there are any on treating the tree to keep this from continuing - the tree is starting to look thin

Thanks for any thoughts

Bruce


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Mary, Here are several things to consider:

Leaves that are dry and curl up around the edges usually have sunscald. This doesn't kill the tree- it just makes it look unsightly. Extra watering during droughts can help you avoid this problem.

Leaves that are spotty and are turning brown along the veins of the leaves may signal that the tree has anthracnose. This disease can be managed by removing all debris and dead leaves from around the trees before winter, as the fungus that causes it lives in the debris. In extreme cases, a fungicide needs to be applied - check with an arborist/local Cooperative Extension office to find out what fungicide sprays can be used in your area.

Finally, lots of dead leaves that aren't falling from the branches may signal verticilium wilt, which is a devastating tree disease. A bark sample is needed to correctly diagnose this disease, so if you suspect this, contact an arborist or your Cooperative Extension office to do this for you.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Lizanne, I'm not sure what you're seeing on the leaves of the trees. Most fungal growths are brown or black, not white, on maple trees. I think a call to your local Cooperative Extension office may offer the answer, as they would be aware of any local conditions/problems in your area.

Just a side note- are there a lot of birds/pigeons in the area you describe? It could be bird droppings.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi David, Assuming the rest of your tree appears okay, this may just be a dead limb that fell. It isn't unusual for a tree that large, and probably old, to lose a few limbs, especially in high winds or other inclement weather. The limb may have been dead and stuck up in the branches for a while before it finally fell down, which would explain the brown, soft center.

If you see shelf-like fungal growths on your tree (which signals heart rot), call an arborist or your local Cooperative Extension office for an on-site inspection. Heart rot can destroy the whole tree rather quickly, from the inside out.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Susan, (Go Bucks!) There are two things that come to mind when I hear "white fungus" - powdery mildew or heart rot. Powdery mildew is like what it sounds like - a white powdery substance on the branches and leaves of a plant. Heart rot, on the other hand, is much more destructive and may be what you are describing. Heart rot will literally rot away your tree, in many cases destroying a tree within a season or two. Are there shelf-like fungal growths forming on your tree (brown on top, white underneath)? Does the wood look shredded or dry and easily scraped away where the bark/limbs came off? If so, contact an arborist as the tree may be structurally unsound, and may possibly fall over in the next windstorm. Alternatively, you may also contact the Cooperative Extension office in your area (the closest one is probably on the OSU campus) to see if someone could come look at your tree to make an on-site diagnosis of the problem.


Susan 6 years ago

Hi. I live in Columbus Ohio and I have a beautiful sugar maple in my front yard. About three years ago, it started losing some of its bark, just flaking off. Then, last year, I noticed lots of white, spotty looking fungus on the branches. Certain branches are not leafing out anymore and the tree just isn't as full as it used to be. Some branches are dying and fall off during heavy winds. It continues to lose bark, sometimes in large pieces. Whatever it is has now spread to the redbud which is also in front of my home. Do you have any idea what this could be? I do not notice anything strange on any of the leaves. Thank you for any suggestions you may have. I cannot even find a picture of what it looks like anywhere on the internet. Nothing quite matches.

-Susan


Lizanne 6 years ago

I live in downtown Chicago and for this summer almost all of the maple trees in our neighborhood have developed white spots on the green leaves. It almost looks as though someone has sprayed them with white paint or something. I don't know much about trees but I'm worried about them. I read most of the comments above and have not found any mention of similar problems.

Any ideas what this might be? Is there anything I should look for to help determine a cause?

Thanks!

Lizanne


david 6 years ago

I have a sugar maple that is 60 feet tall. Recently, a limb broke two inches in diameter. It had a brown soft center 3/4 inch in diameter surrounded by normal wood. Is this normal or diseased.


mary 6 years ago

we have a maple tree that has some leaves turning a crispy brown on several limbs. we have had drought problems for a few years. after i noticed this happening, i started watering the tree alot. recently, my neighbor next door told me his maple was just treated for mites. what is causing the leaves to turn brown? they just stay on the limbs too. they don't fall to the ground. thank you for your help.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Ken, It could be several things, from scorch on the leaves (occurs in dry weather, high temps or windy conditions) to anthracnose (there's more info on this in this hub above). Even though your tree is established, it could still use some water if there is a drought in your area, especially since it is next to a road way where water may not readily get to the roots.

In response to the photos you posted, you could remove the wooden boards from around the tree for aesthetic reasons, and it would prevent litter from collecting there. I would also remove the plastic from around the tree if it is still there as it can harbor pests and encourage fungal growths.


Ken 6 years ago

My tree looks like it's starting to have some problems. I setup a page for it http://stoneblue.com/ken/mapletree with photos and description .

Any and all help is greatly appreciated and I'll post on the page whatever I find out.

Thanks,

Ken


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Indoor Greenhouse Guy- Thanks for the kudos! If you're worried about your trees, a tree surgeon is a good idea. If you're on a budget, you can also call your local Cooperative Extension office too (assuming you're in the U.S.) - often they'll come take a look at your tree at little or no cost.


Indoor Greenhouse Guy 6 years ago

Wow, you've put a lot of work into this Hub, thanks for a great resource! We have three Maples at the end of our garden and I think they're about 30 years old. One has began to look ill over the last 2 or 3 years and im considering a tree surgeon.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Alan Crocker, Your problem sounds serious- it may be a borer beetle. Currently, there are several beetles which can kill maples and are considered a threat by the U.S. Forest Service. I suggest you first visit the following website: http://forestthreats.org/. You can search by state to find out about the invasive insects in your area, complete with photos and descriptions. Second, contact your county Cooperative Extension office- they can visit your tree to make a correct diagnosis of the problem.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi John S., I wonder what your tree guy thought was wrong with the tree? I tend to go along with what an arborist/nursery person would tell you to do, as they would be aware of any local pests/diseases that would affect your trees. The ants aren't responsible for your tree problems though- they're just the cleanup crew when there is honeydew (caused by a tree injury). If there are holes in the bark, I would think you have a beetle (of the borer variety) responsible. In that case, your tree may be unsavable. If you're in doubt, call your county Cooperative Extension office- they would be able to visit your tree and give you a diagnosis of the problem in person.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Mary, There are several beetles that may be responsible, or they could be carpenter ants (which wouldn't kill your tree, they're attracted to the honeydew). What has me concerned is the description of a peat-like material and the color of the insects; I'm not sure whether something is eating your tree (beetle), or if your tree is rotting. In either event, I suggest you contact your county Cooperative Extension office and request that they investigate it. Currently there are several species of beetle that are invading maple and ash trees, killing them in large numbers.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Annie Papas, I would definitely say that you have a fungal infection, however, I'm not sure how to tell you to treat it, since I'm only aware of US laws regarding fungicides. I would contact a local nursery or arborist to find out what you could use to treat the tree- it probably can be saved, even if it does have anthracnose.


Alan Crocker 6 years ago

I have a 20" maple tree looking very good leaf wise with little or no dead lims/branches. However nearly all the bark around the tree is pealing off. The wood area under the bark apears dry and has pin holes showing. The tree looks so good but how can it survive? Your comments please


JOHN S. 6 years ago

Hi, we live in central Wisconsin, I have a silver Maple tree in our front yard. Noticed a patch of missing bark about 14" in length by 6 inches in width, at the bottom of the trunk, lots of pincher bugs/ants falling out of the surrounding bark. The exposed tree looks like a bare dead tree in the forest. I have put ant powder and insect replent around it. The bugs seem to be gone. The tree was losing leaves in July, now they are 60% or more gone. Had a tree guy over he said to cut it down. Is there any hope in saving this tree? Thanks


Mary 6 years ago

We live in NW Indiana and have several groves of possibly 35 year old silver maples,last summer we took down one with a triple trunk because between the trunks was some kind of nest that formed rather quickly. It filled the inside of the trunks with what looked like peat but was infested with what looked like very tiny white ants. Now we have a second double trunk that the very same thing is happening to although as I scraped out this peat type material the bugs inside were also tiny but brown and look like ants. Can these be termites and if so is there any way to save this tree before it is totally eaten up? Thanks so much taking the time to post all the information here on your hub.


