What wrong with this Japanese Maple?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Choppasuit, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. Choppasuit

    Choppasuit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    My lawn client want to know whats going on with this tree. Any help would be appreciated thanks.

  2. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    im not a tree expert or a disease expert so hopefully someone who is will chim in, but to me that simply looks like lichen and moss growing on the tree. It really doesnt pose any threat to the tree as far as diseases go, but lichens do usually grow on trees and shrubs that are in poor or declining health. So I would recommend pruning the tree, and maybe hitting it with a shot of fertilizer and just monitoring it. If it doesnt have well drained soil it wont do good either and it should be in partial sun as well.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    That tree looks toast with the splits in it. I've taken out a few Jap Maples in that condition as they were dying.

    It almost looks like it's reach the end of it's life-span.
  4. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    Improper pruning techniques.....stub cuts.....and probably borer holes somewhere on the bark basal side.
    Age could have a lot to do with this..........but most times, improper growing conditions or competition from grass and other factors lead to their demise.

    The winter you guys sustained this season definitely did this tree in. I am sure there will be plenty more other trees that will decease after time goes on.
  5. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Bad pruning, internal decay. There could be other things, but I'm not
    seeing what I need to in the picture.
  6. Choppasuit

    Choppasuit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    I have some more pics. My client said that he had a problem with bugs inside of the tree. He applyed a product by Ortho that had to be poured around the base of the tree that was supposed to be absorbed by the roots. Will he have to just get rid of this?




  7. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    I can bet that the base of this tree is indulged with termites and ants. The heartwood is dying thus causing the bark to fall off. It could be scab!!! Most times it is from improper pruning, competition from surrounding grasses, trimmer damage, herbicide misuse, and worse..........freeze and frost!!!! Did I forget snow and winter damage??

    Dear Goodness............I didn't see the other pics till now! That poor tree never had a chance to survive anyway.!!!! Murderer!!
    Termites!......Line trimmer damage and competition.!!
  8. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    O.k. I'm seeing alot more damage and understanding the tree a bit better now.

    Poor trunk taper. There appears to be mechanical damage there too, possibly from a lawn mower and for sure from a trimmer.

    Half of the tree has been removed already. I wonder if the kids were climbing it and it broke? (kick them in the Acer)

    The previous damage and Bad pruning has led to alot of the problems. You could have frost cracks too. The internal decay has compartmentalized. Search "CODIT"
    Compartmentalization of disease in trees.

    Maples tend to get a few dead branches naturally from time to time.

    The reason in this case, is that the cambium in the bark is dead in places and is not allowing the tree to eat and drink properly.
    The dead branches, for the most part are going to be found above where the bark is dead and has seperated from the tree.

    The bark can seperate when it is bruised or damaged or if there has been poor pruning.

    If you want to save it, the tree could live for many more years in my honest opinion.
    It's just going to be weird looking and need some TLC.

    -Remove the grass from the base of the trunk.
    -Do some cosmetic pruning by removing the dead branches and trimming back those
    ugly stumps to just outside of their branch collars.

    For this go to the ISA website and
    also search for Dr. Alex Shigo, to see how to prune properly if you don't know already.

    -I don't know what type of bugs the tree had. Don't pollute it with chemicals!
    Learn about Integrated Pest Management IPM and Plant Health Care Techniques PHC
    -There are alot of non-toxic alternatives.
    -When a tree or plant or lawn for that matter is stressed, it will attract disease and
    -Correct the reason the maple is stressed
    -I also see a nitrogen deficiency in the lawn near the tree. Fertilize the tree.
    -When you fertilize, the new growth may attract aphids and then ants that farm them for their
    honeydew excrement. Use Safers Insecticidal soap on sucking insects with an exoskeleton (aphids,leafhoppers)
    You have to spray right onto these insects, or use a stream of water from the hose.
    -For the ants, you can use a sticky band of tanglefoot applied to some-thing like saran wrap around the trunk
    -your're going for control, not total kill here.

    Overall, the Maple looks terrible but fixable. It could live for many more years, or maybe not.
    It's hard to say for sure with trees. Fix it and monitor it.

    The other alternative is to replace it and take care of the new one using sound arboricultural practices.
    And a tree circle.

    My bragging rights: ISA Arborist, WCB Hazard Tree Assessor, Landscape Industry Certified Horticulturist,Journeyman Landscaper, IPM Certified Government Licensed Pesticide Applicator...

    Go Canucks Go!!!
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  9. Choppasuit

    Choppasuit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    Thanks for all of the information. I will look more into the information everyone has provided and present it to my customer and see what he says. While im at it, I got some more tree pics from another house.

    I believe these are Emerald Green Arborvitae. The tops are toppled over probably from snow. Will staking these some kind of way get them to stand upright again?





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