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shriveled maple leaves


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#1 Guest_<Chris J>_*

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 05:38 PM

Our very large maple trees (not sure what kind) do not usually drop their leaves until mid to late November. This year, the leaves started shriveling up in August and now the trees are laden with crumpled, dried out, brown leaves. What do you make of this? Is it a problem related to this year's unusual weather?
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#2 Guest_Dan K_*

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 07:46 AM

Hello chris-
Sounds like it could be a disease called anthracnose. its a fungal disease that causes leaf browning and early drop like you describe. However, it would be best to have a certified arborist out to look at the tree and your whole landscape.
, City of Detroit Forester
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#3 Guest_Fencer_*

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 09:09 AM

My Maple also did this. I believe mentioned that as long as new buds formed for next year, everything should be okay.

My question is, would it benefit the tree to fertilize it and maybe keep it well watered, or is it dorment and done till next year?

Thanks !
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#4 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 06:07 PM

I didn't mean to seay "as long as buds formed for next year it's all okay." What I meant is that if the tree formed buds you can stop worrying that it died, and hope for a better year next year. With a fungus problem like anthracnose, you should spend the off-season learning about it -- especially what it looks like early in the season and which of the methods of treating it you might "go for." Then if you see any signs of it next spring you can head it off at the pass to spare your tree two such bad years in a row.

, Senior Instructor, The Michigan School of Gardening
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#5 Guest_dself_*

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 08:29 PM

My Amur Maple has the same problem. And the branches that have the wilted/dried leaves are dead. I had a die off starting in June and a 2nd round about 2 weeks ago. Arghhh!! Should I dig it up?
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#6 Guest_Fencer_*

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 11:53 AM

Thanks .

So, what can I do to make sure the tree gets a good start for next year? Would fertialising and increased watering do any good now that the leaves have dropped? Is the trees roots still active and storing nutrients?

Thanks !
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#7 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 09 October 2004 - 03:42 PM

How to get a good start on next year depends in part on what the problem actually was this year. Water and fertilizer are almost always worthwhile, as is anything that can make the environment more ideal so the tree is healthier and more resistant to rtrouble.

But if the problem was anthracnose, a fungicide MAY be in order in spring. The Amur maple sounds like it may have verticillium wilt (but it may be something else -- this is NOT a diagnosis!), another matter entirely. Anthracnose is a leaf disease that might move to twigs if it continues heavy; verticillium is systemic in the vascular (water conducting) tissues. Sometimes early high-nitrogen fertilization is recommended for wilt-infected trees, to help them grow faster than the wilt fungus during that time of year wilt fungi grow best (June), and it's been reported to work sometimes. Other times the only thing to do is to remove the tree if the infection continues and worsens.

(I have to say that Amur maples do, also, just have a tendency to decline for unspecified reasons as they age. It's the June wilt and death that rings the verticillium bell, in my mind.)

In any case, you both really need positive I.D.'s of the problems. Start by looking at Extension bulletins on anthracnose and verticillium wilt (google the possible problem's technical name along with the plant's technical name, such as anthracnose Acer or verticillium Acer). Compare what you read there to what you saw on your trees.

Maybe you'll be drawn along different routes, or maybe you'll hire an arborist to come look, to give your more specific information and recommendations. Having done some research first, you will have a better "feel" for how sound the info is that the arborist gives you, and that makes for a good working relationship.

, Senior Instructor, The Michigan School of Gardening
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#8 Guest_Fencer_*

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 10:52 AM

I did some internet sluthing and I believe my Maple has run of the mill Tar Spot. I plan on getting all the leaves off the ground and out to the recycle bags this fall and probably hit the tree with and antifungal spray this spring. I also plan to areate this fall as I did have some soil compaction this spring that may have weakened the tree.
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#9 Guest_dself_*

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Posted 15 October 2004 - 08:04 PM

Well... is correct. My amur maple has verticillium wilt. I have a Sugar maple and paper bark maple within 30 ft of the amur. Should I be concerned for the other maples?
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#10 Guest_<Chris J>_*

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Posted 16 October 2004 - 06:06 PM

Thank you so much for all the info. I hadn't considered using an antifungal. I am thinking of finding an arborist. We have so many guys coming around wanting to cut down the two ash trees, claiming they are tree experts. How do we know who is qualified to treat a possible fungal problem on maple trees? We also definitely have some maples on our property that have the tar spot problem. This is all so distressing since we are also losing our two large ash trees. And, I didn't realize that trees other than sycamores got the antracnose condition.Thanks,again
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#11 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 12:34 PM

Verticillium travels root-to root. (And, as a secondary path, from pruned branch or root to pruned branch or root; avoidable if the gardener is aware of the possibility of verticillium and sterilizes spades and pruners with bleach between plants.) Nearby susceptible plants are at risk, if driplines are close. Nothing to be done but to trench between not-yet-close plants by trenching, and keeping the at-risk adjacent plants whole-in-root (no damage) and in peak condition overall so they are more resistant.

Always best to confirm suspected verticillium with a test by a pathology lab. Because it is a fungus that can infect many species in many families. You want to know for sure that's what you're dealing with. Call the MSU Extension to confirm the following (it's late and on the weekend so I can't call for you just now). You'll need to send live root- and branch samples to confirm.

The trees aren't getting the same anthracnose. We call it anthracnose because of what it looks like, but different fungi cause it in one tree species and another. So you don't have to be overly concerned about your trees except to work on making them all over-all healthier. Could be that it was just time for things to start happening to yours because they're crowded. (Few people have a lot large enough for more than two or three trees, really. In a forest when trees reach a size large enough to seriously compete with each other, one or more "lose" by succumbing to problems that kill them or slow them. The others take over.) In that case, removing a couple may be a blessing in disguise. The extra space may allow the remainder to be healthier. That, and doing some watering, fertilizing and reviewing/correcting of any kinds of competition and soil abuse that may be going on at root level.

Who's a quaified arborist? Look for a company with individuals certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, for starters. (With the increased demand for tree removal service now that the emerald ash borer is at work, the percentage of tree-workers who are also arborists is lower than it was.) And in every single case, ISA-certified individual or not, get referrals. Talk to people those arborists have worked with before!

, Senior Instructor, The Michigan School of Gardening
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