Can I save this sugar maple?

daniel_clJuly 9, 2013


A couple years back we received a maple sugar tree from the city. The tree had a little fungus problem on the branches, and this year the problem had become severe and the trunk is affected. Please follow the link below to see a picture:

I also see some little black bugs living inside the cracked bark.

My question is whether I can still save this tree by cutting near the base of the infected trunk. The growing new leaves suggest that the tree root seems to be doing ok.



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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Looks like the main trunk of your maple is completely dead. It's hard to tell for sure, but it also appears that something may have girdled your tree's trunk (animal/string-trimmer damage?). Yes, cut the trunk just above ground level (maybe a little lower than your cut line, shown in the picture), and let a root sucker take over.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 12:10AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would cut it...

and reduce to two suckers....

and after bud break next spring... reduce to one.. and maintain one ...

looks a bit telephone-poled ... any idea where the root flare is???


    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 8:16AM
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It's hard to tell from the photo of the trunk, but if you see bark splitting on a young tree, you might have experienced frost cracking over the winter. This happens with young trees that have thin bark, when you get alternating freezing and thawing, and it is usually found on the southwest side of the trunk. It's very common on Lindens, but it can affect many trees, including young maples.

In any case, the main portion of the tree is gone. The good news is, you have very healthy growth coming up, and we had a tree in exactly the same condition when we moved into our home six years ago. I wanted to take out the eyesore. My husband insisted we let it be. Well, it grew into a beautiful multi-trunk maple, but unfortunately it's a Silver Maple. I am thinking that was the rootstock and the original homeowners had planted a grafted maple. Imean, NO ONE intentionally plants a Silver Maple, right?

I'm still not crazy about the tree because I don't like Silver Maples, but my husband insists if it's a tree and it's alive, it stays. The new growth on yours doesn't appear to be Silver Maple, so just look after it, and when it's big enough, begin pruning it into a nice tree form. Try to get it to a single trunk.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 8:27AM
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Thanks for the tips.
I followed the advice and took out the trunk. Hope for the best!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 4:03PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

The growth down at the base looks more Red Maple than Sugar Maple to me...FWIW...

Regardless if a red or a sugar, if grafted, the rootstock sprouts can grow into a perfectly nice tree, but it might not be the same as what died above...if it's a red maple (Acer rubrum, which to me it looks like), it might have yellow or orange fall color as opposed to the red of the cultivars.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:56PM
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