Maple Tree Insect Damage

Asked March 19, 2017, 2:52 PM EDT

I have a maple tree in my back yard that appears to be dieing from the top. The trunk of the tree is 18" to 20" in diameter. A central branch near the top about 6" diameter is dead or dieing. I see what appears to be insect damage. A Wood Pecker is making a nest in this branch, also. Is there anything I can do to save the tree? Other Maple trees in the vicinity have died. I was thinking of cutting off the dieing limb and sealing the cut but do not want to disturb the wood peckers. What is the environmentally healthy course of action?

Thank you. Michael E. Horgan

Ottawa County Michigan birds trees and shrubs

1 Response

Looking at the picture of the tree it appears that the small angle of the dead/dying central branch to the big branch on the right would suggest that they may have split (storm damage or poor growth habit) causing the leader to die. I strongly suspect that the insects (and woodpecker) are just exploiting the dead/dying branch. Of course if more sections of the tree are beginning to show symptoms there may be a way to treat the problem (depending on a diagnosis). Without some additional information it would be difficult to diagnose. Please note that wound sealing is no longer considered an appropriate practice (in most cases). A certified arborist can help with a diagnosis and treatment. Also, you can send samples to the https://pestid.msu.edu/ Check out the links below:

Common Diseases of Maple

Dead Maple Branches

Since it appears that the damage has been around awhile you could probably allow the woodpeckers to spend the season before you remove the dead branch.

I hope this is helpful,