Somewhat Quirky
Somewhat Quirky
  • Hometalker
  • Grosse Pointe, MI
Asked on Jul 12, 2012

Please help me save my tree!!!!

Douglas HuntSomewhat QuirkySharron W
+13

Answered

I don't have a picture of how bad it really is but maybe these will give you an idea. We had an early spring, then 3 or 4 hard freezes. Lots of maples here burned, but my tree had very few leaves so didn't seem to get damaged. About half of the tree never leafed out and now it is slowly but surely drying up. I have used an organic fertilizer once and it gets plenty of water. HELP HELP HELP. this tree is practically unreplaceable.
Tree this year - has dried up even more since this picture.  This is the "full" side.....
Tree this year - has dried up even more since this picture. This is the "full" side.....
What it should look like at this time of summer.
What it should look like at this time of summer.
Picture from fall.
Picture from fall.
16 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Jul 12, 2012

    Try to mulch the entire bed 2-3 inches. Also if possible rig a sail over the top to protect from the sun. If you are not familiar with sails, here is a link. You could also use a screening tarp type material. Even parking something on all that concrete on the other side of the fence could help. http://www.jasondeweyphoto.com/gallery/large/residential_exteriors_26.jpg

  • Somewhat Quirky
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I will try that as long as my neighbor agrees. I notice you are from the south. Gardening here is very unique in that we have only approx 65 days of full sun yearly. It was shocking to me when we moved here from the SW that they grew hostas, hydrangeas, impatiens, jap/maples all in full sun. This tree has survived all these years right next to a large driveway (my neighbors) and 14 feet from mine! Thank you for your input. It will certainly be worth it if it works.

  • Jeff C
    on Jul 12, 2012

    Wow, and I thought my Japanese maple was bad. Pretty much the top of mine is bald. The 70 degree weather in march and then hard freezes in May really did a number on our Japanese maple this year. Hope you can revive that tree as it looks great in the fall.

  • Francine P
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I live in Texas and lost my maple that I grew from a twig after 4 years. The drought took mine. All I know is it is not good to fertilize trees when they are stressed out. Try trimming the dead branches and give it some shade with the the sail. Mulch the roots and keep it watered. Good luck. I have bought another to replace mine but I'm taking my time moving it around the yard to find that perfect happy planting spot.

  • Sharron W
    on Jul 13, 2012

    The one thing I know about Japanese maples is that the way they look each season is based on how they fared six months to a year ago. Each spring when mine leafs out, I know if the previous summer I gave it enough fertilizer tree stakes or not. During the hottest part of the summer, how quickly it fades from the deepest red to red/green mix tells me if I provided adaquate water and fertilizer the previous summer and fall to beef up it's immune system and prepare it for the southern heat. Because I know they are essentially acid loving, I give mine Multiple pieces of evergreen tree stakes. I break the tree stakes in half and pound them in the ground around the tree, twice during the summer months about 6 weeks apart. I also deep water with a "hound dog" which I purchased at Home Depot. I use the Older type of miracle grow sprayer that has a twist off nozzle and I put the hound dog on where the nozzle would go and I deep water with the miracle grow for acid loving plants and azalyas. In this case the poor thing is trapped between two alkline concrete driveways and to add insult to injury the chain link fence is burning the limbs and foliage. For the time being I would try my deep watering trick with a "hound dog" It looks like a cane that comes to a sharp point and can attach to your hose, I think it cost 15.00 at home Depot. I would also build a temporary 2x4 "T" to prop it off the top of the burning hot chain link and consider building a short section of wooden fence in the fall that is taller than the chain link to permanently allow it to rest it's limbs on wood instead of a metal fence. Then the shade sail that was suggested should allow you to limp it through the rest of the summer. Once you begin to see improvement, in about a month, use the hound dog to dig some holes and start giving it the 1/2 tree stakes. Do the trimming of dead foliage after the first cold snap to prevent an opportunistic insect infestation. Good luck and let us know how you fare.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I think you should also do a soil test and see what toll the combination of driveways and salts has done where you have that tree.

  • Sharron W
    on Jul 13, 2012

    @Douglas...I forget (being in the south) that they have salt and/or ammonium based "snow melt" issues...in that area. Good call! My Maple is the first thing I planted after I bought this house, and even 8 months pregnant...bought that tree and planted it...30 years later it's still doing fine...

