Trees Dying 21228 “Oak Forest” Catonsville

Asked May 12, 2018, 11:28 AM EDT

Hello, We’ve had/have several trees die/dying/not looking good. Japenese Maple’s bark peeling off/dying, lost 2 rather young Oaks quickly in last few years and 1 20 yr old White Pine few years ago. They all just up and died. Front yard and back yard. Rhododendrons on side of house - lost half. We are very upset. We do not use lawn fertilizer or pesticides except around house perimeter but are on downhill slope w/no curb/gutter. Maybe runoff? I have attached pictures of Jap Maple as it is now. It actually looks worse than pic shows n leader is completely stripped of bark. A 2nd Jap Maple hardly got any leaves this yr. Help!!! Thank you!!

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5 Responses

If your home is on a slope, rain probably runs off and is not absorbed well into the soil. Right away, the trees have a problem--dry soil, droughts. Also, after many years of mowing lawns and foot traffic (especially on wet soil), the soil becomes compacted (soil particles are closer together), and rain is not absorbed. Lack of water stresses trees and makes them susceptible to pests.

New trees should be watered during dry spells from spring to fall for at least the first 2 years (or more) until roots are well established. Older trees, as they grow, naturally require more water for their increased size. Rhododendrons are shallow-rooted, so they cannot go deep for water during droughts.

There is no one disease or insect that affects the tree species that you have, so the problems are probably environmental--the conditions on your site. Read through these other possible environmental/cultural problems that can lead to decline and death: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG86%20Com...

Japanese maples are often damaged by harsh winters, and this year the long warm fall followed by sudden drop in temperature did not give them a chance to go dormant as they usually do. Many have suffered winter damage. That is probably what has caused the bark damage you see. Click here for more info: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/winter-damage-trees-and-shrubs

ECN

Wanted to add that compacted soil can be alleviated by aerating it. An aerating machine can be rented or a landscape firm can do it for you. Search 'soil aeration' on our website.

Thank you so much for your attention and wonderful and complete response!!! You provide a great service to the community and we will review the info. On the links you provided. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts!

Thank you so much for your attention and wonderful and complete response!!! You provide a great service to the community and we will review the info. On the links you provided. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts!