sugar maple problem

Asked May 15, 2020, 5:15 PM EDT

Several limbs on one side of our sugar maple tree are dying and falling off. There are some black spots on the trunk. Bark is also coming off in spots. Leaves are sparse but look okay. We moved here 3 years ago so don't know any history of the tree. Can we do something for it?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Sugar maples are not adapted to the climate of Maryland except in the far west. They tend to eventually go into decline from the heat or drought (we had a terrible drought last summer.)

It looks like the large root of this tree is dead and there is also dead wood on the trunk (third photo.) The black patch is a fungus known as hypoxylon, which is damaging and not treatable. It attacks stressed trees. Scroll down here for more about hypoxylon: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/oak-diseases-insect-pests/

Ellen