Maple bark damage

Asked November 7, 2015, 10:07 AM EST

We planted a maple in our back yard seven years ago. It has thrived and reached a height of about 15 feet. This summer, we noticed that the leaves looked undersized and found damage on the bark, with stripped areas running vertically up one side of the trunk. They are at the lower part of the trunk, 2 to 5 feet from the ground. Could this reflect deer antler rubbing? We do have lots of deer coming through. If not, what would it be? And how to remedy the problem and save the maple? Photos attached.

Baltimore Maryland possible cankers damaged bark maple tree

1 Response

The bark damage does not look like deer damage or rubbing. The cracks in the bark look like cankers. They can develop due to some type of stress such as drought, planting too deeply, etc. There are no chemical controls. Pruning is recommended but when the main trunk is affected all you can do is keep the tree well watered during dry periods. Do not use pruning paint as this can interfere with any healing process. The tree will limp along unless the main trunk is girdled. Most likely the tree will never be healthy and we recommend removal while it is small.
Here is some general information on cankers
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/cankers-trees-and-shrubs
See our website on planting trees and shrubs http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/trees-and-shrubs/selection-purchasing-planting-and-care
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