Dieting tree or it is dead

Asked July 8, 2020, 9:02 AM EDT

40 feet soft maple is dead. In yard All other trees around not effected. Why did it die? Tree has been fine for years. There is not any green leaves on tree. Brown and falling

Eaton County Michigan

4 Responses

If you could upload some photos of the tree, the trunk/root system and any other symptoms it may be showing, that would be helpful. Our Ask an Expert responders could also use information such as soil type, any changes to terrain or surroundings etc.

Been no changes what so ever. Perfect tree till late spring.

My biggest concern is I have identical tree 50 yards away. That one seems fine.

This maple tree appears to have been "zapped" by our intense freeze that occurred this spring. I have quite a number of oaks that look the same way. If you look in the canopy of the tree, all of the little green leaf buds emerging are completely brown. You may wonder why one tree was damaged by freeze and not another. While there is definitely genetic diversity among seedling trees, I think you captured the true reason with the photo of the trunk. This is what we call girdling roots. There appears to be enough constriction that the tree, once damaged, was not able to develop new buds like many other trees did.
This is a really great photo of the roots- would you be willing to send me these for use later in a presentation? If so, my e-mail address is