Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
I have a scarlett red maple. It's about 8 years old and last year the leaves didn't get very big. This year, it hasn't even began to bloom yet although, It has tiny buds. I noticed that the bark in some places peels off very easily. Under the bark, it looks like there may be some black flecks (maybe bug feces). I only noticed one little red colored bug under where I peeled the bark. I don't see any other bugs anywhere, even at the base. Do you think it could have a disease or bugs? I am going to put some fertilizer steaks around it and pour some Bayer Advanced tree and shrub insect control around the base of the tree. Is it too late to spary it?
Rate This FAQ
USU Extension recommends that you always identify a pest before applying any treatment to ailing plants. Many plants suffer from environmental problems, so applying chemical insecticides may be a waste of time and money, plus an unnecessary poison in our environment.
Poor quality and poorly planted trees often exhibit the symptoms you describe after about 6 to 10 years. If the tree had been growing in a pot too long, its roots would start growing in circles at the bottom of the pot. If these circling roots were not cut or straightened out at planting, they may now have grown large enough to strangle the main tree trunk. Unfortunately, there is no solution to this problem. To know if this is the problem, clear soil away from the main trunk about 6 to 12 inches below the soil line. Are there circling roots growing tightly against the trunk?
If you clear away the soil and circling roots are not apparent, and you can see roots growing outward away from the tree trunk, then check the trunk itself. If the tree was planted too deeply, it may get crown rot. The crown of the tree (where the trunk meets the roots) stays too wet and starts to rot away. When this happens, little or no water can move up from the roots into the top of the tree.
Maples are also susceptible to "southwest injury" that will cause the peeling bark you have mentioned. During winter, bright sunshine heats up the bark on the southwest side of the trunk, and water may move into cell membranes as if the tree is getting ready to exit dormancy. At night, the temperature dips below freezing and the water within the cells freezes and may burst the cell membranes, killing the cells. Thus, that side of the trunk dies. To avoid this, wrap the trunk in winter or shade the SW side of the trunk somehow.
There are also some diseases that can cause the symptoms you describe. To diagnose the problem better, take some photos and a piece of tree limb into your county Extension office. An Agent or a Master Gardener Volunteer will help you figure out what is wrong with your tree.
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- Do you have some advice on how to control mallow weeds? This has been an ongoing problem that even the powerful herbicides can only contain for just a few weeks. They always come back and completely overrun my garden. Any advice?
- What is a pre-emergent and a post-emergent?
- Do you have some pruning tips for ornamental and shade trees?
- I have a very large, beautiful Cottonwood tree on my property, that is near the property line with my neighbor. She wants to put in a new fence, because the tree has been pushing up the posts for her old fence. The fencing company has said that they can put in a new fence, but they will have to "shave off" a bit of the tree trunk and possibly some of the root near the surface of the ground. I am worried that something like that could lead to the tree getting sick or dying. I want to keep peace among neighbors, but it would be a disaster and very expensive to lose the tree because of something likethis. Can you please tell me if a Cottonwood tree is hardy enough to withstand such a "shaving" procedure?
- We live in West Jordan in an area with very clay soil. We would like to plant some low-lying evergreen shrubs in a narrow strip between our RV pad and a short vinyl fence. Do you have any plant recommendations that will work in our soil and don't require a lot of maintenence?
- We have a large pine tree in our yard that looks like it is dying. Can someone from extension come and look at it and tell me if it is dying or if this summer's heat has just caused it to withdraw in. It gets south and west sunlight all day long. Thanks
- Last year my maple tree started losing leaves. I investigated and found it full of earwigs under the bark. I killed the bugs. The bark is falling off, Can I save my tree? It is over 20 years old.
- Our grass is dying and we suspect a worm/grub problem since we have seen some yellowish worms come up when we have raked the thatch layer. When is the best time to treat to kill the worms? What is best to kill them if we don't know exactly what species they are? How long after treatment can we prepare and plant new grass seed?