Annie Papas 6 years ago

Hi,

many thanks for your blog it is great! My name is Annie and I live at the other side of the Atlantic(in the UK). I desparately need your help please: I suspect that our maple tree has antracanosis. The tree is about 16 years old and over the last months started to loose the outer bark from the trunk and also some of leaves (some of the branches are leafless now). When I scratched the surface of the exposed inner bark,orange dust came off.

Recently brown mushrooms appeared on the grass surrounding the tree (about 2 meters away from the tree) - could that be an indication of fungal infection at the roots of the tree or just a coincidence?

I really want to save the tree. Could you please advise me if there is any treatment I could do to help it?

(I could forward you some pictures if these could be of any). Many thanks in advance - Annie


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Peter, You could brace the tree- what you would need is a brace for each side of the tree, so one would be gently pulling one side of the split to bring it together, and the other would be pulling the other side of the split. I hope that makes sense- what you're trying to accomplish is to bring the split back together. Get the kind of braces that are covered with rubber or a similar thick, soft material so that they don't dig into the tree. The only problem I can foresee with this is continuous high winds. If that is a problem where you live, the braces may not work, but regardless, it is worth a try.

Yes, pruning/shaping the tree to reduce the weight on the limbs would definitely help. And yes, wait until fall to do the pruning (once the tree has lost most of its leaves). Let me know if you have any more questions, and good luck!


Peter 6 years ago

Thanks for your response about the split trunk being the likley cause of stress to our Japanese maple. I can definitely see how as the tree is getting older the weight of the branches could be pulling the stems even further apart. You are correct cutting one stem would make the tree asthetically unpleasing, so that isn't really an option. I was wondering if their might be other options? For example I suppose in the short term even more watering would help. In the long term would bracing the trunks help to prevent the splitting? Or would a major pruning reduce the tendency to split the tree and thereby reduce the stress. If so I assume we would have to wait until winter for a pruning?


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Brenda, It sounds like you have carpenter ants. They will take advantage of a tree that has damaged/moist wood in trees. Your tree may have much more extensive damage inside, if the carpenter ants have made an appearance. Your tree may need to be cut down, but without seeing the tree in person, it is difficult to correctly diagnose. I recommend that you either contact an arborist in your area or call your county Cooperative Extension office and request that they check your tree in person, then make a recommendation.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Susannah, Unless all of the leaves are wilted, or the leaves are dead around the edges and curling, I'd go ahead and apply the fungicide. As long as the tree seems well-watered, it should be fine. Be sure to wait for a good weather day to apply the fungicide, with little or no wind. Good luck!


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Siv Low, I think your trees, along with most other people's trees in the U.S., suffered stress with the unusual spring (with a late frost) we had this year. This in turn produces much smaller leaves. The good news is that the trees will recover, and with any luck from Mother Nature, will leaf out in all their glory next year.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Peter, I'm not sure exactly what caused the death of the other maple you spoke of, but unless the Japanese Maple is exhibiting the same problem, it probably isn't related. What is killing your tree, I believe, is that it has a split trunk, that is splitting even further. You probably only have one option, which is cutting off one of the trunks that developed in the Y. If that would make the tree aesthetically unpleasing, you probably should just cut down the tree. The reason the leaves are dying is because of the stress, and probably lack of water, due to the split.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Eric, The tree is savable, but it also depends on how much you want the tree, and is it aesthetically pleasing. Once the top of the tree has been cut off, especially a very young tree, it may not reach its true height. So, if you wanted a large, shade tree, you may want to replace this one, or just move it to another area of your property where looks/size aren't as important. As for types of trees that do well in high winds- pines usually fit the bill for the conditions you speak of, as do oaks.


Susannah Ray 6 years ago

Last fall, my husband and I planted an October Glory Red Maple in our yard. Around late May, after a very wet spring, he noticed that it was developing spots. I'm pretty sure it's anthracnose and have been picking up any fallen leaves. I had thought that the spots had stopped spreading (I don't seem to be getting any more leaves that turn completely brown), but it's recently put out some new leaves, but those too are developing spots. My big question now is whether or not I should spray it. I bought a "multipurpose fungicide, insecticide, and miticide" a while back (per the recommendation of the nursery where I bought the tree), but when I got home, I realized the directions said "Do not apply to wilted or otherwise stressed plants or to newly transported material prior to root establishment" - and it looks to me like the tree is pretty stressed out. So what should I do?


Peter 6 years ago

Hi there another post from the Pacific northwest about our red japanese maple. I took some photos today of our tree and the leaves but could not figure out how to attach them to my posting so I thought I would add a more detailed verbal description. Our tree is approximately 15 ft tall and 30 ft wide. The the trunk is >1 ft in diamter and has a split trunk (i.e two main stems from the base). The dying leaves (almost all at this point) are generally green in colour (even though it is a red maple) but the dead portion is purple and curled under. The leaves have numerous small holes in them as if they are being eaten by insects. I am not sure if it is related but a few years ago another large apparently healthy bigleaf maple (a local native species. approx. 2 ft diameter)on our property got some kind of whitish mildew on the leaves and the next year the tree was 100% dead.

Thanks again for any help or suggestions.


Peter 6 years ago

We live in the Pacific Northwest and have a large (approx 30 year old) well established Japanese Red Maple tree (not sure of the exact species)that has been suffering leaf die off in summer for the last three years. The tree look great in spring,and the first year it seeemd to be limited to only a few branches, but it appeared many of these branches also died after the leaves fell. Last year there were even more dead leaves, and some of the dead branches were split. This year the die off is extensive and we have lost 75% of the leaves on the entire tree. They just seem to dry up and die. From what I have read watering should not be required for a well established tree in our area (we also had a very wet spring)and I am worried the tree has reached the end of it's life span.

I hope you have some thoughts and suggestions.


Siv Low 6 years ago

I have a mature maple ( about35 - 40 years old) This year the leaves a much smaller than normal.

What could be wrong?


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Brian, I live in NY too. Yes, I suspect the weather is the reason behind your tree's condition. Lots of water and perhaps a little tree fertilizer should help your trees survive the summer. This condition you describe is sun scorch; the leaves may turn yellow or red, and in severe cases, turn brown and curl up around the edges. Trees usually recover from this condition when they're heavily watered (10-15 mins) every 3-4 days when there is no rain.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Natasha, I believe you are describing leaf scorch- the outer perimeter of the leaf becomes dry and brown and the edges curl up. The inner part of the leaf around the veins may remain green. Severely affected trees may exhibit leaf loss. Leaf scorch seldom kills trees; deep watering is the recommended treatment. Your tree(s) should recover if it is kept well watered during drought conditions.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Pat Pope, I don't think your tree is sick, rather, the age of the tree has much to do with what you're seeing. Older maples tend to leaf out on the outermost part of the branches, while the inner parts of the branches have fewer leaves and small branches. In addition, if the leaves seem smaller this year (and perhaps last year as well), I believe it may be due to the late frosts we've had. My maple leaves are much smaller, for example, because the initial set of leaves were hit by frost right before they opened.

Make sure your tree gets plenty of water during drought periods this year and perhaps use a liquid tree fertilizer or tree fertilizer spikes to help it quickly get over any stress. Follow the directions closely using these types of products so you don't burn the tree roots.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi cindi, The trees are probably under some sort of stress; it could be anything from not enough water to pests or even pesticides being used in the area. You could call the city to find out the reason (they may be aware of it) or call your county's Cooperative Extension office for answers.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Jeff, It sounds like sun scorch. I have it on my maple trees in my own front yard as well. In my case, the temps were in the high 80's to 90's for over a week without rain. Rest assured, your tree will recover from scorch. Keep giving it plenty of water during drought conditions, such as watering it directly for the 10-20 minutes every 3-4 days (minimum). Sprinklers are fine during normal temps/conditions.


