Can you tell what is going on with my Green Mountain maple? See photo..I...

Asked June 3, 2016, 9:58 AM EDT

Can you tell what is going on with my Green Mountain maple? See photo..I noticed sap running in the spring, it was starting to form leaf buds and stopped. Now as I look at the tree I can see cankers and oozing on the tree (see photo) Can it be saved? I also notice problems on the nearby Green Mountain trees, not like this but the do have black streaks on the bark ..I have 6 in total.. However they don't look this bad. I live in Kirtland Ohio.. The trees were planted about 4 years ago.

Lake County Ohio

3 Responses

Your tree looks like it has really taken a beating! Three potential sources of your tree's problem come to mind, but let me ask a couple questions and your answers may give us the key to identifying the exact problem:
1) Is this the first year this problem has occurred or is it recurring and getting worse?
2) Have you noticed a lot of woodpecker activity in and around this tree?
3) Has the tree leafed out? If no, you can skip #4.
4) What is the overall health of the tree right now?
5) How high off the ground is the area in question?
6) Is the problem limited to the area shown or does it circle the tree and are other areas similarly affected?
As soon as you can respond, I will do my best to give you a prompt reply.

Thanks 1. Yes first year, 2 No woodpeckers, 3 Leaves started to bud but then shrived and never formed, 4 The tree looks bad..branches are "bend-y" but no leaves..other nearby trees have large leaves by now, 5 the issue starts at the base and moves up the trunks..see extra pictures. 6 The issue circles the tree..looks the same. Someone told me they thought it is ambrosia beetle but I don't think that it is the "bug" maybe another bug or some slimy fungus. In picture # you'll see some flies I saw nearby..I think these are "picture wing flies" I think that is a bad sign too. I think I may have lost the tree buy I am very worried about surrounding trees...I have about 7 other maples I planted in my yard. I also live near Chapin Forest and have a lot of trees on in my yard and a big apple orchard nearby. Thanks for your help!

As you have already surmised, in all probability your tree cannot be saved. When I first saw the condition of your tree, I went out to numerous sites to find just what would attack a Sugar Maple and display the symptoms that showed up in the picture you furnished initially. Four culprits stood out as distinct possibilities: 1) Bleeding Canker, 2) Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, 3) Native Maple Borer and 4) the Ambrosia or Bark Beetle. Here are some links to university and USDA sites discussing each:
1) http://extension.psu.edu/pests/plant-diseases/all-fact-sheets/maple-diseases
2) http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_sap/sap.htm
3) http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_mapleborer/mapleborer.htm
4) http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/ambrosia_beetles_and_maples
After reading through the descriptions of each and the answers and pictures you provided in your follow-up reply, I would say the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker and the Native Maple Borer are most probably not the culprit attacking your tree.
The thing that is most perplexing is how quickly your tree has succumbed. I say that because you mentioned nothing about the tree appearing stressed in any way last year or appearing distressed in previous years. Usually Ambrosia or Bark Beetles tend to attack trees that are already suffering from some other stress induced problem that weakens the tree and makes it a target for attack. Also, the Bleeding Canker tends to begin its attack on a tree in areas where the tree has been physically damaged in some way.
Because of the issues with each of these possible causes and the suddenness of the probable death of your tree, I am tending to believe there is some other cause that has led to the demise of your tree.
With that in mind, I would highly recommend you contact a certified, licensed arborist in your area and have them come out and look at your tree on site. This is especially important since you mentioned additional Maple trees you have planted. You also mentioned they are showing some signs of stress as well, though not to the level of this tree.
I wish I had a simple answer to your problem, but I do believe the arborist is your best hope to ensure whatever is killing your Green Mountain Maple does not also impact the additional Maple trees you planted. Lastly, I would be interested in hearing what the arborist finds if you choose to take that step. Good luck and I hope your other trees are not affected in any way.