Can anyone help me diagnose what wrong with this red maple?

JoshR

Active Member
#1
Not sure if this is the best section on the forum but here 'goes anyways. I planted this several years ago and has been healthy until last year. I built my porch 2 years ago and I think I cut a root when I was digging the hole for the posts. Oops! Well anyways, I don't know if that would have caused these problems or not. My guess is yes but then as I said, I'm not sure. I had a little bit of dieback last year and a more significant amount this spring when it bloomed out. Also, I tied it over for about a year and a half in an attempt to train the new growth in an direction away from the roof.
 

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JD3000

Well-Known Member
#2
Doesn't look too promising. Not much if any reaction to pruning wounds. Looks like it may have been mulched too deeply. Root loss from construction probably not helping.

Start over in a better location?
 

colb

Well-Known Member
#4
Maybe hire a local arborist to look at it? Pictures are great, but tough too...

I don't see a root flair - why?

Is the root ball surface above, below, or level with the adjacent landscape horizon?

The pruning cuts are okay overall, and at least a couple were "enthusiastic" ;) - not bad for a homeowner.

It looks like the tree, above ground and below, has no targets. Time is on your side. Keep bending that tip, or prune it to similar effect.

Would there have been freeze damage, herbicide treatments to the grass, or changes in watering regimen? Has there been *any* change?
 

KTSmith

Well-Known Member
#5
Here's a case where even if the tree was 100% healthy and happy, it's too dang close to the porch by a meter or more. I realize that the tree predates the porch. Start again, preferably after you have all the house/porch/hardscaping done.
 

JoshR

Active Member
#6
Here's a case where even if the tree was 100% healthy and happy, it's too dang close to the porch by a meter or more. I realize that the tree predates the porch. Start again, preferably after you have all the house/porch/hardscaping done.
Yes I understand that it is too close. I thought about transplanting it further away but, considering my experience in transplanting is limited and I knew there was a risk of it dying anyways so I just opted for trying to pull it over and if it lived maybe it could be a neat tree for the kids later on down the road.
 

JoshR

Active Member
#7
Maybe hire a local arborist to look at it? Pictures are great, but tough too...

I don't see a root flair - why?

Is the root ball surface above, below, or level with the adjacent landscape horizon?

The pruning cuts are okay overall, and at least a couple were "enthusiastic" ;) - not bad for a homeowner.

It looks like the tree, above ground and below, has no targets. Time is on your side. Keep bending that tip, or prune it to similar effect.

Would there have been freeze damage, herbicide treatments to the grass, or changes in watering regimen? Has there been *any* change?
Colb, my hand saw wasn't with me when I decided to cut a few of those limbs so I used my loppers. I Haven't cleaned the knobby ones up yet? Was there anything else you noticed about my cuts?

I don't remember for sure how deep I planted it but, I probably planted it so that the roots would have been maybe an inch or 2 underneath the surrounding ground. That's what I've done with some shrubs that I've tried to salvage.

The bed around it is some cedar stump grindings I put around it to try to give it some organic material to absorb as it decayed.

Last fall I did spray some roundup on the grass. I haven't watered it much anymore as well. Last summer was exceptionally dry. We actually are still considered to be in a long term drought. So maybe hat has something to do with it?

My response may seem a little bit all over the place but thanks for your response!
 

colb

Well-Known Member
#8
Colb, my hand saw wasn't with me when I decided to cut a few of those limbs so I used my loppers. I Haven't cleaned the knobby ones up yet? Was there anything else you noticed about my cuts?

I don't remember for sure how deep I planted it but, I probably planted it so that the roots would have been maybe an inch or 2 underneath the surrounding ground. That's what I've done with some shrubs that I've tried to salvage.

The bed around it is some cedar stump grindings I put around it to try to give it some organic material to absorb as it decayed.

Last fall I did spray some roundup on the grass. I haven't watered it much anymore as well. Last summer was exceptionally dry. We actually are still considered to be in a long term drought. So maybe hat has something to do with it?

My response may seem a little bit all over the place but thanks for your response!
Hi @JoshR , proper pruning cuts usually occur precisely at the outside edge of the branch collar. Try gross cutting out away from the trunk, then cutting off the remaining unweighted stub.

Planting below the adjacent horizon is generally a long-term sentence to malaise, for a plant. Plant just above next time, accounting for settling in addition.

Mulch should be a few inches off the trunk to promote airflow and avoid trunk rot.

Maples where I am at are often weak in appearance and a bit of a primary successional tree, often in wetlands. Yours, planted high and dry, looks out of place, to me, but I defer to your local ecologists... Yours isn't the first maple to bite it, if it does. I respectfully disagree that it was planted too close to the structure (considering how you have trained it - good work!), but I would personally choose a bit more distance next time...

Better get that strap out too...
 

JD3000

Well-Known Member
#10
As far as it happens? Yes.

In your case the tree was moved so infection and decay could have moved up from a severed root. Within the realm of possibilities.
 

JoshR

Active Member
#11
As far as it happens? Yes.

In your case the tree was moved so infection and decay could have moved up from a severed root. Within the realm of possibilities.
The tree was not moved. I considered it but opted for flexing it over. But I did sever a root when digging a post for the porch though.
So that's what I thought when I came across that page in the book. That is, the root got some infection or something of that nature, from the open wound of the root.

I wonder if the vessels in the portion of wood that died were directly connected to the root that was cut.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#14
Some species root y is in direct continuity with branch x. Others are more diffuse... Maple is one of the y to x trees...
 
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