any ideas for the cause of this ?

RachaelLemmon(5)May 19, 2014

Noe that its completely leafed out I have concluded that something has killed or is hurting the tree but i have no idea what happened. Last fall it was perfectly normal. The huge bare spot all comes from one huge branch /trunk on the right side... all other branches have leaves. But this large branch has not one from bottom to top. What could cause this?

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RachaelLemmon(5)

A closer look .

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:25AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would like a leaf close up to ID the tree .. i think its a maple of some kind ... winter should not have done this ...

where are you?? ..

and was there any significant digging near the tree in the last 3 years??? .. anywhere within 50 feet or so???

is there any significant damage on the trunk .. down near the ground ...

anything put on the lawn.. like imprelis ???

ken

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:08PM
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RachaelLemmon(5)

I live in upstate NY. No one has suffered any similar damage.. these trees are plentiful in my woods. I havent dug anywhere near the tree and havent treated with anything. I looked and couldnt find any cracks that are new. Im stumped. There has always been a crack in the tree on the right side of the trunk.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:19PM
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RachaelLemmon(5)

Tried to show the old split in the tree.. and also the leaf. Thanks for any info /advice.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:29PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Guessing, but it could be the crack has girdled that particular branch(es). Some maples are prone to bark cracking like that. Yours kinda looks like Norway maple, which is especially prone. Snap off a leaf at the stem, and look for white sap leaking out of the leaf-scar. This means Norway maple.

If the branches don't sprout back out by mid-summer, cut them off if you can.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 2:04PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

First pic looked like a sugar maple, but it's def. a Norway w/the closeup of that leaf.

My recommended pruning method for Norways involves a chainsaw and a single cut at ground level...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 2:55PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Yeap, Norway Maple. Extra point leaf tips are a dead give way. Norway Maple is not a good ideal for much of the eastern US for many reasons. Beyond that, from your pics the previous split has allowed pathogens into the tree, and lower left pic of the four pic panels clearly shows indications of borers. In any event, that looks like storm damage, and was never going to be attached as strongly as it needed to be to resist damage or failure. Also any wound is very unlikely to be able to be closed before rot sets in. Lastly, I see a childs playhouse underneath, that this branch and tree, posses significant threat to. Therefore for these many reasons, removal of this tree is appropriate (which many people would be happy to help you with). Sorry to deliver the bad news.

Arktrees

This post was edited by arktrees on Mon, May 19, 14 at 17:02

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 3:48PM
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RachaelLemmon(5)

You guys are killing me . I've only had the house for three years but I'm certain the tree is as old as it. Everyone in my neighborhood has them and the woods are full of them. No worries about the play house, we moved it there to mow my grass. Too many ticks in the woods for my children to play up there. I can't imagine cutting down a tree that size, I live on a steep hill. I don't even know how I would get it off of my property. There's no access to it with any type of vehicle to move large pieces. I have a feeling I'm going to be looking a a big ugly half dead tree, for a season. And it's the only tree (besides the woods and my enormous lilac) that I have .

Arktrees you are right about the storm damage, those beastly pine trees that you can see in the woods , fall a dozen at a time every winter here... One did fall and hit the tree in the winter of 2012 but it was fine that next season so I thought nothing of it . Thanks to everyone for the fast help and responses .

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:14PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

"Everyone in my neighborhood has them and the woods are full of them."

This is EXACTLY one of the reasons that it is a very poor choice. This is very strongly telling you something.

Beyond that, all the rest is still valid. The tree is going to hit the ground one way or another. Better you be in control than gravity. Best that you get a replacement going ASAP. That is the REALITY. I can sympathize with not having trees. Our house had ZERO shade. And in the south, shade is primary importance. The sun is much much stronger, along with the other things that go along with summer in the south. But I now have shade and some trees to about 25' about 6 years after planting.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 9:29AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

RachaelLemmon, one option is -- don't do anything. When I was in a forest, many trees near the house (but not directly over it) had dead branches -- especially after the 1994 ice-storm. Not possible to do anything -- just lived w/it.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 9:58AM
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RachaelLemmon(5)

Yes they are very invasive here... they have all but taken over any wooded area in the southern tier. What would be a good tree for a steep slope, dry, full sun? Everyone has the japanese maples but i dont like them, maybe an oak ?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 4:21PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I can think of two oaks that would do perfectly on a dry slope - Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) and Chestnut Oak (Q. prinus) - both are at home in drier upland areas.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 4:41PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Hair made two excellent suggestions. A new thread asking for suggestions would probable be best so that you can get peoples attention that may not be following this thread. Just the same, below are some species that should work nicely. They vary in size and habit, as you may want large, small, or combination.

American Smoke Tree - Cotinus obovatus (very fast growing despite what online sources claim)

Chalk Maple - Acer luecoderme

Shantung Maple - Acer truncatum

Hackberry - Celtis occidentalis

Yellowwood - Cladrastis kentukea

Kentucky Coffeetree - Gymnocladus dioicus

Bald Cypress - Taxodium distichum

Sassagras - Sassafras albidum

Various Elms - Ulmus sp.

All are reasonable fast growing, and moderate to long lived. There are many other possibilities, including many conifers.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 8:37AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

life it not a disney movie.. GET RID OF IT ... but contemplate that in tree years ...

in other words.. PLAN to remove it.. within 3 to 5 years ...

in the mean time... plant some replacements ... some good trees... so they can get established.. and start growing with vigor.. so that when the day comes you are already working on the replacement..

rather than waiting 5 years.. and the thing falls down.. or breaks in the next storm of the century ...

i dont think you live near that river named de nile....

one thing to do.. is plan how it will be removed.. and make sure your placement of other plants.. wont be harmed by removal ...

EVERY loss .. is an opportunity for something new... the suggestion that is is as old as the house.. well ... so what ... just because the original owner made a mistake ... that doesnt mean you need to live with it ...

removal of all the dead stuff.. is going to leave a gaping hole in the canopy .. with many open wounds... and in the long run ... weaken the tree even more ... its all down hill from here.. again.. in tree years... and the real question is.. do you want to pay the tree monkey with an 'insured' chainsaw.. ONCE to be done with it ... or do you want him to visit you every few years ... so you can make his boat payment for him ...

ken

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 10:24AM
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longtee81

I would not rule out Stem Girdling Roots. My Dad lost a red maple to this a few years back, but it is fairly easy to identify if you check for root flare. You can sometimes save the tree by removing them over time but the success rate goes down with the size of the tree. Here is a good link on the subject....

Here is a link that might be useful: Stem Girdling Roots

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 2:49PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I'm with Ken, take it down and move on. The longer you wait, the more difficult and expensive it will become.
I've been facing the same problems on my ten acres for a lot of years now, and the choices are not always easy. I do know I'm more pragmatic than I was.
Mike

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 4:36PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I'd like to add, that it isn't so important what caused the problem, it's how you deal with it that matters.
Mike

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 4:39PM
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