Cracked trunk on patmore ash tree

Asked July 23, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

We have a 7 year old patmore ash tree that has done well and flourished since planting 7 years ago. This spring we noticed no buds at all it just appeared dormant meanwhile all our other trees bloomed.then sprouts started coming up at the root line around the base of the tree. On close inspection there is a crack that runs up the middle of the trunk about a foot long right near where the branches begin. We aren't sure what to do? It's full summer and the tree has no leaves or buds other than the shoots at the base near the root line. We hope to save this tree .

Arapahoe County Colorado trees and shrubs

2 Responses

Thanks for sending these good photos.
Many landscape ash trees have shown a lot of dieback following two dry winters and severe cold snaps in April and May of 2013 and 2014.

The cold snaps occurred just as ash trees were leafing out. The tender succulent leaves were killed by the sudden cold snap; this forced them to call on stored energy reserves to releaf. Many ash trees had little reserves to releaf so they currently look partly to fully devoid of leaves.

Yours, like other area ash trees, have also been stressed by the cumulative effects of dry snowless winters.

Yours, like many affected ash trees, has a dead or mostly dead trunk, but there are new shoots at the base of the trunk, an effort by the tree to remain alive by producing some leaves to make foods for itself. The problem with these basal shoots is that they won't become a Patmore ash....Patmore is bud-grafted onto ash seedlings to produce the desired Patmore ash tree. Your shoots won't have the same characteristics as Patmore and may even be female.
While you could "save" the tree by allowing one or two shoots to develop into a new trunk/tree, it will be a green ash tree, but not a Patmore green ash tree. And, it could be female, so it might result in a green ash that produces many seeds after 15 years or so.
If you want to take that chance to save this tree, OK. If not, I'd suggest you remove this ash and replant with another tree. Given the near-certainty that Emerald Ash Borer will infest all ash trees in a few years, it would be better to take this as an opportunity to replant a different kind of tree.

I did not make it clear that you may need to remove (cut down) the main trunk, now dead or mostly dead. If you want to save a few of the basal suckers to grow into a new green ash tree, remove dead trunk carefully to save chosen suckers.