Eric 6 years ago

Hi- I have a 3yr. old Autumn Blaze Maple. The trunk diameter is about 3" wide and the tree is about 7ft. tall. About 1 month ago, the tree was staked down and during a storm the top 1/3rd of the tree snapped off as well as a few lower branches. I cut the top cleanly at a downward angle and began watering daily. The leaves are turning red and I skipped a day of watering and on side the leaves are dying (brown and curling). I'm in the mid-west and temps are in the upper 80's -90's. Is this tree savable or should I pull it up and start over with a new one? If so, do you have a recommendation for a young tree planted in full sun and exposed to high winds? Thank you!


Brenda 6 years ago

Hi - I noticed what looked like sawdust around the base of my large soft maple tree. When I investigsted a little further I saw large black ants working hard on an old spot where a rather large limb had been pruned before we moved here 14 years ago. I'm guessing it is a soft spot in a 50 year old tree. Will these ants kill my tree? Should I try to get rid of them and if yes, how do I go aboput it?


Brian 6 years ago

Hi -- I have a red maple about 60 years old. Over the past few weeks, after a prolonged period of dry and very hot weather in NY, the leaves have turned from red to a greenish brown color and are drooping. Is this occurring from a lack of water? If so, will simply watering the area around the tree avoid any long-term damage/death? Thanks!


Natasha 6 years ago

Hi Gerber, just moved into a house with medium sized acer trees, I have no clue about gardening but think the trees might need some help! one of them is yellow/green in colour with reddish tips. The leaves are very small but the tree is quite dense, the leaves have curled from the tips and the tree looks like its dying. The second has deep red/purple leaves that now has little yellow spots on the leaves. Do you think these can be fixed, and if so how can i do this?

Thanks


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Randy, I'm guessing that the leaves have spots, like tar spots? If not, it could be leaf scorch, which is like your description, minus the spots. Leaf scorch can be remedied with deep watering during hot or windy conditions.

Anthracnose is different from leaf scorch in that the browning occurs in random spots on the leaves and along the veins. Leafscorch occurs around the perimeter of the leaf.

If you're still unsure whether your tree has anthracnose or not, contact your county Cooperative Extension office- they can come out and examine your trees to make a correct diagnosis.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Mike, Even though you state the tree is being watered well, it still sounds like leaf scorch, which can be remedied by deep watering during periods of dry weather and high winds. Additionally, the pot is causing restriction of the roots, which is contributing to the problem. If possible, get this tree planted ASAP in an area with as little wind as possible. Water it frequently as it will be more susceptible to disease if the situation isn't reversed soon.

Just to be clear about the symptoms of leaf scorch- the outer perimeter of the leaf becomes dry and brown and the edges curl up. The inner part of the leaf around the veins may remain green. Severely affected trees may exhibit leaf loss. Leaf scorch seldom kills trees; deep watering is the recommended treatment.


Pat Pope 6 years ago

For the past 3 years my Schwedler Maple (25 years old) has leafed out beautifully but when you sit under it & look up most of the bmaller branches are bare & look dead. After any windstorm there is always a plethora of these small dead branches scattered on the ground. I'd like to help this tree before it's shade is completely gone. To look at it from any angle other than while standing under the canopy, the tree looks full & healthy. No sign of anything other than a few earwigs around the tree. Please help. My husband gave me this tree for our 6th Anniversary. Thans.


cindi 6 years ago

our city has maple trees lined up all over the place. i have noticed that the trees are green and beautiful but the leaves are falling off green like it was fall but all the leaves are green what is happening? never seen this before.


Jeff 6 years ago

Hi Gerber,

I have a 5 year old silver maple that I grew from a seed that fell from my parents tree. It's been in my front yard growing very well for the past few years, and stands 10+ feet tall now. This year it has been growing just fine, many leaves and new branches, nice deep green color. Just within the last week or two I have noticed that the leaves are uniformily turning scarlet color, however are not dried out or spotted in any way. All my research says the tree is stressed, but I cannot figure out why. I soak the ground for about 3 days, once a month during the summer, and it gets water from the lawn sprinklers every third day for approx 20 mins. Any ideas as to what's happening and how I can fix it? I am very attached to my baby tree and want to see it survive. Thanks in advance, Jeff in central valley CA.


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randy 6 years ago

Our 5 year old Maple started losing leaves in the center of the trunk about 6 weeks ago. Now there are leaves all over the tree that are turning brown from the viens outward. I was told it could be Anthracnose, but uncertain how to treat it or if it is treatable this late in the season?


Mike 6 years ago

Hi Gerber,

Sounds like you're the go to guy for maple problems!

My wife and I just brought home a gorgeous new Fireglow about 2 weeks ago. Everything was fine - in the last week we had one savage windy day. Now, about 4 days later selective leaves are curling on the tree. It doesn't seem to be any particular size of leaf or location. However, I'd say about 60% of the leaves are fine and 40% have this curling problem. Where the leaves curl it can be just the "toes" of the leaf or the whole leaf. On the same branch one leaf could be curling tightly and the one adjacent could be perfect. The curled leaves are very very dry but not discoloured. The plant is still in it's pot but it has been kept watered - not that it's particularly sunny or hot here. Temp is about 16-22 degrees normally. I don't see any damage to bark or any sign of insects.

We have a separate bloodgood acer which used to be in the far corner of the garden. Due to the huge wind we put all the trees and plants together in the most sheltered part of the garden.

Now .. the bloodgood appeasr to be exhibiting the same problem.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

Mike.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Pat, Sounds like you have mealy bugs, which are sucking insects (I just added a photo of them to my slide show - slide #9). Yes, the Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub will get rid of them, but it may take a week to two weeks to totally kill them all. The Bayer treatment is absorbed through the roots of the trees, then as the bugs suck on the tree sap they will die. Go ahead, get a bottle of it and get an application on the ground ASAP. Next year, do this treatment once in the spring after the last frost and you'll avoid these bugs altogether.

As for the red/black spots, I agree - they're probably galls and those don't cause the leaking sap problem, nor will they kill your tree.


Pat  6 years ago

Help! My husband has been threatening to cut down our silver maples and I am beginning to agree with him. We have lived in our house in Pennsylvania for 20 years and have never experienced this problem with our trees. They have been drippping sap since spring to the point we cannot park in our driveway without cleaning the windshield first. You cannot sit on the deck without washing down the table and chairs first. Everything is covered. I thought this would go away with summer but I think it is getting worse. The leaves themselves look fine but they look wet and shiny. When you touch them they are sticky. Under the branches are little white cottony balls - about the size of an eraser. There are red/black dots on the top of the leaves also (looks like your maple bladder gall pictures) but we have had that in the past. Would the Bayer product work on this problem? If so how long before you see results and would it work on huge trees? Thank you for any help you can provide.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Sam, Some maple trees this past spring experienced die back due to a late frost/cold snap. If this is the only problem you notice, the tree may sprout a second set of leaves this summer, but they will be smaller than those on the "good side" of the tree. I would take a "wait and see" approach if the rest of the tree appears to be in good health, and it was healthy overall last year. In addition, try using a one-time application of a tree fertilizer to help your tree recover more quickly. Personally, I've had luck with Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub (available at WalMart and other similar stores in the garden section) for my maples.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi S. Baker, The spots sound like a fungal problem, but it also sounds like possibly something more serious, like verticillium wilt. Since you're actually losing trees to this I really think you should call your county Cooperative Extension office and request that they come inspect your trees. Don't plant any more maple trees until you have an answer as to what is causing the problem. If you have verticillium wilt, it lives in the soil and will continue to attack any new maples that you plant.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Paul, The foam insulation idea is intriguing, I've never used it in that way! I'm not sure how big this particular hole is- but you can also use pruning wax (available in a can) for filling holes that aren't incredibly huge. I don't think I would use cement though, only because eventually it will crack/pull away from the tree when exposed to the weather after a few years. Plus, the additional weight may not be good for the tree.

If your only concern is the ants, they aren't harming the tree; they're just attracted to the sap that the tree is dripping after the injury. Once the tree has begun healing, the sap will stop and the ants will disappear.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Patty and Sally, I think the two of you have the same problem- mealy bugs or scale insects. I've added a photo of them to the slideshow above in my article. To treat mealy bugs/scale, I've found the easiest way is to use Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub. It kills sucking insects, which are causing the "honeydew" (sticky, syrup-like substance) on your trees. You can get this product at places like WalMart, Lowe's and other similar stores or garden nurseries. Follow the directions exactly, and use it only once per year, since it also has a fertilizer in it.


