Asked on May 22, 2013

One of my red maple trees died.

Decor&DinePatricia WJill
+17

Answered

We planted three red maple trees over two years ago and they did well the first year. Last summer two of them had some white powder looking stuff on the leaves. This year one of them did not survive the winter. The others are starting to get the white stuff again...is that what killed it? I need help!
Two still alive, one died
Two still alive, one died
white spots starting to show up
white spots starting to show up
More white spots
More white spots
20 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on May 23, 2013

    Did the one that died show any signs of stress last fall? Did they lose their leaves naturally at the normal time?

  • Decor&Dine
    on May 23, 2013

    @360 Sod (Donna Dixson) it just got covered by that white stuff on it's leave but it lost it's leaves at the same time as the others.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on May 23, 2013

    The white spots and white powder you describe sound like it could be powdery mildew, but I have never heard of that killing a tree. I think I'd be inclined to have a certified arborist come out and take a look.

  • Nancy Hand
    on May 23, 2013

    Could it have been planted too deep??

  • Decor&Dine
    on May 23, 2013

    I don't think so @Nancy Hand. All the other trees that were planted at the same time are fine. The two other red maples also have the white mildew but they are big and full of leaves.

  • Elaine McNish
    on May 23, 2013

    I blamed my husbands weed eater skills. The bark was denuded and I think pests of some kind killed mine via the damaged trunk.

  • Jill
    on May 23, 2013

    I think Doug is right, your trees have what is called Powdery Mildew. It can actually spread to anything in your yard. It occurs when it's just too moist. Check with a local nursery for a type of fungicide (usually sulfer based) to kill the ashy powder. It must be sprayed on the leaves, but don't do it when it's too hot or it will kill off and damage the remaining leaves. But that in itself does not kill trees. Could an under lying culprit that is causing it is probably what's killing it? Could it be that drainage in and around the trees is too poor or the soil is more clay like below ground? The tree became over watered and died of root rot. (I noticed from your picture that the trees are planted very close together considering how big they will eventually get.) Also, this past winter was a very harsh one in comparison, could it be that the young sapling just could not take the cold and froze? Maple trees need to be planted in well draining soil at the highest point in the yard. The main cause of death in very young trees is usually the cold. If you decide to replant new trees come next fall you might want to think of these things, plus wrapping or covering your young trees in the winter to protect them.

  • Decor&Dine
    on May 23, 2013

    Thanks @Jill, great advise. I will get the fungicide to kill the powder on the leaves. The company that planted our trees planted these three close together to give us privacy from the house behind us, they told us that these are long skinny maples. They have gotten tall but not very wide. It may have been the cold or the soil but it surprises me how the others trees were not damaged. They were all planted at the same time and soil seems to be the same through out the yard. I appreciate everyone's input. Thanks.

  • Linda Labbe
    on May 23, 2013

    http://japanesemapleguide.com/powdery-mildew-on-a-japanese-maple/; http://www.ehow.co.uk/info_8175571_white-fungus-japanese-maple-tree.html I have attached some very informative websites regarding Japanese maples and potential reasons for your problem. I hope you can find a solution. :)

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on May 23, 2013

    I am thinking the powdery mildew is a symptom or byproduct of the problem and not the cause of the death. It does look like the dead one maybe planted lower, but that could just be the way the picture is taken. I agree that to find out what really happened an arborist visit my be in order. Did you speak with your installation people about it? is it still under warranty?

  • Decor&Dine
    on May 24, 2013

    It is no longer under warranty @360 Sod (Donna Dixson) but we haven't spoken to the people who planted it. I will try that first. Thanks. Thanks for the websites @Linda Labbe.

  • Patricia W
    on May 24, 2013

    Are those Crimson King maples?

  • Decor&Dine
    on May 24, 2013

    I am not 100% sure but I think they may be @Patricia W. I was looking up the mildew issue and found a site that spoke the mildew problem is common in crimson maples.

  • Patricia W
    on May 24, 2013

    We had several varieties of maple in our nursery. We never had powdery mildew on our trees, but our plants were hit hard in our greenhouse. I cannot imagine why one would not survive the winter after being established for the first year. They look really healthy otherwise. I would definitely clean up anything one the ground around them, if there is mulch, remove it. I would not compost anything from those trees or around them either. When you do spray, hit everything around them as well. Good luck.

  • Mary Beth
    on May 24, 2013

    I just had to have a maple tree cut down ~ it was right in the center of my front yard ~ broke my heart.

  • Decor&Dine
    on May 24, 2013

    Thanks @Patricia W I will do that. I was thinking of adding more mulch, so your saying not too or just remove the old one first?

  • Jill
    on May 25, 2013

    Mulch retains moisture, moisture is at the center of the powdery mildew cause. So adding more mulch is not a good idea at this time. As it says in the links Linda posted, you might want to remove all mulch until the fungus is eradicated. DO NOT REUSE THAT MULCH somewhere else in your yard, or put it back under the tree later down the line, and don't compost it. Even if you laid it out somewhere to dry out and kill the mildew, it has spores in it that could come back at you. After you do get the infection cleared, you might want to read the labels of the products you buy to make sure they have anti mildew compounds added. Some bark or mulch can be treated with chemicals to prevent this. Also read up on the types of mulch, some are better than others when it comes to preventing disease naturally such as cedar or redwood. Artificial mulch such as ground rubber sounds nice, but it too can harbor mold in some cases. You would be better off contacting an arborist instead of the landscaping company that put in your trees when it comes to asking them questions about disease. They would be able to tell you more. If you can't afford an arborist to come out, call your local agricultural program at the nearest university. They can give you information, tell you what is the best way to treat the problem, and usually don't charge for it. Sometimes they will even send out someone to your home to see the problem. They really are great resources.

  • Decor&Dine
    on May 25, 2013

    Thanks for all the information @Jill, you have been a great help. I will look into an agricultural program, that is a great idea :)

  • Patricia W
    on May 29, 2013

    Yes, if there was or is disease then you will want to remove the old mulch, any fallen leaves and just get them out of there. You can use small rock, maybe 1 to 2 inch, it makes a wonderful mulch and drainage is great! I used the same for an area around lilies, never saw any healthier and happier! It looks really pretty and leaf clean up is a breeze, just blow them off!

  • Decor&Dine
    on May 29, 2013

    Thanks @Patricia W, the small rocks is a great idea. I have rocks in the side of the yard where my other trees are, they look great.

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