What is wrong with my Maple Tree (pics)
I'm in Raleigh, NC. I moved into my house two years ago. The maple tree pictured below was already planted in the yard. I feel like the foliage is not a "thick" as it was two years ago. I also noticed a few dead looking branches with little or no leaves. In general this tree looks kind of sick to me. Any ideas on what is wrong and what I can do about it. I have tried to remove the soil from around the trunk to expose the root flare, but it seems like there are a lot of fiberous roots all voer the surface and I fear I will do more harm than good trying to remove the soil. We have hard red clay here in NC. However, I know it is bad to have the trunk buried like this. I know this could be the issue. If so what can I do about it. Could the sick look of the tree be due to another reason?
Thanks for the help! I really don't want to lose this tree!
Picture of thinning looking maple tree
Close-up of some bare and dead looking branches
Close-up of trunk (How do I safely expose the root flare?)