Thread: need help again: is this leaf scorch?

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Illinois (Chicago area)
    Posts
    6

    need help again: is this leaf scorch?

    Background: zone 5 (SW suburb of Chicago).

    We had this Green Mountain sugar maple planted by a nursery last fall. It was balled and burlapped (though I noticed that the burlap didn't seem to be cut away at all... you can see it still wrapped around the trunk if you brush away the mulch... isn't that improper planting?). Seemed to be doing okay this spring, but then the Midwest started getting hammered with storms and it's been a very, very wet and WINDY spring/early summer.

    The whole tree shows browning around the leaf edges. Probably can't see very well in this picture but it goes all the way to the top of the tree, all the way around (though worse on the south/southwest side of the tree, where the wind tends to come from).


    Here's a couple of close-ups:



    There also seem to be a lot of dead/brittle twigs/small branches on the whole tree. Like I said, it seems like we've had plenty of water this season. Since I noticed the browning, I've been trying to soak it if we don't have a decent rainfall every 3-4 days, and I just put some fertilizer spikes in the drip line the other day.

    Is there any hope for my poor tree? The nursery only gave a 90-day guarantee. However, if they planted it wrong (which I suspect, given the guys who showed up to do the job didn't really seem to know what they were doing) I will be marching in and demanding something.

    Any advice?

    Jennifer

  2. #2
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Dalton, GA
    Posts
    598

    RE: need help again: is this leaf scorch?

    I know some people say its ok to leave the burlap, but the Bartlett tree guys say not to do it that way.

    http://www.bartlett.com/post/article...in_NH12-99.pdf

    Type "burlap", "roots", or whatever you want in here http://www.bartlett.com/i500.cfm?group=Articles and press submit.

    Can you post a pic of the ground around the tree and the mulch?

  3. #3
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Dalton, GA
    Posts
    598

    RE: need help again: is this leaf scorch?


  4. #4
    Oak
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    562

    RE: need help again: is this leaf scorch?

    It could be anthracnose--which gets worse when its too wet. It looks like there is new growth on the top of the tree. I'd back off on the watering and see what happens. You might be making it worse.

    It doesn't really look like leaf scorch to me because that usually affects the outside edges of the leaves more.

    I'm not sure about the burlap bag business, the real question is whether or not they cut away enough of it to free the roots. I'd cut away the burlap around the trunk and investigate a bit.

    It COULD be leaf scorch and that can be caused by a variety of things, almost all of them environmental and related to lack of water and root damage. With such a recent planting, I'd be tempted to dig around a bit and, if the burlap is still intact, pull it out of the ground and cut it away.

    That is, if the tree continues to decline after backing off on water to see if it is anthracnose. The sugar maple is very picky about its environment and may not like the soil. Or the roots could simpy be damaged and it may recover from the transplanting.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Illinois (Chicago area)
    Posts
    6

    RE: need help again: is this leaf scorch?

    Thanks for the tips and advice. I will back off and see what happens. I assume we won't truly know until next year when the new leaves emerge? Obviously the brown isn't going to miraculously turn to green again.

    You may be right about the soil too. We have clay here. Didn't do my homework on clay + sugar maple. Not a good combo, apparently. (Really wish the folks at the nursery had given me some more guidance.)

    Just hate to lose any trees since we just built and are looking at 20+ years before we have any decent shade around here. If we lose this one, we're set back another couple of years.

  6. #6
    Oak
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    562

    RE: need help again: is this leaf scorch?

    Yeah, I thought that looked like a new subdivision in the pictures. They stripped away all of the top soil, left you with clay, at best, and put a few inches of top soil back to grow yards.

    Don't be discouraged. You're not looking at twenty years without shade, if you choose the right trees. I lived in a subdivision like that and planted a variety of trees in my back yard. A silver maple, while not as nice as sugar maple to many people, is a highly adaptable, very fast growing tree. I planted one and five years later, had a shade tree. If you can have a tall tree, perhaps a tulip tree (tulip poplar) is an option. I planted one and had a shade tree in just four years. Both silver maple and tulip poplar are good trees (some might argue that silver maple is not, but I disagree and it was a popular shade/yard tree for decades) when mature. Silver maple is bit messy and those helicopters that fly from the branches in the spring will meant that you'll have baby silver maples all over your hard. But mowing takes care of that problem.

    Another option, for a smaller tree, is a crabapple. There are a number of cultivars available. They don't get all that big and produce a small shade tree in just a few years. The builder's landscaper put a Sargent crabapple in my front yard in the subdivision and it was a nice shade tree within five years.

    There are other options as well, but I'll not suggest the invasives and "genetically engineered" trees that many of us on this forum dislike so much.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Illinois (Chicago area)
    Posts
    6

    RE: need help again: is this leaf scorch?

    Thanks for the suggestions. We might look into a couple more trees. I love crabapples, had one at our old house and it was such a nice, filtered shade. Tulip poplar looks nice too.

    Edited to add: we have a silver maple in front (I'm the one who posted about the mulch volcano thanks to our builder's landscapers). It's doing very well despite the volcano and is a fast grower!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Illinois (Chicago area)
    Posts
    6

    RE: need help again: is this leaf scorch?

    Just thought I'd update as I'm sure you all despise when people come seeking advice and then bail without a thank-you.

    The tree seems to be doing better. We've dried out somewhat in my area, so that may be helping. Also, I purchased an insect/disease spray from Bayer for my river birch in the front yard (had a huge aphid infestation) and I noticed that it was also labeled for fungus (including anthracnose), so I figured I'd give the sugar maple a spray too. I don't know if either of these was the thing to help, but it does seem to be doing much better. I see less and less brown as the season continues. I'm watering it about once a week if we haven't had any rain, but careful not to overwater as we have clay soil.

    So, thanks for the info!

    Jennifer

  9. #9
    Seedling
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    29

    RE: need help again: is this leaf scorch?

    Looks like anthracnose. My sugar maple has it, too, though my tree looks to be much younger than yours. Actually, mine has had anthracnose every year since planted to some degree. It was planted 3 years ago. Each year it seems to get a little better. Last year I sprayed for it with some success. I had an arborist look at it this spring and he said not to worry about it -- it shouldn't harm the tree -- he said damp springs can cause it. He recommended giving the tree some fertilizer and let it be.

  10. #10
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Lincoln, Nebraska - Lancaster County (Zone 5)
    Posts
    256

    RE: need help again: is this leaf scorch?

    Jennifer...I hope you are still monitoring the forum? Please read this if the burlap is still covering the root ball on this tree.

    Do I remove root ball packing materials? What do the experts say?

    by Michael Kuhns, Extension Forestry, Utah State University and Brook Lee Community Forester, Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands

    http://extension.usu.edu/forestry/Ho..._RootBalls.htm

    No wonder the tree is only under a 90-day guarantee.
    Sincerely, Robert
    Lincoln, NE (Zone 5)

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
    - Martin Luther (1483-1546)

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