Autumn Blaze Maple wilting

Asked June 16, 2019, 5:21 PM EDT

I have an 4" diameter autumn blaze maple which was planted 3 years and this spring leafed out very healthy. Up until 2 weeks ago it had nice 3" length leaves. It has starting wilting on about 1/3 of the branches and the leaves die off in a few days. The nursery in Bemidji (20 miles away) where I purchased the tree 3 years ago thinks it might be from too much rain this spring, It looks like a diseased tree similar to a white oak or burr oak wilt with sporadic branches being affected unlike the top down like a red oak wilt. The pictures attached show how the leaves on the branch directly above the wilted leaves to appear healthy. Any suggestions?

Hubbard County Minnesota

1 Response

Thanks for the question. Autumn Blaze maples are spectacular trees. I am sorry about the distress your tree is experiencing. While a wet spring may have contributed to the situation, I don’t believe that it is the actual culprit. Anthracnose is a common fungal disease of Autumn Blaze, especially during wet seasons. Thankfully in most cases it does not kill the tree. Another more virulent fungal disease of maples is verticillium wilt. It could kill your tree. Rather than consulting the nursery with all their good intentions, I believe that it best to have a licensed professional arborist inspect your tree. Often an initial inspection entails minimal cost. Here is an excellent University of Minnesota publication dealing with the selection of such an individual:

I would also suggest that you contact the Hubbard County Extension Office for suggestions as to an arborist:

U of M Extension
Hubbard County

201 Fair Ave
Park Rapids MN 56470-3286

(218) 732-3391 (phone)

In the interim, you may want to consider removing and discarding the dead branches. However be sure that they are dead before doing this. Scrape some of the bark off of the branch and see if there is green tissue underneath. If so, the branch is alive so don’t prune it. If the tissue is brown and dry, the branch could be removed.

Good Luck!!