Thread: Red Maple with top portion dead - from freezing?

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fort Pierre, SD
    Posts
    1

    Red Maple with top portion dead - from freezing?

    I planted 3 red maples last spring. Currently two are doing great but the third has a problem. The top half of the area which leafed out last year now appears to be dead while the bottom half is fully leafed out. It began to bud this spring and then we had a freeze which I think may have caused the problem. The tree is warrantied so I could get a replacement at no cost.
    However, the tree's leader is showing a few sprouts and further up appears to be developing some new buds. I have pictures but my computer died so I am unable to post them.
    If it is possble that the current tree can recover I would prefer to just baby it back to health rather than dig it up and replace it.
    Am I making the right choice or should I just replace it? How long before I know if it is going to improve.
    Thanks for your imput.
    Steve

  2. #2

    RE: Red Maple with top portion dead - from freezing?

    You're doing the right thing. Even if that top half doesn't leaf out, the tree will develop a new leader. It will look a little funny for the remainder of this growing cycle. After the tree goes dormant (i.e., around January), snip off the old leader. Next year, the tree will scab over the pruned spot and two years from now you won't even be able to find the spot without really looking hard. Since the tree has a year worth of root production, starting from scratch will just abandon a lot of hard work on the part of both you and the tree.

    That said, it's worth thinking about why this crown dieback happened. There's probably nothing that you can identify (this sort of thing just seems to happen sometimes, in my experience, without an obvious cause), but it may be that you can figure out some factor that caused it and address that problem. Probably this will be futile, however. (I just had a Red Maple die all the way with no obvious cause at all. It happens.)

  3. #3
    Sapling
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Big Lake, Minnesota
    Posts
    54

    RE: Red Maple with top portion dead - from freezing?

    Give the tree another couple years, if it looks to be declining still next spring even further then maybe dig it up and start over, but I would let it ride out this season for sure and see if it looks worse next year yet..
    Improving the health of lawn trees in my neighborhood one tree at a time.

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