Is this sugar maple dying?

Asked July 12, 2016, 11:49 PM EDT

My sugar maple has bark that seems split and has theses tiny mushroom growths on it. The tree itself looks healthy. There are some tiny ants that crawl on it from time to time. Is this tree going to die? Is there something I can do for it? Thank you. Elaine Harold

Cook County Illinois

1 Response

Your sugar maple is not dying. The tree acquired the original wound some years ago. For the past several years, the tree has been in the process of adding newly developed wood – called wound wood – at each side, with the goal to cover the damaged portion. In time, the wound will be closed.

The mushrooms are growing on the dead portion in the center. Leave them be; they are not damaging the live portion of the tree.

The ants could be present for a number of reasons but none that could damage your tree.

Don’t fertilize the tree and don’t attempt to seal or cover the wound in any way. The tree will do just fine on its own.