Concern about a Sugar Maple

Asked July 15, 2019, 10:26 AM EDT

My wife noticed that there seems to be little shavings from our huge maple that are falling from the air. They look like they could be wood although they are very flaky and soft. We have lived at this home for 20 years and this is the first that we have seen anything like this. The tree looks to be the picture of health, but we are concerned that it may be at risk now in some way. I have included a picture of the shavings that I caught over the last two days in a white porcelain bowl. I would appreciate any insight or instruction that you might be able to give me. Thanks so much, Ken Kunkel

PS I have also added a picture of the tree itself and a few of the leaves that have fallen. They might help to identify the tree.

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response


This maple look like it has tar spot or anthracnose, diseases which do not harm the tree. The particles that are falling are probably frass ( poop) from an insect. A number of caterpillars feed on maple, including fall webworm. A large healthy tree usually withstands this feeding with no problem. Some years insects have a higher population, and so the frass is more noticeable.

Here are references-

Consulting a certified arborist is the best way to get firm diagnosis of all the issues on the tree, and how to treat them. These professionals have taken training in care, pruning, diseases, pests and passed certification tests. The consultation isn’t expensive when compared with the value of your tree. He/she will come on site and give a complete diagnosis and a plant care plan. Find certified arborists by zip code here—-

Thanks for using our service.