Sam Enoch 6 years ago

I have a maple tree in my back yard. Half of the tree has leaves. The other halh of the tree is what I believe to be dead. No leaves, branches are very brittle and brake easly. Any suggestions?


S Baker 6 years ago

Hi, I've been planting sugar maples (small 18-24 inch saplings) on my property in Michigan for 5 years. I purchased some nice 12 foot trees last fall and planted them. Everything seemed to be fine but now most of the leaves are dead (dry up and turn brown) on one of the larger trees and the other one has lost a lot of the leaves in the top 1/3 of the tree. I have noticed that some of my small trees have brown spots on the leaves. Is it a fungal problem? What should I do?

Also I lost two larger sugar maple trees last year. Same thing happened, lost the leaves and then the trees died. I am ready to give up.....help!


Paul Gutowski 6 years ago

I have a large old Maple that has a large hole from where a large branch came off and it is filled with large black ants. Is there something I can fill this hole with like a foam insulation product? I have seen cement used but it would take a very large amount.

Thank you,

Paul Gutowski


Sally Fisher 6 years ago

Some dead branches have fallen from my enormous maple tree and are covered with white globs of white sticky stuff. I don't see anything inside the globs which are about the size of a dime. As I look up into the tree, I see the same 'stuff' lining the healthy branches. This stuff seems to be on the lower 1/3 of the tree. I'm guessing the height of the tree at about 50' and do not know how old it is because I've only lived here 3 years. No stuff was seen the last 2 years. Thank you...

Sally Fiher


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Paul and Amber, What someone told you about scraping the injured bark from the tree is true- it is called tracing. I'm providing a link to photos and a description of how to do this process from Cornell University: http://plantclinic.cornell.edu/FactSheets/barkspli...

This condition you describe is sometimes caused by a late frost followed by a rapid thaw, thus causing splits in tree trunks. The ants are coming because of the sap that is coming from the wound. They'll go away once the tree starts healing. If you're unsure about how to care for the tree or perform the tracing, call your county Cooperative Extension office for assistance- they have tree specialists who are ready to help.


Patty 6 years ago

Hi I have a maple tree in my back yard that has sap leaking on the west side of the tree. There seems to be insects the move within the bark of the tree. the sap only goes about three feet down the tree, and the tree looks wet in the area until you get close to observe it then you see that the sap is being leaked out of the tree. should I spray the tree for the insect? What is you suggestion pls


Paul and Amber 6 years ago

EARLY TREE DISEASE??? We have what may be a Japanese maple, about 15 feet tall, in front of our house in eastern Maryland. Soil is not very well drained, high amounts of clay and low lying, and it has been a very rainy year so far and much of last one too, but the tree has good drainage from where it stands as our yard slopes from there. On the south side of the bark it has a vertical thinly split region about 2 inches long with the bark around this sore turning black, and evidence of sticky maple dripping down the trunk under it and two feet down to the mulch below, where there are lots of tiny ants moving all around and up the trunk itself. I read elsewhere about using a sterile knife to cut around the sore and help the tree heal more efficiently (allegedly). Doesn't sound unreasonable, but not really sure what the root cause is, so hesitant how best to act.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi MelissaJ, The damaged root could be the source of the problem with the one side of the tree. In the late fall you may want to prune any dead branches, if that is what has happened to that side of the tree.

As for the tree not faring well, it probably will rebound since you have taken steps to correct the exposed root. While I hate to sound like a broken record lately, I've been using the Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub to treat my maples and other plants that were hit with the late frost. It helps reduce stress and stops many insects that would otherwise bother your trees. It only needs to be applied once a year. Next, I would make sure that the tree gets enough water if you don't have a lot of rainfall- your tree will need this kind of TLC all summer.

I don't think your tree is dying- it just needs a little extra care. Hopefully there won't be a late frost again next year!


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Scott M., I think you are describing Maple Leaf Gall, which is a fungus. Check out my slideshow at the beginning of my article- slide #7 is a photo of this type of gall. While it can be treated with a fungicide, it usually needs to be done by a professional, especially if the tree is large. It is important to note that maple leaf gall will not harm the tree- it is just unsightly.

As for your tree not growing as fast as you think it should, many maples this year and last were stressed because of the late frost that hit them. To counter this, try using a mild fertilizer (I use Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub)- you only need to use it once a year. Next, make sure your tree is getting enough water. If it isn't raining frequently, give the tree a good watering at least once a week. Your tree should rebound by mid-July; maple trees are generally very hardy.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Jeremy, Maples have had a really tough year, and many had it rough last year as well. The late frost, coupled with what seems like an increase in sucking insects are really stressing out the trees. I think the Bayer Advanced should help with reducing stress to your tree. Now the waiting game begins- most maples can leaf more than once when they are stressed, so your tree may show improvement by July. In the meantime, make sure your tree gets watered weekly (minimum) if there isn't any significant rainfall in your area.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi June, The gall condition won't kill the tree, but it is unsightly. The only thing to be done, other than ignore it, is to treat it with a fungicide. This is best done by a professional- especially if you have a large tree.


Scott M. 6 years ago

Great Site!

I have a young maple that has little pointed tips on the face of all the leaves, they are about 1/4 inch long and there are about 10 to 20 on every leaf. The tree is leafing well but not growing good. This is the second year I have noticed this. I haven't seen anyone else here with this problem.

Thank you for all your help.


MelissaJ 6 years ago

I bought my house about 4 yrs ago and there's a maple tree in the middle of my backyard. Last year it was not as full and this year it has even less leaves than last years. About a 3/4 of the tree has sparsh leaves and then 1/4 has no leaves at all (about 2 large branches on the same side). Part of the root had been exposed and damaged and grass had grown right up the root. I've covered the shown root and removed the grass that was right up to the tree. Is there anything else that you can suggest? or is it slowly dying? I don't know how old the tree is but it's not as full as the ones around my neighbour which are fine.


Jeremy 6 years ago

I have a couple autumn blaze maples that started to leaf this spring, but then lost it leaves and now only has leaves on part of the tree on one and almost none on the other. When inspecting the tree I noticed several of the ends of the branches had a small insect stuck to them. The insect is dead, but stuck to the ends where the leaves had died off. The insects look a bit like a musquito. I have treated the tree with Bayer Advanced a month or so ago. Any ideas? Thanks!

Jeremy


June 6 years ago

I have a maple tree that has the Maple Spindle Gall. What do I do for it or can anything be done? Thanks for any comment.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Mike in Houston, The problem your tree is experience is probably related to either not enough water throughout the growing season (the Japanese maple needs a lot!), or it is exposed to a lot of wind. Alternatively, the Japanese maple is susceptible to two other problems that cause similar leaf problems: aphids (visible on the underside of leaves), which leave a sticky residue - I use Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub, as it kills sucking insects and fertilizes at the same time. Another problem is Verticillium Wilt - requires pruning to remove the affected branches. I'd go with the least invasive methods first, since you're not sure of the source of the problem.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Mike, I suspect, based on your location, that your maple was anothr casualty of this year's late frost. Maple trees can leaf out more than once during a growing season if they are stressed, so hang in there. The tree should recover, though it may be a month or so before you see any improvement. In the meantime, help your tree avoid any more stress- give it a mild tree fertilizer (I use Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub once a year, available at nurseries and WalMart, for example), and be sure it is watered well at least once a week when there isn't sufficient rain.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Theresa, Are there other trees, specifically maple trees, in your neighborhood that are exhibiting the same problem? I'm guessing it may be due to the late frost this year, which affected maple trees just about everywhere. If the rest of your tree looks okay, I suspect that it was just to do a late frost. Otherwise, problem indicators you should look for include insects and insect damage, and cracks or other damage to the bark of the tree- these indicate other problems that would require treatment. Feel free to call your local Cooperative Extension as well- they can tell you if there is a disease or frost damage issue in your area.


