What is this maple tree's problem/disease/blight?

shelley_t(z5 IL)May 8, 2009


This is a Silver Maple otherwise healthy. I just noticed all the dead shriveled leaves in it and there are spots on most of the gazillion annoying helicopter seeds. (normally these are light green) About 2/3rds of the tree is affected. As you can see, I do have plenty of good leaves I think. I have not yet fertilized it and I'd really like to do something organic. My dad thinks I should use something synthetic, but he also uses his rabbit pee- pure nitrogen. He collects about a bucket a day from all his bunnies somehow, but he's not sure that would be enough. I'd take a recommendation for fertilizer if you have one and maybe someone knows what this is.

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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

No fertilizer. You are wasting your time and energy if you do.

As to the pathogen, I'm wondering if this is maple inflorescence blight, Ciboria spp.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:42AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Trees only need to be fertilized if a soil test indicates your soil is missing some important nutrient or there is some indication (unusually slow growth) that nitrogen might be needed. Applying some random fertilizer to you tree is at least as likely to be detrimental to the tree as it is to help it. Fertilizing trees when they are suffering from a disease can be especially harmful. Flushes of new growth on such a tree are even more susceptible to some pests and diseases. If the tree was healthy, a little rabbit urine wouldn't hurt, but there would be some limit to how much would be good.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 3:07PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

wow those pix are too big to even be able to see the problem ...

i see dried pollen sacks..

i see a severe wound on the first pic.. and a dead little branch ..

but basically .. i dont see anything wrong with it.. but i aint no pathologist...

frankly ... if you figure out how to kill a silver maple.. let us all know..

otherwise.. just ignore the thing.. in a week or so.. you will be complaining about all the helicopters ...

TREES DONT NEED FOOD.. and maple will steal all food and water in an area twice as big as it is above, underground.. from every other living plant it can ... dont waste your money


    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 3:15PM
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shelley_t(z5 IL)

Thanks for your thoughts everyone... I won't fertilize then... I don't normally anyway. I looked up the other diseases you mentioned and it's not looking like them yet, but I did see this on anthracnose that I think sounds right... even the conditions that brought it about (very wet winter and spring) 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.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:37PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Re-read ken's post.

I don't see any disease either. Certainly not anthracnose.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 12:50AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

You'll know anthracnose when you see it. This ain't it.

But back to the issue, this sort of thing (still think it is a blight) likely has been on this tree for some time and likely won't kill it. ~Fast-growing trees like this have lots of yummy things pathogens like to eat. Get used to it. There will be critters on this tree, don't give them more to eat.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 10:18AM
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