This bark was damaged a little when I planted the tree 2 years ago. Now 2 years later is looks a little worse. Should I be concerned? If so, anything I can do to help it? Thanks.
Looks like it's planted too deep. I think the odds are very high you are going to lose this tree.
I don't see many of those hybrid maples doing to well around town. The city of carrollton planted a bunch of them as street trees and they are not looking too good so far. Lots of hot concrete around there. In cooler turf areas they might have a better chance. Sorry had to rant.
Looks like decay is progressing faster than the tree can contain it. Almost looks like frost crack/sunscald initiated the damage then the tree was planted (possibly too deep) and did not have the root coverage or energy available to deal with the injury. At this point, I do not believe the tree will recover long term. In other words live or die, that wound will always be present.
How does the rest of the tree look? Is is leafed out fully?
I have 5 AB maples with about 2.5" caliper at my house and they get a little sun damage the past 2 winters but did heal up by the end of the year from the first time they were damaged. I am going to wrap mine this next winter and would have in the past if I had been aware of what caused the injury.
What ark said.
So the tree is planted too deep based on the pic or where the root flare is (or isn't)? I know when I planted the tree I purposely planted it a tad high to account for settling and currently, it's a little higher than the ground around the tree. If the tree is planted to deeply (in terms of the location of its root flare) then I guess this tree was doomed before I even bought it. Having said that, the tree appears very healthy on top and is nicely leafed out and green. It's gone thru two N. Texas summer here and besides the bark problem, seems very stable in that time. At this point, anything I can do to give it the best survival chance? Appreciate all the responses. Thanks.
B&B are commonly too deep. Current nursery business plants hereabouts are turning to containerized for this very reason.
What are all those little blue granules?
"B&B are commonly too deep. Current nursery business plants hereabouts are turning to containerized for this very reason."
Then you have disatrous gridling root systems in the containers...you just can't win!
First thing is to carefully probe around the trunk and locate the root flare. Unfortunately, all along the way from the growing site to the nursery before you bought your tree, the tree has most likely had soil piled on top of the root flare over and over. Where you thought the roots began is most likely soil they piled on top and the roots are inches below. At planting, you should have scraped off the top of the rootball until you located the root flare and then planted that above grade. I made the same mistake MANY times and had to replant about a dozen trees this year. Since the tree is already leafed out you may want to wait until it is dormant again next fall/spring to avoid further stress on the tree. If these AB maples are anything, they are hardy! You will still probably lose this tree though. After you have replanted the tree at the correct level (you should go ahead and do this part now if you want to keep the tree), mulch in a 6 foot radius ~6" from the tree trunk 2-3" deep. Water during drought or when the soil is dry about 1-2 inches below the surface.
You need to seriously consider replacement. It might live or even do ok for a few years, but wouldn't it be horrible if it dies just when it begins to fill out?
Yes whaas, bareroot sticks are literally the best way to go if one doesn't mind waiting :) I feel much better about the few trees I barerooted than the container trees I have planted. BR also seems to establish much faster since it is all in the same soil in the planting site (at least that is my theory on it).
Thanks for all the help. The tree was in a container. I just assumed when I got it from the nursery it was properly planted. I'll never make that assumption again.
I actually have two ABM, and upon inspecting the other one, I've noticed it has the beginnings of this problem as well. An earlier post mentioned frost crack. We did have a very cold snowy week in Feb. here in Dallas. And the blue granules, BTW, was a fertilizer called Dynamite that the nursery recommended. It's been there since the tree was planted.
At this point, as both trees are higher than the lawn around it, I think I'm gonna slowly remove dirt to expose the root flares and see what's going on under there. Thanks again.
I tell you if it wasn't for this forum half the trees I planted would have gone in too deep.
The prize taker this year was a Regal Prince Oak. I pulled away 6" of soil before I hit the root flare!
Don't be nervous to cut some roots and pull that soil back. You'll do the tree good.
Like whaas, I had between 4-6" of topsoil on my container October Glory and Red Sunset maples. Even though the trunks were only about 1" in diameter, they already had roots wrapped around the trunk covered in half a foot of potting soil that would have strangled them in the next decade. Also like whaas said, don't be afraid of a little root pruning when/if you replant. As you mentioned, doing it slowly over time is also effective.
I see no need to waste more time on this tree. It is highly unlikely, from what I can see, to survive long-term. I believe you would be better off to cut your losses now and invest future efforts in a tree that had a better chance of survival. Your current tree is basically rotting from the inside. Even if it manages to make it for a few more years, it's liable to come crashing down at some particularly inopportune time.