Mike 6 years ago

We have a young Sugar Maple (4" diameter) that has looked healthy for the 10 years that it has been planted in our back yard. This spring it has yet to leaf out. In the last 2 weeks at the base of the lower branches (center of the tree) it has begun to leaf out, but no leafs yet on the surrounding branches. We live in the suburbs of Chicago and the soil consists of a fair amount of clay. Will the tree come back? Any advice that you can offer would be helpful. Thanks!


Mike in Houston 6 years ago

I have 4 Japanese maples in pots in Houston Texas. I have to keep them in pots because my yard has very little shade and I have to move them through out the year to keep them out of the direct sun. They are growing. My problem is they start out beautiful each year, but ALL develop a condition where the veins show in all the leaves, like a skeleton of the leaf is left, and then the leaves curl up and die and only the bare tree is left. What is doing this and how can I treat it? Thanks


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Louise, It almost sounds like you have mealy bugs. See my hub on Gardenias for the slideshow on garden pests: http://hubpages.com/hub/Gardenia-Problems. If that is the case, they can be treated with neem oil or Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub, which kills sucking insects.


Theresa 6 years ago

I have a 5yr old Maple here in Western Virginia that I noticed a few days ago has large sections that are turning orange, drying out, dying and dropping within a few days. There are large sections (whole branches) that are affected at the top of the tree. For the most part the remainder of the tree looks good. How can I tell if the tree just needs more water or it has a disease?


Louise  6 years ago

Have a beautiful dwarf Japanese Maple which is has just developed white fuzzy things on the leaf stems. I will try spraying with some simple green diluted 1 teaspoon to a gallon. What else should I do? I have a huge property with a ton of plants.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Jen VonD, I think you may be describing ladybird beetles, which feed on sucking insects (such as aphids which love maple trees). My suggestion is to treat your tree with Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub which will fertilize your tree and kill the sucking insects. It is available at most garden departments at retail stores (like WalMart). Follow the directions exactly to avoid over-fertilizing and burning your tree.

To see photos of these types of beetles, check out this website devoted to the subject: http://www.austinbug.com/coccinellidae2.html


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Dan, I'm hearing about this a lot all up and down the Eastern seaboard. I think your tree may have been affected by a late frost, which we had the first week of May. If this is the problem, your tree should spring back, albeit later than usual this year. Maples can leaf out more than once when they are stressed. Another cause may be too much salt in the soil, which can happen in areas where trees are close to road ways that are heavily salted in the winter. To help your tree in either of these circumstances, use a mild fertilizer (always a good idea at the beginning of the growing season) and keep it watered to help it recover.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Heather, I had to think about this one for a minute until I realized that what you're describing may not be blisters, but in fact, sucking insects feeding on your tree. Maple trees attract mealy bugs and aphids, both of which may be what you're describing. This problem can be treated with Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub treatment (you can get it at most garden centers). Just follow the directions exactly since too much of a good thing can actually burn your tree.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Julie, What you're describing is often caused by too much direct sun (known as sunscald), though you say your tree is somewhat protected from constant, direct sunlight. The next thing I can think of is aphids. Are the leaves sticky and have you noticed a black mildew-like substance? This is caused by sucking insects, namely aphids, which like maple trees. If this is the cause, try using Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub treatment. It is a liquid that you mix with water and apply to the ground around the tree. It will kill sucking insects and fertilize the tree as well. Follow the directions exactly so you don't burn the tree with the fertilizer in this treatment.


Jen VonD 6 years ago

So much information here! Our soft maple is in it's second year of leaf damage. We noticed this year a black insect on the leaves. It's shaped like a ladybug but with red spots. Looking at the pictures above, the leaves look a lot like the pear thrip picture. The ends of the leaves turn black and curl over. Is this something we can treat? This tree is very dear to me! It provides us so much shade in the summer. I would hate to lose it. Thank you for any help!!


Dan Ashman 6 years ago

I have a paperbark maple tree that at the end of May has no buds so no new leaves. Is this normal or is it dying?


Heather 6 years ago

Hello, I have noticed that there are black slimy blister type bumps all over the branches of the maple in my front yard. There is nothing on any of the leaves just covering all the branches. These bumps are moist and when removed a white powdering substance comes out. Would you have any idea what this is? Thanks, Heather


Julie J (California) 6 years ago

We planted a Japanese "Waterfall" maple in our back yard last spring, and it has been thriving in a well-protected, mostly shady corner of the yard. It's about three feet tall now, and this spring it leafed out beautifully. But the top branches are suddenly and dramatically dying back. At first I thought one branch had just been damaged somehow and cut that back, but now the next set of branches down are also dying. The leaves are shrivelling up and turning brown within a day or two, though the rest of the tree still looks just fine. The weather has been cloudy and mild, with light rain. I don't see any signs of insects or disease.

Any ideas what might be going on here, or what we should do?


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi MarkM, Are the surrounding sugar maples in a similar condition? Sometimes due to weather conditions the trees are slow to bud, and it may be due to a late frost. If June rolls around and there still isn't any buds or leaves, the tree could be beyond saving. However, before cutting it down, check with your local Cooperative Extension Office for your county. They should be able to visit the tree (for little or no cost) and determine whether it can be saved or not.


markM 6 years ago

I have a cottage property with 2 acres of trees, with towering old sugar maples. I built my cottage on a foundation fairly close to one of the large trees, so no doubt cut some roots. This spring, the tree has no buds or leaves at all. Could the tree just be shocked? Is there any hope of recovery for a huge old tree like this after an injury?


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Mike, Your tree should recover, though it may take most of the summer. Many arborists think you shouldn't coat the scraped off areas with tar, so the general thought is to let the tree heal naturally. What you may want to do though is try some Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed. It is a liquid you can add to water, then pour around the tree. It will protect the tree from insects (such as those who may be attracted to the bark wounds) and give it a little fertilizer boost. Just be sure if you use this product to follow the instructions exactly for your size of tree.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Ruth, I live in NY and am having the same problem with all of my different varieties of Maple. In my case, they are already starting to recover, though the current cold weather isn't helping to speed up the process! Your tree(s) should rebound though, given enough time and some warmer weather.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Marc, Maple trees are affected by weather, especially when they start budding in the spring. If you had a cold snap or late frost, it could be the cause of the poor budding on your tree. The tree should survive, however, and may leaf out even more once warm weather settles in.


Mike 6 years ago

Last year, I planted several maple trees. Two of them were fairly small...maybe 2 or 3 gallon pots. During the fall, deer rubbed their antlers on them and peeled of quite a bit of bark. There is new growth down low below where the deer rubbed the trees. When I scratch the bark above where the deer rubbed, it appears to be green and is flexible. However, the leaves have not come out so far. Does it sound like the trees are dying, or will they be able to make it.


Ruth Morgan 6 years ago

I have the same problem as Marc (only half of my Maple has leaves on it)except I live in New Jersey. We also had one of the worst winters here in South Jersey, however, everyone elses Maples in my neighborhood seem fine. Should we cut it down and start over?


marc 6 years ago

This spring only half the tree has leaves on it. here in florida we had the second coldest winter on record, and this fall I cut down a maple tree of simular size about 30 feet away and poisned the trunk so it could rot. Did any of these things contribute to only half the tree budding out and producing leaves. Also I scratched the bark the branches appear to be alive. Thanks


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Teresa, My apologies for not responding sooner. Seems this question got lost in my comments queue! I'm not sure if your tree has revived by this point, but going forward, when there is a drought, water your trees at least once a week to help them avoid stress that would make their leaves dry up and fall off. Maples can produce a second set of leaves in one growing season, especially if they endure some sort of severe stress, much like what you're describing has happened. Just be sure to give your little tree plenty of water and perhaps a little tree fertilizer (follow the directions exactly!). It should rebound by mid-summer.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Laurie, I'm not sure if you mean there are branches with leaves growing from the lower trunk of the tree, or if you mean the lower branches are the only ones with leaves and not the top of your tree. In the first case, if you have branches sprouting from the trunk of the tree near the ground, prune those away. In the other case, the tree may have suffered some sort of damage, possibly sun scald, last year, which would explain why the leaves died at the top of the tree. Be sure to provide your tree with lots of water this year and fertilize it with a commercial preparation in the spring (follow the directions exactly to avoid a different kind of defoliation problem). Sounds like your tree just needs some TLC after a tough year last year.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Corinne, you can send me photos if you wish to info@smallfarms4you.com. I suspect with a tree that old that it could be just woodpeckers, since they would be after bugs under the bark of the tree. Additionally, it may be a the borer beetle, depending upon where you live. If you wish, contact your local Cooperative Extension office. They will respond to your request for identification of the problem, especially if you include photos.


