sugar maple trees dying - HELP!

steelskies(5)September 20, 2011

We've been living at our place for 28 years. I've planted different sugar maples at different times, some dug up from my fathers woods, some planted by tree spade by garden centers. They are planted in different spots on my property. I have lost FOUR of them so far. They are mature trees that were very healthy for many years. They start out with some limbs dying, then more, and finally the whole tree goes. I sure don't want to lose anymore. Is there anything I can do about this? I am near Milwaukee and there are tons of sugar maples everywhere so I know they do well in this climate.

I have some beautiful mature silver maples but so far they don't seem affected.

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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Steel, that is different from what I experience. The silvers die before the sugars here.

Can you describe your spots? Are they wetter, along side a hill? Anything which favors silvers over sugars?

Counting rings makes me suppose forty is the magic age of decline for silver maples on my street though. Hmmm, how to decide what is killing your sugars early...

Any loose bark? Extra sap spilling out?

Any pics you can post?

I bet you have beautiful falls up there with that mix btw!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 9:53PM
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I don'tknow how to post pictures, but if I can get your email, I can send you a picture of two. I am so sad. Maples are my fav tree, and they are dying on me!!!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:15AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

One of the easiest ways to provide your photo to be embedded into a post is to upload it onto an image hosting site such as Photobucket, Flickr, etc. That should be pretty straight forward, and the individual sites will give instructions on how to get your photos uploaded to their site when you sign up.

Once your picture has been uploaded, find its image location address (URL) by right clicking on the image and copying the image location. The URL will look something like:

Some sites may even provide the appropriate HTML code in a text box below the photo for your convenience. It will be the one that begins with a href=... (This code looks different than the code below, because it will actually produce a picture link instead of just a picture.)

Let's say, as an example, that the address of the picture you want to post is

To embed the picture into a post, use the command:
img src="">;

If your picture is too large to fit nicely into the text page, you can add a width attribute.

The command with the width attribute would look something like:
img src=""; width=600>

Note that I had to use special characters to get the commands above to show up here without turning into pictures, but you can use them as shown (but with the correct image web address).

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:33AM
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Do these trees come out of the ground like telephone polls or can you see the root flare?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:44AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Have you seen any widespread spots or leaf damage, cankers or galls on the stems, or signs of serious insect damage? These may seem obvious, but sometimes people on here don't mention things that seem extremely obvious once pictures are posted.

Your description of how some limbs die, then more, and then the whole tree (especially assuming no obvious signs of other problems), sounds like symptoms from a vascular disease like verticillium wilt or possibly a root or trunk rot.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:56AM
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Dan Staley

All WAGs until pix.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 1:37PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

No one has made any guesses so far. We're still just collecting info and discussing what to look for. Pictures may help, or may not. We won't even know that until we see them.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:27PM
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brad_s(Z5 IL)

My guess is Verticillium Wilt. Research that and see what you think. It is a soil based fungal disease that is common in your (our) area and hits Sugar Maples pretty hard. One tell tale clue is to cut through a section of the dead or dying branch and look for a greenish brown stain or streaking in the sapwood. To be absolutely sure, contact your local extension office and send them whatever sample they would need to run a test to confirm.

Sorry to hear about this as unfortunately, there is really no cure for this malady.

- Brad

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 9:05AM
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Expanding on Brad's remarks above. Follow his instructions above, cutting vertically along a dying branch until the sapwood is exposed. If your problem is Verticillium Wilt the sapwood color will be brownish or even almost dark green turning black. VW is a common fungus which enters a plant/tree through cut roots. Mature maples have surface roots which are easily nicked when mowing/edging/trimming allowing VW to infect the tree causing a slow death.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 2:08PM
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does this work? sorry its sideways! (computer illiterate)

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 1:54PM
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Trying again?!?!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 2:12PM
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Dan Staley

Not much to go on there. Need some detail of the trunk and at ground level. With paucity of info, contributing factor might be compaction from livestock. But who knows.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 3:20PM
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I've been watching some of my sugar maples die over the last few years. Once they get sick they die. I've not seen one make a come back once it gets sick.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 1:09AM
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terrene(5b MA)

How sad to see such beautiful trees die.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 6:12PM
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