Wondering what killed my red maples...
Early this spring I planted some 30 odd trees, among them 6 sugar maples and 6 red maples. These bare rooted maples were all approx. 3 feet tall.
The sugar maples (along with a large number of evergreens and two crabapples, planted at the same time) seem to be doing well, but the red maples have lost all their leaves. I guess I should say they have lost all their leaf buds; they never leafed out as the sugar maples did.
We faithfully watered all these new trees on the handful of days last month that it did not rain. So I'm wondering if too much rain water might be responsible for the red maples' seeming demise. All our other trees were planted on a slope with excellent drainage, except for two crabapples and my experience is that apples of any kind can thrive in the wettest of conditions.
The area where I planted the maples has some drainage, but not as much as the spruce trees on the hill. I'm beginning to wish I had planted apples and crabapples in this spot instead of the maples.
Normally I do not remove plantings no matter what sad state they have reached, especially after looking at thyme2dig's photos of her blue spruce that lost all its needles and then rallied to become an amazing huge Christmas tree in all its full glory! I tend to let unthrifty plants and trees die a natural death in any case.
However I have also developed concerns about the safety of growing these red maples where they will overhang the neighbors' pasture. Since purchasing and planting the red and sugar maples I have learned that the leaves and branches of red maples are toxic to horses, and sugar maples are suspected of also being poisonous. Apparently most horses on good pasture will not browse on maples, but those with limited food resources will. Our own horses' meadow was surrounded by sugar maples, but because they never lacked for pasture grass and/or hay, they had no interest in eating maple leaves or browsing on branches. The neighbors have an agreement with a less than stellar horse owner to pasture his horses on their land, and he leaves his animals in the pasture long after the grass has been eaten, so I worry about their safety. (I would be more upset with this person except for the fact that when he finally does remove the horses to their winter home they come back the next spring in apparent good health and looking well fed.) Additionally the summer pasture bordering our land is also ringed by sugar maples, so these horses already have access to maples, sugar maples at least.
So I'm wondering if I should just pluck out the seemingly dead red maples and replace them with sugar maples. I think I will post this on the tree forum too. I'm open to all suggestions.