Big Leaf Maple decline & injectable fertilizer

Asked June 20, 2018, 4:21 PM EDT

Hello! I have a big leaf maple gorgeous tree, but it has some decline. I believe it is 60ish years old, about 70-80' tall, 10' in diameter at chest height. One large branch of the crown has died and the crown itself is thinner and less robust than other trees in the area. I've had two arborists come out, one wanted to cut down the dead crown and suggested soaker hose watering during drought weeks. The other would remove the dead section AND cut the crown back 1/3 AND inject fertilizer (24) directly into the trunk. In googling this and in looking on forums I have not found good info about the efficacy of injectables. I am concerned about drilling 24 holes in an already stressed tree, seems like an easy access point for damaging bacteria/virus/fungus. Can you point me to any research or resources or advice? Thanks! Adria


1 Response

Dear Adria,

You did not mention your location. I have not seen big leaf maples in Arizona, but I've lived near the Coast Range of Northern California and they were common there. Do you have kmnowledge that tells you this is the actual species of this tree? Could it be another species?

It is appropriate to remove dead wood from the tree, but these arborists seem to be wanting to do more than that. I am not s big fan of "injectables" or even unwarranted fertilizing of landscape trees and shrubs. My philosophy is more towards using the appropriate plants for the climate. If this is in Arizona and it truly is a big leaf maple, then it was a poor choice for planting. If you are in Arizona and have further questions, please email me at Then, I would likely want to set up a time we can speak by phone.

Best Regards,