In lawns, parks, streets, and artificial landscapes, it’s common to see Maple trees as part of the scenery.
They are known for producing maple syrup and hardwood furniture. Maple trees can be seen producing striking colors during autumn.
However, sometimes, just like every tree, maples can become ill or die out. It is essential to care for maple trees so that they have a long uninterrupted life.
The typical lifespan of some maple tree varieties, such as the red maple tree, is 100-150 years if cared for well.
So, how can you save your maple tree if it starts to show signs of dying?
How Can You Save a Dying Maple Tree?
To save a dying maple tree, identify the source of the problem. Then, adjust your watering habits or supplement with the relevant fertilizer. Investigate for any signs of pests or illnesses. Worse comes to worst, mulch or prune the tree to save it.
How to Save a Dying Maple Tree
Follow these guidelines to rescue your dying maple tree.
1. Identify the Problem
After ascertaining that the tree is dying, it is now time to do a pre-autopsy and identify the cause.
Your tree could be suffering from a lack of water or overwatering. Check if the leaves are drying up or drooping.
The plant could also start producing smaller leaves as a way to conserve water. Waterlogging can cause the death of roots.
It could also be suffering from excessive fertilizer or a lack of nutrients. This may be exhibited by slow growth, unexpected and abnormal leaf color change, or scorching of leaves.
A lot of mulch could be smothering the roots. Mulch is also a hub for some harmful pests, fungi, and animals.
Diseases could have attacked your tree as well.
Thus, consult an arborist as they have experience dealing with trees. They could easily and accurately diagnose problems with your tree.
2. Change Your Tree Watering Habits
Adjusting your tree watering schedules can save your tree. This is, of course, after identifying that the problem with your tree is underwatering or overwatering.
Younger trees are more volatile when it comes to watering practices, but even mature trees face the same volatility.
Overwatering may cause the death of roots or cause suffocation. Ensure there exists a good drainage system on the tree planting ground.
Sometimes, you may get too busy to notice the gradual drying up of your tree.
There are modern solutions such as automatic water pumps that take care of your maple tree water requirements in today’s world.
3. Control Your Fertilizer Usage
Fertilizer is essential as it provides the much-needed nutrients to trees. Fertilizers enhance photosynthesis, thereby speeding the plant’s growth.
To know which fertilizer is needed, observe the leaf color and growth patterns of your maple tree.
You could also take soil samples to an agriculturist who will conduct experiments to determine which nutrients lack in your soil. Then you could replenish them using the relevant fertilizer.
However, the tree can only consume a specific amount of nutrients, so it’s unwise to overdo fertilizing it.
When these nutrients are in excess or inconsistent quantities, the natural physiological processes of the tree are affected. The fertilizer may also damage tree cells which can cause the death of your tree.
Avoid spreading your lawn (grass) fertilizer too close to your tree as it may also affect it.
There are many advantages to pruning your maple tree. Pruning eliminates sick parts of the plant, which could prevent disease spread to other parts of your plant.
Pruning also encourages aeration to promote new growth and quick healing.
Furthermore, pruning rids the tree of its dead branches while keeping it aesthetically pleasing. Take care while cutting off branches to avoid damaging healthy parts of your tree.
The best time to prune your maple tree is by winter’s end or when spring starts, where they start blooming.
Maple tree Suckers could also compete for nutrients and water with the mother tree.
Prune the shoots as soon as they appear by scraping away the soil to expose the suckers’ bases and cut off the base of the shoot with care to avoid damaging the mother plant’s roots.
Mulching is essential for controlling soil water content. If you have trouble frequently adding water to your maple tree, you could use mulching to conserve the water.
If there is a lot of mulch at the base of your tree, the tree may suffocate and start dying. That’s the time you reduce the amount of mulch you use.
Mulch can also harbor deadly fungi, pests, and diseases. Ensure you spray fungicides and pesticides to protect your tree.
6. Control Pests and Diseases
If your tree has exhibited signs of being ill, it would be best to consult a professional tree arboriculturist who will identify and solve the illness.
Characteristics of a dying maple tree
Trees have a way of communicating that they are on their deathbed.
Some also show when diseases or pests overrun their defense mechanisms, while others hide problems until it is too late to rescue them.
Maple trees are no exception.
A dying maple tree will have the following characteristics
- Shedding a lot of leaves abnormally and excessively
- Change in leaf color or mixed color spots on leaf veins
- Change in bark color from gray and brown to a dull green color – an indicator of onset decay
- Drooping of soft branches
- Failing to produce seeds or flowers falling off before pollination
- Drying of new shoots
- Cracks on the trunk
- Dry, brittle, and weak wood
Importance of Maple Trees
While weighing whether to remove or save a maple tree, it could be essential to consider the tree’s importance.
Maple trees are loved for the following reasons
- Adapt well to all climatic conditions
- Show beautiful fall colors and thus provide high aesthetic value
- Some varieties can be used to make maple syrup
- Provide great shade from hot weather
- Perpetuate the local ecosystem functions such as soil and water conservation.
- Grow well with other species
These benefits help you decide whether to uproot or nurse your dying maple tree to recover, just like how you brought your dying oak tree to life.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Save a Dying Maple Tree
What are some common diseases affecting maple trees?
The most common diseases that can afflict your maple trees include verticillium Wilt, otherwise known as Maple Wilt. This can present with scorched leaves and diseased branches, which can ultimately kill your tree. Another disease to take note of is Anthracnose. This causes extensive defoliation, shoot death, and twig death. It is exhibited by brown leaf patches and purplish-brown leaf veins.
How do I speed up my maple tree plant recovery after pruning?
Make sure that your soil’s healthy and doesn’t contain too much moisture. Also, a balanced organic matter in the soil also helps speed the recovery.
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Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.