Die back / wound on seven sons tree

meadow_lark(7)September 2, 2012

I have a 4 year old seven sons tree that has had some recent die back. I've just taken a good look, and the trunk has a large wound/area that has ants crawling on it, along with a couple of European hornets...

I did a google search, and found some articles on canker.

Can anyone give me some ideas on what it might or might not be? Can canker be treated, if that is what it turns out to be?

Thanks so much...

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Pictures of the affected area as well as images to show the dieback would be helpful.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 9:44AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

paper wasps ... use dead wood to make paper.. i dont have time to research your hornet.. otherwise i cant think of what harm they could do ...

ants usually make me look to the leaves.. to see if aphids or scale are around ... in other words.. most of the time.. ants are indicative of something else.. and not a problem themselves ....

my 7 S has never been vigorous.. and i had to cut it to the ground a couple times ... i think its personal.. as others think its carefree ... mine just hates me ...

we need a pic.. as noted


    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 10:14AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Meadowlark, I did some quick looking for information about your plant and found that it is very commonly affected by a canker of some sort....dieback is the result.

Coincidentally, one of the first sources I ran across was my husband's website about the trees on the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He mentions losing a couple to the disease and talked to the great Tennessee plantsman Don Shadow about it. Don corroborated Robert's observation.

There's nothing you can do to 'cure ' a canker diseased tree or shrub. You can extend the life of the plant, though, by keeping the plant healthy and stress free. Mulch the soil in an ample area, water in times of no rain, etc. Heptacodeum miconioides likes a moist soil, but it must be well drained.

I'd still like to see pictures, if possible.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 12:11PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

By the way, meadowlark...you might want to consider the most obvious issue here (duh....I can't believe that I didn't mention this right away)! The darned European Hornets can cause all kinds of problems to woody plants with their twig and small branch girdling, bark stripping, and gnawing.

Don't forget that this shrub has naturally exfoliating bark, but those pesky insects could really mess with it.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:21PM
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I've attached a pic of the affected area. We had a bad winter 2 years ago, and a broken branch needed to be removed... (seen in photo).
I've just had to remove an entire branch from die-back... (on the other side of the tree from where this photo was taken...) The tree has die-back on several other branches...

As for the European hornets... they are terrible! We have 6.5 acres of woods... These hornets stalk and kill the butterflies that come to the tree, and I've even seen the chase hummingbirds!

So... is my tree a gonner? Any way to save it?

Thanks again to all... Meadow Lark

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 7:47AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

As I said, you can't cure the problem...only prolong the tree's life, or misery depending upon how you look at it. If the tree still looks fairly good, do what you can to keep it happy. That does not include fertilizer, by the way. If, however, this plant is painful to look at, I sure wouldn't waste anytime getting rid of it. It's coming up on ideal planting time in your location.

As we often say in the Tree Forum when a tree's demise seems inevitable, look at it as an opportunity to find something more suitable.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 6:07PM
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