Corinne 6 years ago

I have a sugar maple that's more than 100 years old. After wind storms lately I've been finding dead branches. I noticed there are bore holes in the branches. Also, there is a branch up high that has the bark stripped. I suspect this is from some kind of borer, or else a woodpecker? I have pictures. Where can I send them to? Thank you for any comments.


Laurie 6 years ago

I have a maple and not sure of the variety but it is about 3-4 years old. the first 2 years it grew wonders and leaves were beautiful. Now last year and it seems to be happening this year also only the bottom of the tree is getting leaf buds, and the leave that do grow are georgeous and full just nothing at the top. Any suggestions. I really dont want to take it down because its still so beautiful.


TERESA 6 years ago

MY DWARF PIXIE MAPLE LEAVES ARE DRIED AND DEAD LOOKING HAVE BEEN SINCE THE END OF FALL SOME NEVER FELL OFF I WAS WONDERING IF IT IS REVIVABLE, NOT SURE BUT THINK IT RAINED AND THEN GOT HOT WHEN THIS HAPPENED BUT REALLY HAVE NO CLUE. PLEASE ANY ADVICE WOULD BE HELPFUL.


Annie 6 years ago

Its a little helpful. I just dont know how to find one in my yard.


Erica 6 years ago

I have a beautiful huge Silver Maple in our front yard in Burbank, CA. When we moved into this house in 1999, the exiting owners had the tree severely trimmed...we tried to do a gentler thinning in 2005? We recently had a huge limb break off after a storm...only to be told by a couple of arborists that it was hopeless. Our tree is riddled with boring beetles, because of the wounds inflicted when it was improperly trimmed. I'm still desperately wishing there is some way to rescue this beautiful tree. If not, does anyone know any special ways to memorialize their tree? How to make something from part of her?

In grief,

Erica


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Grace, I believe you're describing tip burn, which is common, especially during the hottest months of the year. Common causes are chlorinated water, too much fertilizer, and too much sun. Let chlorinated water sit in a bucket for a day before using and keep the soil for the tree moist during the summer months. Over-fertilizing may also cause white tipped leaves.

In addition, these trees like slightly acidic soil, so place some coffee grounds around the base of the tree occasionally.

While the shade issue might be difficult to remedy, consider using garden screens during the day or perhaps plant another larger tree nearby that will produce some shade for your garden.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Rex M., I'm including a link to a site that has drawings and photos of the different maple trees. This should help you with identification. (http://www.waterfordva-wca.org/nature-garden/trees... Maple Trees) As for the question on syrup quality due to proximity to the road, it shouldn't have any real impact. We have many roads in the area (near Hornell, NY), that are lined with sugar maples that are tapped each year, with no problems.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Ethan, I'm guessing that it is a "sucker," which most plants have, including trees. These shoots appear around the base of the tree, on limbs that have been cut off and in-between existing branches further up the tree. You can either cut it off (it will make the tree look better aesthetically), or leave it. I, however, would probably remove it.


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Gerber Ink 6 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Jackie, The best thing you can do to avoid the disease you describe is to keep your yard clean from debris in the fall. The spores over-winter in the dead leaves. While you may be able to keep your own yard clean, if you have neighbors with the same problem (and they don't clean up in the fall), it is likely that these air-borne spores will be back in the spring regardless of your efforts.


Rex M 6 years ago

I planted a maple tree in my front yard that I found in the woods approximately 22 years ago. I live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. I have two questions: first I am unsure what type of Maple tree it is - but the leaves are very large - five to six inches in width - I'm thinking a sugar maple - but not positive - how can I make a positive ID? Secondly, I planted it on a little rise - but it's only about six feet from the side of the road. There does not seem to be any visual damage from the use of roadway salt over the past twenty years. Question - if I were to tap the tree for sap/syrup - would the close proximity to the road have any effect on the quality of the taste of the syrup?


Grace W. 7 years ago

I have a laceleaf Japanese maple. I have just noticed the tips of the leaves appear white. I don't know what is causing this problem. I have other laceleaf's in a different part of my garden and they don't display this white color on the edges of the leaf. What do you think the proble could be. The tree gets plenty of sun, and sits right in the middle of a japanese garden that I have created. Have looked elsewhere to see what it might be. thanks for any advice you can give.


John 7 years ago

Hi,

I have two Norway maples that look like they have either anthracnose or verticillium wilt. I've checked a couple branches, but none seem to have the dark inner streaking of verticillium. Is there any other way to tell the two diseases apart?


Ethan 7 years ago

I have a maple tree that has done absolutely fine for almost 5 years. However, this year only a few branches leafed out and there is a new branch (or plant) that has shot out of the trunk near the bottom. This new branch/plant has huge dark green leaves that almost look like maple leaves, but they are huge (like 8-10 inches across). It is really looking bad. Any idea what this might be? I'm in Wisconsin, if that helps. Thanks.


Jackie 7 years ago

We have recently had a red maple transplanted in our front yard. We were told the tree has a fungas and we should remove all the leaves from around the tree before spring to keep it from returning. There are small holes in leaves, I'm assuming it's anthracnose. Is there anything else we can do to keep it from returning. The trunk is 3" diam. Thank you


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi John K. RI, Several things come to mind, so I'll list them. Sometimes it is difficult without a photo. The first thing I think of when you describe this is leaf tatter. The leaves look like they've been chewed, but there are no signs of insects. This problem is caused when leaves begin to bud in the spring, but there is a frost or snowfall right after. This causes the leaves to develop a tattered and torn appearance when the leaves fully open.

The second thing is aphids, which have been pretty awful this year. By the time you notice the problem, they may already be gone. While I have a photo of these insects in my slideshow above, sometimes they are little grayish looking and very tiny. If you think this could be the problem, try using Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub care products available at nurseries and home and garden centers. They're easy to apply and are absorbed through the tree's root system.

The third thing, though less likely, is Pear Thrips. You can treat this the same way you do aphids with the Bayer products. A photo of this is also in my slideshow.

These are my best guesses- hope this solves your problem!


John K. RI 7 years ago

For the past few years the maple trees in my yard will produce leaves, but then practically all the leaves appear to get partially eaten by, what seems to be, insects, although I never see any. The trees seem to eventually produce enough leaves to survive each year. I also have a plum tree that has the same symptoms. Any thoughts?


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Bob, There are several things that could make green leaves fall off of maple trees mid-season - scales, aphids or drought stress. If this were happening early in the season, I might guess Maple Petiole Borer (this is distinguished by darkened area near the leaf blade where it attaches to the stem).

If you suspect it is scale or aphids, I suggest trying Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Care products. These products should be available at your local nursery or home and garden store and they're really easy to use for the home gardener.

If you've had a hot and dry temps over the past few years, your tree needs more water each week. Try watering them regularly (late in the evening) until cooler weather returns.


Bob Midland ON 7 years ago

Thanks for yoursite! I have a maple (sugar) approx. 50-60 years old in my front yard. About six years ago it started to drop leaves in the latter part of June and continues through fall. The leaves are for the most part green and yellow, some are just green and small. They don't come from any specific section of the tree. Daily I can fill half a clear garbage bag and with a wind or rainstorm I can fill it! Any advice would be appreciated.


jonty 7 years ago

Very well written hub .....

very much informative ......

Thank you very much for your great hub, for good advice, good wishes and support. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.


