Caring for Your Maple Tree
Maple Tree Types
Maples are deciduous trees characterized by opposite leaf arrangement and spectacular fall color. The flowers are upright and green, yellow, or red in color depending on species, and the fruit appears in winged clusters which hold the seeds of this self-pollinating tree.
There are approximately 125 maple tree varieties, and each one has different characteristics and site requirements. The size of the tree varies by species, but they can grow anywhere from 18 to 80 feet.
Some of the most common varieties include:
Red maple trees have red blossoms in the spring, red fruit in summer, scarlet leaves in the fall and crimson bark and twigs in winter. Red maple trees thrive in wet soil, and are also sometimes called swamp maples.
Sugar maples turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and bright red in the fall. They have a gray bark and a sensitive root system. Their sap is also the source of maple syrup.
Japanese maples are lovely ornamentals, meaning that they remain smaller in size. They’re known for their interesting branching structure, bright color, and year-round interest.
Maple Tree Care
Maples tend to have shallow root systems, which can lift walkways and driveways as they mature, so be sure to plant them appropriately. Prune, water, and fertilize maple trees regularly to maintain optimal health.
Newly planted maple trees will benefit from a root enhancer like ArborKelp®, SavATree’s exclusive seaweed biostimulant fertilizer. This aids in tree establishment, promotes root growth, and heightens stress tolerance.
If you’d like to establish maple tree varieties in your landscape, we can connect you with a vetted landscape expert who can help you purchase and plant new maple trees.
Mature and established trees benefit from fertilizer feedings of organic-based macro and micronutrients for the nutrition necessary to sustain their health.
Preventing Maple Tree Diseases & Pests
There are several damaging maple tree diseases and pests. Some of the most common are:
Verticillium Wilt – Also called maple wilt, this fungus is a common and serious problem that can kill trees. This infection starts in the root system and works its way up the maple tree, resulting in cankers and dieback. Signs of maple wilt include scorched-looking leaves and diseased branches with unhealthy leaves. Occasionally olive-colored streaks can be found in the sapwood.
Anthracnose – This disease results in extensive defoliation, shoot dieback, and twig death. Often confused with frost damage, signs of anthracnose include brown areas on leaves, canker on the trunk and main branches, and purplish-brown areas along the veins of the leaves.
Tar Spot – This disease affects several maple species and causes large, tar-like spots on the leaves. This is a fungal disease, and a good preventative measure is to rake up any dead or fallen leaves around the tree.
Asian Longhorned Beetle – This insect damages the sapwood beneath the bark layer, preventing the tree from properly transporting nutrients and water. Once a tree has an Asian longhorned beetle infestation, it will generally die within 1 to 2 years. Learn more about the Asian longhorned beetle.
Of course, these trees are susceptible to other problems as well. Other maple tree diseases and pests include:
- Root rot
- Gall mites
- Cottony scale
- Petiole borers
- Boxelder bugs
Many of these insect and disease conditions can weaken the tree and lead to tree death if not treated. If you suspect a problem with your trees, call an arborist right away for an evaluation and treatment options.
Pruning Maple Tree Leaves
Pruning is the best way to maintain size while preserving (or even improving) your maple’s structure, vigor, and life-span. Pruning offers a host of benefits:
Reduces storm damage – Pruning can reduce specific defects or structural problems in a maple tree to greatly lessen the risk of failure.
Prevents disease – Broken, diseased, or dead branches are typically removed in order to prevent decay-producing fungi from infecting other areas of the tree.
Increases airflow – Removal of live branches is occasionally necessary to allow increased exposure to sunlight and circulation of air within the canopy. This assists in reduction of certain diseases.
Promotes healing – We also advocate the removal of branch stubs to promote successful and proper healing of wounds.
Want an expert opinion on your maple? Contact us for more information on pruning or any of our other maple tree care services.