tree disease

Asked June 9, 2014, 5:13 PM EDT

I have 4 flaming maples, the trunks of three are splitting and some of the bark is falling off. On a couple they have some green fungus at least that's what it looks like. All the leafs look good, one tree has a few branches that are dead with no leafs. Please try to identify what they have so I can treat these trees, They are 22 years old. Can you lead me in the right direction with a web site that would have video's that could help, or an agency that's local for some help, that would even be better. I live in Joplin,Missouri

Jasper County Missouri

1 Response

What you are describing sounds like winter injury, possibly over a period of years along with environmental stress from really wet years followed by extreme drought. Maple trees are thin barked when young, making them susceptible to Southwest Injury which is a type of winter injury. You can google this on the internet. Trees with this injury have splits or cracks in their trunks causing the water and nutrients to not be taken up to the canopy, so then you start seeing dieback in the canopy.......maybe a branch here and there one year, and more the next year, until the tree finally dies. The green fungus you describe is most likely lichens. Google lichens and see if it matches what you see on your tree. Lichens grow on stressed trees. They are not the problem. They are growing on the tree because it already has a problem. There is nothing you can do to help a tree with winter injury other than keep it watered during times of drought and prune out the dead branches. Overtime you will probably have to remove the trees and plant new ones. You have an extension office in your county that you can take samples to anytime. The extension office in all of Missouri's counties is in the county seat.