maple tree did not produce leaves this year

Asked June 25, 2020, 3:38 PM EDT

Hello, our maple started to come out in leaves in the Spring, but something happened, and now the sparse leaves that did come out are shriveling. The tree is looking worse and worse - it wasn't this bad a few weeks ago. Leaves did not make it to the top. There is trunk damage I noticed. I'm attaching some photos and would appreciate your opinion. We don't want to cut it down if it can be saved - it's a very showy tree in the Autumn and we love it. Thanks

Washington County Minnesota

2 Responses

I am sorry, but the tree is dead.

Leaves are formed in the fall and open in the spring. Even if the tree is dead the leaves will open as they already have the energy in them to do so. But, without a live tree supplying water and nutrients, the leaves will die.

It is impossible to know what caused this by your pictures. Perhaps when you have the tree cut down the arborist will give you some ideas. A common reason is the tree is planted too deeply. You should be able to see a flare at the bottom of the tree, called a root flare. If instead it goes straight down into the ground (like a telephone pole), the roots will grow up and around the base of the tree. As they get bigger they choke the tree, making it unable to store energy in the roots, which is fatal. This is called root girdling. The first sign people often see of this problem is when the top of the tree doesn't leaf out. The tree just doesn't have the ability or resources to get the needed energy that far.

I wish I had better news, but it is gone and should be removed before broken branches cause safety problems.

Thank you. I figured that was probably the case, but thought it wouldn't hurt to see if there was a miracle cure!