Beginning to fear for my maple

idloveamochaJune 1, 2014

The picture is part of an autumn blaze maple that we planted in 2009. The trunk caliper at the time was probably 3 inches. The trunk has not gained much since then. It has not developed the taper at the soil level.

Over the last 4-5 growing seasons, this tree has not done much in the way of growing--branches have extended no more than 5 inches over the last 5 years. We do have other maples in the nearby area that are thriving. I realize when you buy a container tree that it takes a few seasons, but we're on season 5 now. Growth so far this year has been about 1 inch, whereas our autumn flame maple and crimson king have much, much more than that already.

What has me worried is the branch in the picture. This is one of the branches that was 'pruned' before the nursery shipped it--so it has always had a snaggly tip at the end. However, this branch leafed out in early spring...and last week the leaves wilted and shriveled.

I am beginning to fear verticillium wilt. Could I be on the right track?

The symptoms I see on my tree:
-wilted branch
-very slow growth
-Blackish spots on leaves (small, and sparse)

Is there anything else to look for?

If it is this, can we treat it, or will this tree just languish in the backyard until we cut it down? (by the way, I'd really love to avoid that)


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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Need an overall image of the tree, please

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 12:46PM
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Jean, unfortunately, I discovered the problem today.

I clipped the branch in that picture (the wilted one), and a healthier branch, as I had the time to take it to an arborist.

The good news? It is not verticillium.

The bad news? He thinks the culprit is a girdling root(s)

We've planted 7 trees on this property. This one had the biggest caliper at planting (about 3-3.5 inches). Judging by the nursery's containers today, the tree we planted was in an undersized container when we purchased it.

There is no taper at the bottom...but I am going to scratch down a bit into the soil to see if I can find it. When we planted it, we placed the soil of the root ball flush with the ground. I am sure that didn't help.

Our smaller caliper trees are doing extremely well. When we replace this one, it'll be another small caliper.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 4:34PM
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Always take a look at the roots before you plant- twisted, circled, cramped roots are quite common. I will even pull them out of the pots and look at the roots at the vendors before I buy them.

If you have something delivered and planted for you be there to look at the rootball and take photos if you think it looks dicey. I once had an enormous tree installed that I didn't like the looks of, took photos, and when it inevitably failed I had ammunition to get a replacement.
One can always refuse a plant, too.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 9:34AM
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