  • Somewhat Quirky
    on Jul 13, 2012

    Thanks to everyone for your input. I will go buy a deep watering tool today. A little more info- last year we got 60 inches of rain here and that in addition to the amount of lawn and garden watering we do provides LOTS of water. There was almost NO snow this year and even when it does snow nobody uses salt in driveways - just snow blowers. Now that I think about it, perhaps it didn't get enough water over the winter - as it is typically insulated with 6 or 7 inches of snow for up to 4 months. This tree is at least 15 years old and has lived through at least one driveway repour on each side with no ill effects. I checked this morning and only one small limb is touching the fence. Interesting - the healthiest side of the tree is the one closest to the concrete - typically both sides of the tree are equally healthy. The most affected parts are those on the "sides" of the tree (with gardens on each side). There is currently at least 3 inches of mulch. Should I add compost? How far down do I need to go to grab the soil for a soil test?

  • Sharron W
    on Jul 13, 2012

    If it's 15 years old the roots may have finally reached under the alkline concrete area and it may be reacting in part to that, but even if it's successfully fought off those issues before, fighting less than ideal conditions, stresses a tree and can make them more susceptible to insect damage and other ailments. The older the tree bigger and longer the roots are....so look and see if you can detect small holes in the bark from borers. Also have you noticed an ant colony around or ants on the tree? Does landscape fabric cover the ground under the mulch? B/C where I originally (30 years ago) put down landscape fabric, it made a perfect winter shelter for Carpenter ants...and after several years of struggling shrubs...a landscaper said, get that stuff up! Once I removed it I found the ants had been eating the roots...and once that was treated the shrubs began to thrive...Another question, was another larger tree or shrub present nearby last year that has since been removed? I had a beautiful gardinia for many years, planted in a corner it was sheltered from the very worst of the winters drying effects....however it also had a companion that was nearby and when it was removed, the following winter the gardinia died. I called a landscaper friend and he said the companion sheltered the gardinia not only from the winter wind, but also fromthe worst of the summer heat....and I had not realized just how much shelter a few bare branches apparently provided...during the winter....and how much shade another small shrub could provide. Also be careful digging, even for the soil test, the roots are usually shallow and even visible on top of the dirt and subject to damage by lawnmowers in some cases. I had to stop my hubby from "weedeating" under ours. WOW just re-read your last post, GARDENS on each side...how far away are the Gardens? Close enough that the roots may have been roto-tilled? What about garden chemicals....did anyone "lime" the garden soil?

  • Somewhat Quirky
    on Jul 13, 2012

    No roto-tilling (perennials) nothing growing close to spread of tree except grass and even that is outside the branch overhang. Nothing has been moved or altered. No landscaping fabric anywhere. I just sifted through the mulch - see no signs of life. Don't see any signs of damage to the bark There is lichen, but all trees here have lichen.

  • Sharron W
    on Jul 13, 2012

    You didn't by any chance plant sweet potato vine in those beds did you? Or Elephant ears? Certain plants suck ALL the acid out of the soil. we had 5 year old blueberry bushed LOADED with fruit, they were about 8 feet tall and in ideal conditions due to the amount of work that went into bed preperation, and hubby's dad walked down one day and "planted" some pretty annuals in front of the bushes to dress them up, the bushes died in less than a week....still loaded with berries...I asked what he planted and he said "potato vine" I knew THEN that is what killed the bushes, they use potato to suck up toxic spills...and I'm saying that a 20 ft stretch containing 6 mature blueberry bushes died within a week after he planted 3 tiny little potato vines...2 feet in front of them. The affects of some plants can be shocking...

  • Somewhat Quirky
    on Jul 13, 2012

    No the only thing close is a sedum (autumn) very large. Actually there is a three year old honeysuckle planted (by my neighbor) about 15 feet down from the trunk of the tree. Do you think this could be hurting it.

  • Sharron W
    on Jul 13, 2012

    Sedum is a succulent, and you'd be amazed at the amount of water they can suck up and deny the tree...also the nutrients they can suck up out of the soil....if you can make it to the fall be sure and give it some ironite as well before going into the winter dormancy so that it has a supply to draw on in the spring and next spring/summer give it some ironite a couple times during the season. you have to sprinkle it on top of the soil and mulch, it wor't go through the sprayers since it takes a long time to break down.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jul 14, 2012

    Quirky, if the tree is as valuable to you as you say, I think it would be well worth your money to have a good tree person come out and take a look at it. You can find someone certified by the International Society for Arboriculture by Zip Code using this link: http://www.isa-arbor.com/faca/findArborist.aspx?utm_source=homepageclicks&utm_medium=homepagebox&utm_campaign=IAmA

  • Somewhat Quirky
    on Jul 14, 2012

    I got the name of someone yesterday. Thanks for your time and suggestions. I just hope I haven't waited too long. I've been thinking of calling someone all summer. Silly me - didn't do it yet, but his whole exercise here on Hometalk helped me to do what I should have done a month ago!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jul 14, 2012

    Good luck!

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