Wet bark but no rain?

whaas_5a(5A SE WI)May 3, 2013

This Sugar Maple has been in my garage for a few days now and the top half is wet. Its not dripping down the rest of the truck, its just literally wet on the top half.

The viscosity is just slightly thicker than water. Color has a very slight yellow hue. Initial thought was sap but why isn't it running down the rest of the trunk and its not sticky and has no smell.

First pic shows the wet bark. Second pic shows the lower half of the tree, dry bark.

I'm confused as to what is going on here.

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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

I would inspect it for some type of wound near the top. Probably IS sap - sugar maples (and other maples) bleed in spring if damaged. Maybe the top bark got cracked a little during handling and without close inspection the damage may not be obvious.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:29PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Any chance of a weird condensation issue?

Cold tree brought back into warm garage pulls moisture from the air type of thing?

I'm thinking really hard to grasp that straw lol

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:37PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

TGents, thanksf or the feedback.

Took a closer look and can't find any damage. That entire top is wet still. I noticed some lower black buds where slimey.


T, could be. I planted it out today, we'll see what its doing tomorrow.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Interesting whaas. I have a redbud planted out a few years that had the same thing on two branches this spring. Pretty sure it was sap but I couldn't find any damage anywhere and it was full circumference of the branch that was "wet". The substance was also only mildly sticky which surprised me thinking if it was sap it would be stickier. Mine still flowered and leafed out fine. I need to go check on it and see what happened to those who branches. This started on my tree probably around the time of sap rise in late March.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:21AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Hmm, so something was wrong here. I don't even have a theory as to what happened.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Totally bizarre. Have never seen this before. Viral ???
Time to take it to another level...But do cut out the dead.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:06PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

You know both you and John have stumped me two time in two days...... ya'll need to stop that! ;-)

In all seriousness, my intuitive hunch is borer. I would prune out as close to healthy wood as possible, and go dissecting. Had a kousa dogwood die a couple years ago, and couldn't figure out why. So finally after it had been dead for a while (couple weeks and I had not yet removed it) I finally found some frasse (sp) and a bit of lose bark. Went to digging, and found the little #$$#@#$ that killed my dogwood. That particular little @#@#$@$ died a very hot unpleasant death on hot concrete with 108 F air temps. What an AWFUL summer that was...... Anyway, since that time, I see something like your pic, I think canker and/or borer.

Don't know if it helps or not, just a thought.


EDIT: I also forgot to include that if it is a borer, it is probable working it's way down the stem, and you are going to want to get it out of there before it kills the entire tree. That is what happened to my kousa dogwood.

This post was edited by arktrees on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 21:14

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:07PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Now I'm f'ing furious because it appears it could be verticillium wilt.

Thoughts on the "potential" diagnosis?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:50PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Hate to say it, but I would probable get it out of there, then check lower to see if it's the same way in the wood that is still supporting green leaves. Still think it MAY BE a canker, as they can cause similar discoloration above the canker. BUT, if the same discoloration is below in what appears to be healthy, then it may very well be verticillium. IIRC correctly, verticillium should be in a distinct ring in the vascular tissue, which may be what you are seeing, but I can't tell for sure.

Did you get this tree locally, or mail order? If local, maybe you can check to see if they have others with similar problems.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:58PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I special ordered this tree locally from the midwest. I see what you're saying about the distinct ring. Likely canker or someother pathogen but VW can't be completely ruled out with testing and I don't think I was to go through that process.

Whats weird is that the wood below the dead wood is completely healthy but the wood above the dead wood is also healthy. Perhaps another sign of canker.

The look of the leaves and the fact they discolored and shriveled up so quickly in July is a sign of VW as well.

Now I just have to make the call if I toss it or leave it be for now.

Thanks for the insight!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 8:57PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Well from your additional info, IMHO, I would try to prune it out. I have had a couple of maple trees (mostly in pots) the last 2-3 years develop cankers. Most of them I was able to save with pruning them out. One of them, a Red Maple, I had to cut just above the root flare, and let it send up suckers, from which I selected one. It is not about 5.5' tall, doing well, planted at a friends house.

As for locating the source of the problem, your sense of touch is very useful. Very often it is possible to feel a slight sunken area of of the bark well before it is easily visible, also wetting the external bark often helps to make things more visible. So assuming you are able to prune into healthy tissue, and there is no discoloration lower down in the vascular tissue, then it would be very unlikely that its Verticillium. Verticillium enters through the roots, and signs will be present in the stem below the die back.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 8:34AM
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