JT 7 years ago

Leaf tatter it is...this makes sense. Thank you


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Gene Tuttle, There are two things that cause the situation you're describing. Salt damage, which is caused by salt trucks in the winter- then when the snow melts in the spring the trees closest to the road absorb too much of it, causing the tree to look like it is dying. This can be combated by watering more frequently and using fertilizer spikes to help return the pH balance to the tree.

The second problem is anthracnose, which can be deadly (see info section above). If you notice other trees in your area suffering the same problem, I would suspect this disease instead of salt damage. The only way to correctly diagnose this disease is to get a core sample analyzed. Call your local Cooperative Extension office for information on this kind of analysis, if you suspect this is the problem.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Francine, Maple trees have a life span of about 100 years or so. I'm not surprised that if you have a stand of them, all around the same age, that they're finally dying off. What you're describing sounds like sooty-mold, which doesn't kill trees though. It is caused when the tree oozes honeydew, which makes mold/fungus grow and attracts insects. Sooty mold can be treated with a fungicide, available at most nurseries and garden centers.

If your tree has other symptoms not mentioned here, consider contacting your local Cooperative Extension office. Their Master Gardeners or tree specialists can answer your questions, based on problems that commonly arise in your particular area of the country.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi JT, I believe you're describing leaf tatter, which is caused when the buds are just starting to open in the spring, then there's a cold snap/frost. This causes the leaves to develop with slices and holes in them. This is a temporary setback and won't kill your tree.

The other problem is Pear Thrips which cause a warped, sliced appearance to the leaves. I've added a photo of this problem to my slideshow above.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Caryl, I believe you're describing a common problem this year- leaf tatter. It is caused when the leaf buds begin to open, then there is a late frost. This causes the leaves to develop with holes or "slices" in the leaf. This would explain why you don't see any insects on the affected leaves. Your maple will survive this temporary setback.

There is one other problem that may cause a tattered leaf appearance, that is Pear Thrips. These are insects that cause a warped, sliced appearance to leaves. I've added a photo of it to my slide-show above.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Sue, Was your tree injured prior to the onset of the fungus? Trees that are injured (possibly due to a cold snap this spring or caused by a lawn mower or weed whacker) will ooze honeydew which mold spores stick to. This causes a black, soot-like mold to appear, most often on the trunks on trees. This may be what you're describing. Fungicide should be applied to the affected area (available at nurseries and garden centers)to kill any fungus growing on your tree.


Caryl Fabian 7 years ago

A soft Maple tree in the parkway has a section of brown very lacy leaves which are falling off. There are a few leaves here and there with the same symptom. I don't see any bugs, but something is eating the leaves away. What to do?


Sue 7 years ago

My sugar maple which is at least 50 years old has gone through several phases of what seems to be deterioration. The bark has peeled off and the "meat" of the tree seems to be shrinking back. Now on this exposed part of the tree I noticed what was reddish looking "fern" shaped growth. Within a day the red fungus(?0 turned black and has now spread. It is ugly and I fear for my tree. Any ideas for me?


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Matthew, I would keep doing what you're doing in regards to using the fertilizer spikes if your soil is sub-standard. Many housing developments use fill soil that isn't really ideal for the plants they plunk down in it. My first thought was shock, the second was salt. If you live in an area where salt is used in the winter and your tree is that close to the road, you'll need to water it quite a bit to help counter-act the effects in the spring.

It isn't too late to put those fertilizer spikes in- I'd do it soon and keep up with frequent watering during August.


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Melissa5, It sounds as if your tree has been girdled by the rope, which may mean your tree won't make it. The description of the dead crown of the tree is what has me concerned. Of course the dead crown could be caused by other conditions and diseases. Sometimes trees can overcome girdling, but not always if the damage was done to the trunk of the tree. If your tree's crown still doesn't leaf out next spring, the tree should be replaced.


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Roslyn, Guessing from your description, it sounds like leaf gall. While this is an unsightly condition of the leaves, it doesn't kill the trees. The trees can be treated with a commercial fungicide, but since the entire tree (as well as its neighbors) need to be treated, it is best left to professionals- and it can be very costly for the treatment.


Gene Tuttle 7 years ago

I have a maple tree that for the past 2 years the leaves on the crown are samller and die out during the summer. Over all the tree leveas give the tree a less dense look. The tree is about 15 - 20 years old. Any ideas?


Francine 7 years ago

Completely devistated at the death of a 100 year old sugar maple and others looking like they are on their way out. Small black spots are appearing randomly on the trunk and milipedes are eating them to shit. Please help before they are all gone!!!


JT in CO 7 years ago

My Maple has leaves that are green but have that shredded look. New gowth shows well formed leaves. None of the diseases described seem to fit these observations. I'm wondering what is causing these leaves to have that torn up look. I don't see any insects.


Matthew 7 years ago

I have a red maple tree that never developed any leaves on one side this year. The branches are not dead - they are still limber, just bare. Here is a picture: http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll83/eysterfami...

The tree was planted about 2 1/2 years ago and has about a 3 1/2-4" trunk at present. It is on the east side of the house and receives full sun until about 4 PM each day. I deep water the tree at least once every 2 weeks and seasonly used fertilizer stakes (although this year I didn't get them in until May). Last year it looked great - fully leafed out. My suspicion is that the tree has entered mild shock as it roots have outgrown its original burlap-sacked rootball and found the pathetic clay that passes for soil in these parts. (The company that planted the tree simply dug a hole and plopped the rootball and tree into the hole). I suspect this because the trees (red maple, emereld maple, and ash) that I personally planted in the backyard are super healthy and growing about 4 ft per year. (I augered a 4' deep hole for each and mixed about 80 lbs manure + 80 lbs topsoil into each hole). However, I havent' had an expert look at the tree to confirm my suspicions.

Thanks, I really appreciate your help! This website is a treasure.


melissa5 7 years ago

Thank you for your blog. I have a 3 year old Maple Tree(no idea what variety). There are currently no leaves growning on the upper section of the tree. We were horrified to discover that the tree still had the Tie-Down rope from planting it 3-4 years ago and it was dug into the bark. We cut the rope off and now the bark is peeling around the scar. We have only been in the house 2 months so I can't say how the tree looked last year. Should I wrap the trunk? Any other suggestions would be appreciated because it really want to save the tree. Thanks again!


Rosalyn 7 years ago

Your website shows more about tree problems than many other websites. But you didn't seem to mention my problem. Many maple trees in my area (Nelson, B.C.) have been getting some disease, but I don't know what. It hasn't killed anything, though it really puzzles me. This disease looks like little, raised bumps- like red acne.

Hope you can help.

Rosalyn


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Bette, The environment isn't being very kind to our trees this year. Either there is too much rain in the northeast, or too much sun in the south. I live in NY and my maples only recently began to really leaf out over the past two weeks. If they seem to be getting leaves only on the inner branches, it could be related to too much rain in your area. If things don't improve within the next two weeks, contact a local nursery or your Cooperative Extension office in your county. They give free advice and could let you know if there is an insect or disease problem related to maples in your locale.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Nena, This sounds pretty serious. The split in the trunk was caused by the Y in the tree- instead of it growing a single, dominant leader it had two. The leaves and the sprouting at the bottom of the tree are called suckers. If the top half of the tree is dying or already dead, and if the tree isn't that old, it may be better to just replace it. Otherwise, you will have to just nurse it through this bad patch and remove the suckers. Do this with clean, sterilized pruning shears. Unfortunately, it will always be a weaker tree because of the original formation of the Y in the trunk.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Ron, I'm not sure what your weather has been like, but if it has been raining there a lot, or people have been over-watering the trees, it can cause this to happen. Another cause is having the pH of the soil off balance. There isn't much you can do if it is caused by rain, but if it is from watering, cut back on this a little. As for the soil pH, use fertilizer spikes that can be purchased at just about any home and garden center, but be sure to read the directions carefully to avoid "burning" the roots.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Jon, Since you mention the close proximity to a roadway, it makes me wonder whether the trees are suffering from salt damage. I live in NY as well, and we use quite a bit of salt during the winter, particularly over the past few years with severe winters. If this is the problem, it could be remedied by using tree fertilizer spikes to bring the soil back to the proper pH levels. While I don't have a favorite fertilizer brand, most any will suffice. Just read the directions carefully so you don't "burn" the tree roots. If you don't see any improvement within 4-6 weeks, contact your local Cooperative Extension office and see if they could visit the affected trees to diagnose the problem.


