Sunset Maple turning red in summer

entercellJuly 7, 2013

Chicago area received lots of rain this summer. It is a treat to look at healthy trees and green lawns in my neighborhood. While my lawn is doing fine, my sunset maple tree that I planted 2 years ago is turning red in the middle of summer - started the color change in mid-june. It doesn't look healthy. Some of the leaves have pimples on them and most leaves on the tree have turned red or are in the process of turning red. The leaves also look wilted - doesn't make sense with all the rain. My neighbors maple trees all look green and healthy. A quick google search talks about drainage issues, clay soil(which i have) and root related problems. I am attaching a close up shot of the leaves - please help

This post was edited by entercell on Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 15:21

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Adding second picture of the whole tree

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:29PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If it has been in position 2 years the staking needs to come off. The early fall color is liable to be a soil moisture issue. Dig well inside the original soil ball and look at the soil - you may be in for a surprise. If that looks okay then dig around in the bottom of the planting hole to make sure there is no puddling and stagnation - although that would not be my first guess as to what could be producing the existing response.

If the tree has not been mulched (with 4" of wood chips or comparable covering, kept off the trunk) doing that is liable to improve results markedly - after you figure out why the tree is turning red.

Since the tree has the habit and leaf shape of a Freeman maple it will be one of the cultivars belonging to that hybrid and not Red Sunset = 'Franksred'.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 6:50PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Looks like an Autumn Blaze to me.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:16PM
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I dug a hole close to the trunk per your suggestion and found water 1 feet deep and lots of clay soil. It didn't rain recently - it must be drainage issue. Attaching picture. I went to the local nursery and based on their suggestion did the following
1. Added root strengthening solution - assuming transplant shock
2. Home depot person suggested using Vitamin B1 solution to help with stress
3. I also added peat moss and organic compost+ manure to the top layer
As far as staking goes, it is one year old - i added it after my tree fell down during a storm.
Looks like i need to drain properly and improve the soil - it will be a long battle
I also have a new problem - bark is splitting - not sure if i should do something about it - any ideas are welcome. Thanks for all the responses. Adding picture of bark as well.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:12PM
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adding...Bark Problem picture

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:53PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

The hole in the bark is old. The rolled wood at the edges is trying to close the wound.

Because the roots are in standing water, I suggest you improve the site -- install drainage, and/or create a berm -- then start over with a healthy young tree this fall.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Skip the transplant fertilizer etc. - now and in the future. This time the impeded drainage is the critical problem, tree is too wet. You will either have to plant a swamp-adapted tree there or put in pipes and drain the water off. To do this you will have to have an acceptable place to drain the water into.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 3:55AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Entercell, where are ya? Is the spot THAT low?

Folks see pics of my yard and comment on the clay but it does not hold water that well.

I would not mess with drainage if you don't plan on building sheds or whatever there. Just seems like work. Plant metasequoia (a plug for my favorite lol), bald cypress or a nyssa (maybe nyssa aquatica) if cold hardy but I THINK regular nyssa sylvatica has good moisture tolerance. Swamp white oak may work.but I defer as I do not own one.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:09PM
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@toronado live in chicago. i talked to local nursery and he said stop all the madness and let nature fix itself. I am going to be hands off for sometime and give the tree and nature a chance to fix things. Thanks for all your responses

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 12:07PM
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