White fungus killing my maple

Asked July 31, 2019, 5:14 PM EDT

Attached are pictures of the white blotches on my maple's branches and the spots on the leaves. A significant amount is on the tree. Is there any hope? What can I do about it?

Eaton County Michigan

1 Response


Your Norway Maple does have a major issue but the white spots are not the cause. These are lichen and do not harm the tree. The spots on the leaves are spots developing from a fungus called tar spot, and they eventually will develop into darker spots that do resemble tar. These are cosmetic, form in early spring during wet weather, and do not harm the tree.

What often happens on mature maples to cause dieback is girdling roots that slowly strangle to tree, or cankers on the branches. Another possibility is verticlllium wilt, which resides in the soil and often affects maples that are under some other stresses.

What you can do is hire a certified arborist, a professional who has taken training in care, diseases, pests and passed certification tests. He/she will come on site and give a complete diagnosis and a plant care plan. He can tell you if the tree has canker, verticillium, or girdling roots, or any other of several issues that cause maples to decline, and if there is any thing that will extend the life of the tree. Find certified arborists by zip code here—- www.treesaregood.org

Hiring the arborist is a modest cost compared to having the whole tree removed, and well worth getting an exact diagnosis. He can also examine your other trees during the same visit if you have others for which you want advice.

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