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi John, I think you're describing sun scald which maple trees are very susceptible to, especially in warmer climates. Young trees can be protected from this by wrapping the trunk of the tree with paper trunk wrap from the end of October through the first week of May each year. While the scarring is unsightly right now, the proper protection coming this fall will help your tree in the future. Your trees should survive this affliction.


Bette Konop 7 years ago

Hi - my name is Bette.

I live in Long Island. Do I have any hope for my maple? Last summer I had some large branches removed because of no leaf growth. The rest of the leaves fell early in the fall. This spring I saw buds, but this is July 3, and there are no leaves yet. I see another tree on the next block the same. Could it be late frost, late spring, more rain than usual? I really feel sad and miss my tree and all the shade it brings in the summer. Can anyone help me?


Nena Renfrew 7 years ago

I have a maple tree in my backyard. It has grown beautifully the last few years. This year the leaves started growing and then (the tree is shaped like a Y about 3 feet above ground) one side of the tree the leaves all died. Now the other side is also. There is a split in the trunk but that's it. It has started growing from the bottom now with huge leaves. What can I do? Thank you for you help.


Ron Heil 7 years ago

In my neighborhood north of Pittsburgh Pa, the leaves on one of my maples (Red-something; so-called becuase its fall leaves are red) has branch ends dying off. On just the end, the leaves wilt, turn brown, fall off, and the wood has obviously died. This only seems to affect the branch down to the first side-shoot. I have seen other maples in the neighborhood similarly affected, and of all different types of maples. One poor Red Maple looks like a bush because all its branch tips have died and only the inner branches have leaves.


Jon 7 years ago

Hello, great site! I am in a desperate mode. I live in northern NY. My home is surrounded by several species of trees (Sugar Maple, White Oak, Spruce, Walnut, etc.) and it is one of the aspects I most enjoy. However, around 6 years ago, 1 of 2 Sugar Maples within 20ft of the highway started losing it's leaves early in the fall. The next spring only 3/4 of the leaves returned, the next year, the tree lost an additional 25% of it's leaves and branches started dying. Within 5 years the tree had completely become leafless and the bark from the trunk started falling off in large sections. I cut the poor tree down. The next year the other Sugar Maple within 20 ft of the road and 20ft from the dead tree began the similar cycle. Please note that these 2 trees are underneath 13KV electric lines and the utility company once a year cut the tops off from both trees. As sugar maples, they were only allowed to grow 30ft tall because of this practice. I am desperate to save the last maple and I've noticed that 2 oak trees within 15ft have dead low branches. I never noticed any leaf issues with the maples, but simply the lack of leafs, dead branches, and then bark falling off the trunks. Any suggestions would be extremely appreciated.


John 7 years ago

I have 2 young red maples (2-3 yrs old). Each one has several areas on the main trunk and branches where the bark has peeled back in a thin sheet. I believe that these areas are then developing a sore spot where the edges of the exposed areas form a scab. We live in S.E. coastal Georgia so we are not exposed to your typical winter weather, but the heat is another matter.

Your help/suggestions on this issue are appreciated. Thanks


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Carla, I think you have either mealy bugs or scale (see my hub on Gardenia Problems- I have photos of these bugs in a slideshow). Yes these bugs can spread to other plants. Mealy bugs can be sprayed with a soap solution (1 tsp of liquid soap to 1 gallon of water). Scale can be treated with a horticultural oil, which can be purchased at a local nursery (sold often as Neem Oil). Both of these types of bugs can do damage quickly- so treat the tree as soon as possible.


nascarla 7 years ago

I have a "rescued" green maple and I don't know the variety as I got it from a colleague because her horses kept eating the tree down to its trunk every spring. I dug it up from her a couple of years ago and it is happy in my yard, albeit odd shaped because of its life. I just noticed several white fuzzy spots on the underneath of many branches with small grayish bugs attached to the spots. When I try to touch the bugs they jump (quickly!), Can you tell me what this is and (1) if I need to spray to eradicate it and (2) if it could spread to my precious laceleafs which I have. They are not in very close proximity to this adoptee regular type maple. Thanks for any help. I have a picture of the tree I can send if it would help.

Carla Cozzen, Charlotte, North Carolina


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Lucia, The problem could be a few things- first maple trees aren't really happy in pots- they have a far reaching root system and need to be in a permanent place in the soil. If you can find a good place for them (they do like full sun), transplant them as soon as possible. Also, maple trees in your area need to be in moist soil. They don't like being dried out.

Second, it could be a soil nutrient issue, whether they are in pots or not. Depending upon the age of these trees, I would suggest using a fertilizer specifically designed for trees- follow the directions exactly or your tree may suffer from root or leaf burn after the application. Don't use fertilizer spikes if the trees are just seedlings.


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Irene, If you experienced a wet spring this year, like many areas of the U.S., this may just be a temporary problem. A second set of leaves should return. If this doesn't happen, I would call your local Cooperative Extension agent to have them check the tree. Occasionally maples suffer from Verticulum wilt, and the only way to know for sure is to take a core sample from the trunk of the tree.

Another cause could be salt injury- are your trees near the road? If so, they may need amended soil to correct the pH balance (fertilizer capsules or spikes can help fix this- but follow the directions exactly to avoid "burning" the tree).


Lucia McCanna 7 years ago

I live in SanDiego. I have 3 maple trees that I pulled out of my Mom's planters in Wisconsin and decided to give them a try here. They are about 3 years old, and they are growing in pots. The leaves came out green and beautiful this year, but within a month, they started looking yellow and curling on the edges. They almost looked sunburned, so I moved them to a more shady place, but they still don't look very healthy. I'm wondering if the are missing something that they don't get from the environment here.


Irene 7 years ago

I have two beautiful 10 years old sugar maples in my backyard.One of them was very slow this spring. And now leaves are wilting and falling down like in the autumn. What is happening.


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi trottthomas, I believe you're referring to eriophyid mites, which create a mosaic effect on the leaves. There isn't anything you can do for this, but it won't damage the tree either.


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Dawn, If you get a chance, please respond to my questions: what kind of maple tree do you have? Also, is all of the damage limited to a few branches, the entire tree, or just the crown of the tree? This can help me narrow this down.


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Lindsay, I need to get a picture of this posted on my hub. I believe you are describing maple leaf gall. It isn't attractive, but it won't hurt your tree. In some states it can be treated with a commercial fungicide, but it is expensive for most home owners who only have a few trees to treat. (The entire tree has to be sprayed). If you're interested in doing this, it would have to be done every year, usually in the spring. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office to find out if there is a treatment available in your state if you want to give it a try.


Lindsay 7 years ago

The leaves on my grandmothers maple tree are starting to get pointy type pods on them, I can't find anything online that looks or sounds like this, do you have any ideas?


trotthomas@ctcn.net 7 years ago

what is tiny red spots on my maple leaves


Dawn 7 years ago

help, my new maple trees that are only two years old were doing well up to a week ago now the leaves are wilting and turning brown with losts of holes in them. I see nothing on the leaves, but looks like something is eating the leaves.


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Gerber Ink 7 years ago from upstate New York Author

Hi Ann, Depending upon where you live, a late frost or snow fall can kill emerging leaves, especially if the frost occurs over several days at a time. I live in NY and the maples in my front yard are looking a little sparse this spring, in regards to leafing out. If you don't notice any other problems with your tree, my best guess is that this is what happened (frost). Alternatively, your local Cooperative Extension office is always a great source of free information - give them a call if your tree doesn't appear to rally.


Ann 7 years ago

75% of the leaves on my 30 year old Japanese maple did not come out this year. Do you think it is because we had an early heat spell and they started to come out but then died? Will they come back next year. I think the same thing happened to my Eastern Redbud last year and the affected branch bloomed and had leaves this year so I'm hoping...

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