Also, unless you have a soil test that indicates your soil is lacking in some nutrient, DON'T fertilize your trees. While there's some chance that your area has soil low in some nutrient and your nursery knew that when it advised adding fertilizer, it's much more likely that they just don't know what they are doing. You should at least look into this, because woody plants don't often need to be fertilized, and are frequently harmed/killed from improper fertilization. Also, that looks like a heck of a lot of fertilizer to me (unless it's some real weak stuff with a lot of coating for time-release).
If it is of any conselation. you can get a small 5-6 foot Autumn Blaze Maple, or Autumn Fantasy Maple (the later might actually be better for you as to e is seems more drought resistant) as they can grow VERY fast. I have one of each, and they grew more than 1" in caliper and over 3' in height last year. You might also check out Lou's posts on "Fire Dragon Shantung Maple" and other Shantung Maples from Metro Maples. His has grown VERY fast and he's been very happy with them. This is you cue Lou ;-)
Thanks Ark for the suggestions. Actually I discovered Metro Maples AFTER planting the ABM's. If I decide to replace the ABM's, that will probably be the route I take. But I'm an optimist and gonna correct a few things on the trees and give them one last chance to see if there's any improvement.
Good luck. Let us know what you find, and how it turns out. That kind of feedback and help with others in the future.
What improvement do you expect? How will you address the fact that your tree is rotting and getting worse?
You may get the tree to limp along for a few years, but is it worth that lost time/opportunity and effort to keep it for just a few more years? Of course, maybe there's some chance it will overcome its plight. If it were mine, it would be firewood by noon tomorrow.
Taking a 20 degree different heading than brandon, plant a replacement now and see if you can pull a miracle and save the seemingly doomed tree in the OP. And don't consume a fertilizer product just because the nursery has sales goals.
So I'm making one last ditch effort to save the tree and have removed about 2" of dirt. You can see from the line where the original dirt level was. On the left of the photo you can see the flare clearly I believe. The other sides are harder to tell. Before I mulch, I wanted to get some opinions if this is sufficient. Also, is it ok to cut off some of the roots that are now exposed? Thanks.
Yes that is the root flare. I would prune all loose roots around the base of the tree (especially any that appear to be circling like that one on the right in the pic) and then you are ready for mulch. These AB maples put out roots at a ridiculous clip. Only reason you might want to leave them is to help the tree with stress since it is already fighting with that scar. However, since the rest of the tree is leafed out and looking good, I think it will be fine with some minor root pruning there at the surface.
Thanks jOnd03 for the advice.
Now, here are pics of my second ABM that was also planted too deep. I've removed about 4" of soil so far but I'm not sure if I'm there yet. Can someone advise?
The two pics were taken from opposite sides of the tree to give a 360 view.
You're not at the original root flare until you see the tops of large roots coming from the trunk. I don't see large roots, but, from the looks of the trunk, you may be close. Removing a lot of root to get down to the root flare is not always beneficial.
Is this tree as far gone as the other one? Is it going to end up sitting down in a hole?
brandon7, this tree is in a lot better shape than the other. If only one of the 2 trees will make it, this would be the one. The soil level in the pic is about an 1" or 2" above the surrounding lawn. If the root flare is not too far away from this point, at worst the tree would be slightly below grade. While I agree that all this root pruning is not too beneficial, I figured it was the lesser of two evils. Already I've removed a couple of roots that was girdling the trunk. I inspected the trees today and from my novice eyes, the leaves appeared a darker green than it did a week ago. Not sure if all this Dallas rain has anything to do w/ it or just that we're getting closer to summer. I guess at this point I'm gonna march forward and find that root flare. My long term plan is if these trees show signs of recovery, I would replant them in the same hole in the fall to raise them above grade a bit if they're in a hole. As always, thanks for the responses.
That looks close enough for now. Leave it alone until it goes dormant this fall if you think you need to do anything else to it. It will replace all the roots you pruned with more than it has to begin with. Seriously, these things put roots out everywhere(at least mine do)!
I have an ABM that is just now starting to show that "split bark" look. Had it two years also. I too had to unbury the root flare as it was planted too deep.
Can you tell me if you've found anything new on your tree situation?
I am in central Ohio, having the very same issues. I'm following the steps to fix the bark damage and moving the mulch to expose the root flare. I have two trees planted three years ago with a 5" caliper. Today, they're almost 7". This season is the first time I have noticed the bark issue. The foliage is so beautiful this fall. Please use the link to view the pictures. Any comments would be appreciated.
Here is a link that might be useful: treefall2011a