Maple Tree has Gone Limp

Asked July 11, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

The leaves on one of our maples were dropping. I thought it needed water so I watered it and it seemed to get better. Then we had a number of storms come through town and it got plenty of rain. Now the limps that used to stretch skyward are touching the ground. So more water is not the answer. I think this tree is going to die, unless I come up with some answers to save it. I believe it also has something called "Tar Spot" which is difficult to teat and not supposed to be fatal.

New Castle County Delaware

1 Response


Thank you for contacting Delaware Cooperative Extension. You may receive a short survey after the answer to this question.
From the picture, the tree appears to be a young silver maple. Trees planted in the past two years have struggled to establish good root systems due to fluctuating rainfal and soil moisture conditions. We were actually too wet for most of the last year, until about two weeks ago. Our clay soils in New Castle County also do not drain well. I suspect this establishment problem has been the issue for your tree. However, it looks like the tree has put on new growth this year, and those limbs will be soft. Due to it's size, it has been blown in the winds we have had with recent thunderstorms, but it should stand back up. I recommend watering it only once a week, if we do not receive any rain. Do not apply any fertilizer or pesticides to the tree for this year.
Tar spot is a minor leaf disease, and I have not seen it yet this season. There are other fungal leaf spots that affect maple, but none of them will kill the tree. I suggest giving your tree some time to become established.

My best,