Fame or Blaze Maple..........

Asked July 21, 2016, 4:14 PM EDT

Hi there. Could you please tell me what's ailing this tree? I don't want it spreading, and I don't want to spend a fortune to save it, either! Never a favorite, because it blooms late, and loses leaves early. Thanks for any info you can provide.

Dallas County Texas

3 Responses

Although bark splitting is a normal process, allowing the tree to grow to wide diameters, it should only occur on outer layers if the tree is healthy. When you look at the split, therefore, you should not be able to see the wood below. Your picture indicated you could see the wood below, which is alive rather than dead like the outer bark and has split as well. Usually this is a sign of sun or frost damage.

Maples are unfortunately prone to splits both from sum and front damage. Sun damage, more properly labeled "sunscald" usually occurs on younger trees whose delicate bark is facing southwest, where sun is brightest and harshest. Bright sun heats bark, which expands, then rapidly contracts with the return of cold temperatures, causing splits. You can partially avoid this by pruning dense canopies slowly over several years, rather than pruning heavily, which allows more sunlight onto delicate bark.

Temperature changes are also responsible for frost damage o trees. Both bark and wood contain water, which swells and shrinks in response to each temperature fluctuation, causing splitting. Alternation between dry and wet weather causes trees to put on sudden growth, which can also result in splits. Because of this, you should not encourage active growth too late in the season, and should therefore, avoid fertilizing until after leaf drop, when the tree enters dormancy.

Most of the time, splits are bit dangerous to the tree and will heal in spring and summer. However, as they provide possible entry sites to pests and pathogens, you may want to treat them. . Painting over tree wounds is no longer recommended as a response to cracking and splitting, though you can try cutting off the peeing bark by "tracing" by tracing the wound with a sharp knife. Sterilize your knife in a 10% bleach solution between cuts. Commercial tree wraps, available at garden stores and online, applied in November might help prevent sunscald. Although older, established trees should not need it, younger maples with thinner bark may benefit from wrapping.

However, I would consult with a reputable,certified arborist.

Thankjs so very much for the information!! You are a gem. We shall proceed with some knowledge under our belts now!