maple leaves yellowing and developing holes

srolle1(5b-7 depending on who you ask)July 10, 2007

i have a 35' maple that is nearly 40 years old. i have only been here a year but have seen the same problems with it last summer. when the leaves first emerge they are green and very healthy. as the season goes they all eventually develop holes, turn yellow to brown and get thin and less pliable. we have been in a drought for some time so i wonder if it could be leaf burn? i am concerned because i also have three maples in my front yard that i believe have verticillium wilt. i lost one maple that way and the other two have been cut back severely. i am hoping they will overcome it but who knows.

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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Try spreading compost within tree dripline, about half inch thick. covered by 3-4 inches of mulch.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 12:15PM
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Don't try to do what Lou said. DO IT!! LOL!!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 1:26PM
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You may also wish to rent a gas auger with a slim width but about 3 foot long and go around the dripline of the tree about every four or five feet and drop in the holes, microhizae. I think we (a tree company I worked for) dropped about 1/2 a cup or so in each hole.

This is called a microhaizae injection (root injection). Also, I can never remember how to spell, microh...

Do a little research or ask around at local tree/shrub services to see if they do this type of work if you don't wish to do it yourself.

Could be the difference in saving or losing your tree(s).

And the compost thing is another good thing to do as well.

I also had an old "tree guy" tell me one time that disease-ridden trees are often a component of people forgetting that old trees need fertilizer every now and then. He said (again the dripline) use some plain 10-10-10 fertilizer and like I explained above but at a shallower depth, drop a small hand full of fert in holes. You could do two/both at once if you dropped the microhaize in then backfilled, and then top those holes off with fert and more soil above the fert.

Good luck. I feel for ya.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 8:17AM
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srolle1(5b-7 depending on who you ask)

thanks for the help. my maple has grass growing under it and the drip edge. will heavy and frequent doses of fertilizer do the same as compost and mulch?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 11:37AM
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No, not by a long shot IMHO.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 4:08AM
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I would think trying to use Mycorrhizal fungi to help (on a tree that old and established) this ?sick? tree would be extremely difficult (the natural soil fungi alone would reduce/slow down any kind of new fungi establishment on the exisiting root system. If the "door on the root system" is already closed by a native fungi, I don't think an introduced fungi will kick it out of the way).
I would think the suggestion of compost (TRUE compost) would be a better fit for this situation and would give the native soil fungi/bacteria a boost.
Any possibility of a photo????

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 10:53AM
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srolle1(5b-7 depending on who you ask)

one of the leaves in early stages of the "stressed look"

the leaf in the sun is yellow and hole ridden.

this i a pic from the front yard Norwegian(?) maple. i am going to fell it and possibly the one next to it tomorrow, 6-21. this is a 65' tree that i am very sad to lose. the one next to it has been cut back and is growing but the leaves are all brown around the edges. i am trying to decide if i want to give it a chance or just get rid of it while i have the chain saw out.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 1:26AM
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Mmmmm...thanks for the photo, it does help. The tree looks like a Sycamore or London Plane tree, this may help is trying to figure things out.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 8:03AM
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srolle1(5b-7 depending on who you ask)

it has flaking bark like the london plane tree and currently has large 1.5" balls growing from it. i assume those would be seeds. is the london plane tree susceptible to verticillium wilt? can i use the branches chipped from my infected maple in the front yard to mulch the drip edge of the london plane tree?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 3:57PM
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They are considered immune/resistant. I don't know for sure if reproductive structures of vert. are produced in the above ground portion of an infected plant. I would get rid of the maple to be on the safe side.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 4:55PM
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srolle1(5b-7 depending on who you ask)

sounds like the smart thing to do. here's a better picture of the leaves.

do you think this is just lack of care for previous years or could it be something worse? i hated to cut down those two 60'+ maples today and would hate even worse to lose this one. i have purchased the Mycorrhizal fungi as well as tree fertilizer w/ an auger for what i thought was a sugar maple. should i still put this in the ground?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 7:30PM
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It could just be yearly changes...for something that established, keep an eye on it...don't freak out the first year.
As for the Mycor. & fertilizer...rates of fert. for older, estabished trees can be a pain to determine(a lot of rates for different type of landcape fert. are all the same...they do not make a lot of sence and it seems most copy each others rates). Yes, fertilizing now and into the fall can allow nutrient loading for next year, to much of the wrong kind CAN set the plant up for winter injury (dependent on where you live, your winters, length of growing season, etc.). The fertilizer really does have a long shelf life if yoy keep it dry and sealed away from moisture.
As for the Mycorr.....if you have it, use has a shelf life MUCH shorter. The top 12"-18" of the soil is where "it is all happening", moisture uptake, oxygen exchange, nutrient uptake, etc(below that is mostly storage and support)......keep any augered holes at about 12"...the more holes, the better overall coverage. I honestly do not believe in its use for this kind of situation, but if you have it, use it.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 10:32PM
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I believe in it. Beneficial fungi in labatory control tests showed populations of rootsystems soaring uncontrolably. It's these fungi that attach themselves to a rootsytem as a host and increase nutrient/water uptake 10fold.

There are certain trees around Portland OR that are extremely old that we used to do this treatment on as an annual event and one time we were called to a nursery to do the application, so I believe that plantsmen and plantswomen are aware of the benefits these microrganisms are able to produce. That particular application was for a huge deciduous tree that the nursery didn't want to lose.

Plain old 10-10-10 fertilizer (1/2 cup) dropped into each hole is as good as anything. Now is a great time to do this. After August as stated by Schmoo is not however and will not allow the tree to harden off as it should causing the winter injury.

This is as preventitive as you're going to get and at the same time gradually start helping the tree to regain any loss of strength it once had. An annual application in your case is recommended.

Take care,


    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 11:23AM
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