premature red maple
When we bought the property there were no trees on 1 3/4 acres. We paid to have 7 red maple trees, 2 1/2 to 3 inch caliber, professionally planted. They are now 30 to 40 feet tall. Three of the trees, including the one in the picture have had their apical meristem killed. This I just noticed this year; however the oldest tree had probably lost its meristem 2 to 3 years earlier as its proportions are off. It is almost as broad as it is tall. My question pertains to the reddening of the leaves. This tree has had the same section turn red in the middle of June for the past 6 years. The tree is healthy and next years leaf out will be strong and produce plenty of the seeds. Any ideas as to the reddening or the meristem death?? I have also seen this (the reddening) on other local wild trees. Elevation is 560 ft. if it makes any difference Thank you very much...Joe
Premature fall coloration is often a sign of stress of some sort.
Here is a page that describes this further: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/early-fall-coloration
The dieback or failure of branches can also be from stressors such as drought girdling roots or problems with planting/mulching.
One problem we can see from your photos is that there is no visible trunk widening or 'flare' where the tree enters the ground. This could be because the tree is planted too deeply or because there is too much mulch. Mulch should only be 2-3 inches deep and should be kept away from contact with the trunk.
Red maples are also prone to narrow branch angles that can fail, or girdling roots that circle around the trunk.