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What's wrong with my Boxelder (Acer Negundo)?

Posted by wahoo67 Arkansas (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 27, 08 at 9:41

My tree is dropping tons and tons of leaves. We've had a very wet Spring and Summer here in NW Arkasnas. Here is a link to some close-ups of the leaves. The yellow detached leaves fell from the tree today. The green leaves were pulled from the tree. I appreciate your help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leaves Pictures

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What's wrong with my Boxelder (Acer Negundo)?

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 27, 08 at 13:43

Have they dropped in previous years? Its common around here for them to drop leaves in summer and have leaf scorched leaves, they are just an ugly looking tree that only has the merit of being a native tree, but pretty much useless in most regards.

RE: What's wrong with my Boxelder (Acer Negundo)?

It has dropped leaves in previous years but nothing like this year. In the past I think it was from scorched leaves at the top of the tree but this year it's like 10 or 20X the amount dropped. We definitely want a big tree in the front yard for shade and aeshtetics. Would you just leave it or consider replacing it? With what?
Thanks very much for your reply.

RE: What's wrong with my Boxelder (Acer Negundo)?

If you want a large, aesthetically pleasing tree for your yard in AR, boxelder is not what *I* would choose to plant.
I'm with lkz - it's native, and has its place - like in a riparian buffer; and if it was the only established shade tree in my yard, I might not do away with it 'til I had some others coming along and pretty good size to take its place, but I would not plant one to be my main 'shade' or specimen tree - just too trashy for my tastes.

RE: What's wrong with my Boxelder (Acer Negundo)?

BE is acer ...... which is the maple family ..

perhaps you know .. i hate them ... lol ...

of all the pretty maples.. frankly .. this is one of the worst ...

since you asked for my vote ... be done with it...

and plant an heirloom tree ... something that will be around for 100 years .... long after you are gone ...

i am not qualified to recommend things for your zone ... but my fall back is always oak ... but which for your zone ???? ...'

its an old wives tale that they are slow growing.. i have various oaks doing 3 to 8 feet per year.. once properly established ....

i planted numerous oak in 2000 .. 6 to 8 foot bare root plants [black,red,scarlet,shingle,white] ... that are now.. 20 to 30 feet tall ... with 3 retards out for the 40 i planted ... those 3 are only 10 to 15 feet tall ... cant figure out why .. lol ..

good luck


RE: What's wrong with my Boxelder (Acer Negundo)?

I would not worry about it too much now; wait and see what it does in the spring. And as lucky says, plan for the future and start thinking about a better tree to replace it one day. But in the meantime, it does serve a good purpose ... shade.

RE: What's wrong with my Boxelder (Acer Negundo)?

Acer negundo, boxelder, can be a troublesome and weedy tree, as some have mentioned. Like esh_ga, I suggest that you wait and see. I have had saplings completely defoliate due to a lack of water in intense heat, only to put on a fresh flush of new growth when water was provided. Boxelder seems to have regenerative powers like, well, a weed!

Despite their liabilities, they are not entirely without merit (esp. the cultivars/selections): very fast-growing and adaptable; tolerant of heavy pruning, including pollarding and coppicing; tough and resilient.

I'm using some seedlings/saplings in my large garden (kept to a smallish size) as pollarded specimens; and as the species for a pleached, living garden "tunnel". I am currently trying a selected variety, 'Flamingo', which has nice variegated foliage; pinkish new growth, white-fringed mature leaves.


RE: What's wrong with my Boxelder (Acer Negundo)?

I don't see that you asked anyone if they like box elders or not. I have one in my front yard that is 40 or 50 feet tall. I too have the problem of it messing my lawn with leaves all summer, and more and more in the last couple of weeks but I'm not about to cut it down because it's not other people favorite tree. Maybe I like trees like I like women, a bit on the trashy side.

I'm sure your question was along the lines of are others having more of a problem this year and is their anything that can be done to mitigate the problem.

Summer before last my tree lost so much leaf so fast in late summer that I was concerned that it might have some borer problem. I know now that wasn't the case and it was probably heat and drought related. It has recovered well last year and this and the canopy looks healthy. But we had a wet spring and a wet early summer. Now it seems that a dry spell may be affecting it again with more leaf drop.

My neighbor threw out an old ross root feeder and tonight I was fooling with it as a way to get water in the ground. I also have a medium sized maple and next door, right up against my property are 4 very tall pines and a fifth large tee. So that's 7 trees in about 40 feet of space. The ground between the elder and the 5 trees is hard as a rock after not more than a week of no rain. I water the yard there but it seems to get sucked up in a hurry.

Is there anything to the idea of watering with that kind of feeder that can have an effect on the situation? I'd have to get a different one as the old one leaks to much from the feed jar so I'm open to ideas within reason cost wise.

I'm open to watering the tree but it's right at the sidewalk and I don't really want the water just running into the storm drain.

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