Autumn Blaze Maple Problem

Redwing2August 27, 2013

I have developed a problem with my Autumn Blaze Maple and have included two pictures. I live in southern Minnesota and planted the tree in the spring of 2010. It has done very well up until this point. About 3 or 4 weeks ago, the leaves on two braches coming off the trunk, have wilted and dried up. This started in late July or early Aug. Each year I have done some minor pruning to keep its shape by pruning off the ends of some branches. I usually trim it at the end of the season or in spring before it starts to bud but I did do some minor trimming this year during the growing season. Our weather this year was cool and wet in the spring and now dryer and hotter but I do water when needed. Each spring I fertilize by poking small holes in the ground around the perimeter of the tree and adding 10-10-10 fertilizer into the holes (not sure how much total fertilizer I use but much less than 5 pounds). I have looked at the leaves and do not see any bugs/mites etc. My thought is to just leave it alone for the rest of this growing season and see how it looks next season. If there is some reason to cut off these branches to keep the problem from spreading, I would do that but it would significantly diminish the uniform look of the tree. If there is any other info. that would be helpful, please let me know and I can add that. I love this tree and want to save it but am not sure what is wrong or what to do about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Any chance the branches are damaged closer to the trunk? The rest of the tree looks healthy. Look closely at the branches for anything unusual. Also, how do the buds look on these branches?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 6:42PM
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nurseryman33, thanks for reviewing and responding to my post. I have given the tree a closer inspection. The dying leaves have now spread to about four branches. The branches are not physically damaged. The buds look good, where the leaves still look good but out toward the end of each branch, where the leaves are dying, the buds are dying too. I noticed that on both dying leaves and healthy ones, there are very tiny little bugs/mites. They are black and hard to even see (smaller than bits of pepper). I now wonder if I have some type of insect infestation. I will do more internet research. Your response is appreciated, thanks.

This post was edited by Redwing2 on Sun, Sep 1, 13 at 10:21

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 10:12AM
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While you're doing your web search, look up Verticillium Wilt on maples. I sure hope this isn't what you have, but I suspect maybe it is.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 9:59PM
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nurseryman33, I'm afraid you might be right. What I see looks like Verticillium Wilt but I think it's time for me to bring in a local arborist to try to diagnosis it. I did strip back some of the bark on small infected branches and did not see any dark streaking but I understand that this streaking in the cambium layer may not appear in the early stages. Thanks for your help as I try to determine what is going on here.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:44AM
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I wouldn't be surprised if a kid climbing or snow damage bent and creased the branch/branches close to attachment to main trunk. Not enough to snap, just enough to cause stress showing up as early fall color.
I deal with some like this. The branch can be removed, no other concerns.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 9:52AM
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