Whats wrong with this Sycamore?

andyaceaeJuly 28, 2011

Last year a sycamore of mine developed a dead area in the trunk. It had started to heal over but now appears to be expanding, and a similar area has appeared on the other side of the trunk. Vigor also seems to have declined, slightly. Is this caused by canker stain, frost cracks, or possibly something else?

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Here are the images sans links.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 9:33PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Mechanical injury and trying to heal from here. Might be frost cracks too from the info provided.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 10:01PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Possibly frost cracks. Tell us about this tree...When was it planted compared to when the raised bed was built and compared to when any grading (like for the driveway) was done? How far away is the driveway and the raised bed (kind of hard to tell for sure from the picture)? How longs has the tree been in the ground?

That first picture looks especially bad. Did you say the damage was on the opposite sides of the tree? If so, that would explain loss of vigor. A big percentage of the trunk would be girdled.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 10:02PM
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The tree was planted about 4 years ago, and was obtained from a local stream bed. It was planted after all driveway work, and that is actually just a stone wall, not a raised bed, so root damage shouldn't be an issue in this case. The soil is a fairly poor shale clay mix in this area, and it has been fertilized with a 5-5-5 mix each year. Important to note it is exposed to a fair share of winter winds. I'm guessing frost cracking in this species may be an issue in exposed locations? I'm going to give a shot to grow if it isn't some type of fungus and hopefully it will make it. Thanks for the input.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 10:23PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Deer/animal/mechanical injury. Photo 2 the wound has calloused nicely. Photo 1 I'm not so happy about. The blackened area is rot. I think there is far too much damage (appears all the wounds are at the same height/distance). Add in all the rest of the cracks and bark loss occurring above and it's just overboard. Then, add to the mess that it's a fast growing tree which is prone to breakage on its own - I'd say send it to the chipper asap.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 6:32AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

mechanical injury.. lol.. who backed up on it????

put something substantial in front of it ... like a backhoe .. so no one will backup the car and hit it again ..

and then just give it time ...

go get another... and plant it 20 or 30 feet away ... a failsafe ...

as to the wounds.. i am of the camp of.. let it do its own thing ... it will either recover or die .. so be it ..

but repeated hitting it with the car.. will not help ..

[lets blame it on drunken friends ... since you surely didnt do it.. perhaps some post football afternoon party .. superbowl??.. lol]


ps: or some drunken knitting party ??? lol

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 12:18PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I think there are faaaaaar fewer drunken quilters, ken, than drunken Bears fans.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 12:42PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I'm not at all convinced that it's a mechanical injury. Sure, I guess it could be, but I wouldn't bet much on that being the cause.

Andyaceae, has your tree been hit by an insane lawn-mower on a big lawnmower?

I also wonder if the discoloration is really rot. I've squinted as much as possible, but still can't tell for sure from the picture.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:41PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Dude, you're harshing our buzz.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 12:25AM
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It hasn't been hit by any lawn mowers. Although it certainly looks like a buck rub or some other mechanical injury, i'm almost sure that it's not. The black area is actually paint from the first year (more recently i've heard painting doesn't help seal anything, so haven't painted again). It started to heal over the area then abruptly died back again (no cars or bears fans involved), which formed the 2 layers of dead tissue. I cleaned the dead bark off the area and got some more pictures to help confirm diagnosis.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 12:37PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

maybe there would be more quilters under the age of 200.. if they tried drinking while they did it ...

of course.. the end product might not be any good.. but they would have a hell of a time having fun ...

andy ... get rid of it.. and solve all your problems... get another .... and dont plant it next to the driveway ... or at least as close ..

its a mystery you will never solve.. and frankly.. the damage could be a decade old ...

sycamore are susceptible to anthracnose.. and that might be complicating recovery ...

on the other hand.. if you just want to watch and learn.. go for it ... but never invest much in it ... emotionally i mean ...

seriously dude.. you liberated it from mother earth.. go find another ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 4:08PM
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