Dying young maple trees

Asked October 8, 2019, 3:53 PM EDT

We have two young maples that have died. See attached image of the trunk. Other young maples are showing similar symptoms with the trunk bark splitting and the canopy having several dying branches. What has caused this and is there anything that can be done to save the other young trees?

Cass County Minnesota maple trees horticulture

1 Response

Your photo doesn't give me enough to go on to answer your question. Maples are susceptible to cracks caused by wintertime freezing and thawing. This is called sunscald, and while it is unsightly and can threaten the tree's health, it usually doesn't. I suspect these are the cracks you are seeing. But I'd be surprised if several trees have been seriously affected by sunscald. Read here:
https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/environmental/sunscald/sunscald-of-woody-plants.aspx

You could send us more photos, of the entire tree, of leaves and of the entire length of the trunk, and we might be able to help. But you'd probably be better off to consult a certified arborist:
https://www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist

In the meantime, try this diagnostic site:
https://apps.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/plant/deciduous/maple/

Some things to think about are whether the trunk below the photo has been injured, say, by a mower, and whether the trees were planted at the proper depth.