En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 09, 2011

From: Denver, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Problems with maple in Denver
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Denver, CO and planted an Autumn Blaze maple three years ago. It has done very well until about a week ago. The leaves are drying out and falling off and earlier today I noticed some bugs on the trunk, which I believe are red-headed ash borers. Can I save my tree?

ANSWER:

"Autumn Blaze" maple is a commercial trade name given to a hybrid of Acer rubrum (Red maple) and Acer saccharinum (Silver maple), neither of which is native to Colorado, although both are native to North America. From the Growing Conditions of the Red Maple, we extracted these Growing Conditions:

"Soil Description: Moist, slightly acidic soils.
Conditions Comments: Though usually found in moist woodlands and wet swamps, also found in drier Post Oak woods"

And on the Silver Maple:

"Soil Description: Rich, wet to moist, slightly acid soils."

Since we are dealing with a hybrid, we don't know which characteristics of each tree are dominant, but their soil and moisture preferences are practically identical. We don't know what the pH of your soil is, but are guessing alkaline, although probably not enough so to kill the tree.

From the Entomology Department of Oklahoma State University, Redheaded Ash Borer, here is a description of the trees they attack:

"Redheaded ash borers will attack nearly all dying and dead hardwoods, but chiefly ash, oak, hickory, persimmon, and hackberry."

From about.com, courtesy of the United States Forestry Services, here is a discussion of common pests and diseases of the maple.

The puzzle here is whether there is a sudden decline of your tree. It is pointed out in the articles on the redheaded ash borer that it only attacks dead or dying trees. The other article, about pests and diseases, also says most of them are not serious, but rather opportunistic pests taking advantage of an already weakened tree. If you noticed no problem earlier than a week ago, it's hard to see how any of these things could have been the cause. We are wondering if it could possibly be aphids, which are small bugs that pierce the leaves and draw nutrition out of them. Please read this University of California Integrated Pest Management article on Aphids, and see if that might be your problem. A good hard spray of water on the leaves, as suggested in the article, might alleviate your problem.

In that does not prove to be the case, we suggest that you contact a licensed, certified arborist and have the tree examined; it is beyond our abilities to diagnose from a distance.

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Fungal root rot in non-native Shasta daisies in Channahon IL
July 21, 2009 - HELP! My Shasta daisies have fungal root rot. Is there any way to save them? I've been removing the browned stems. I'm so sad.
view the full question and answer

Advisability of trimming oak trees in August
July 13, 2007 - In general,what is your opinion on pruning oak trees in August? If it is positive, should the extreme moisture of this year affect the timing?
view the full question and answer

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

Effect of unusual wet weather on desert willows
July 23, 2007 - I live in North Central Texas and have 3 beautiful Desert willow trees that are usually in full bloom. I've kept them pruned to form a nice full tree shape but now they are losing leaves and looking ...
view the full question and answer

Brown spots on young redbuds in Lincoln TX
August 01, 2010 - I have lined my driveway in Lee County Texas with Red bud trees purchased both in Dripping Springs and in College Station. The 14 trees are of varying ages and heights (planted during the fall and wi...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center