Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Tuesday - July 17, 2012

From: Redding, CA
Region: California
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Problems with maple tree in Redding CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 2 yr. old October Glory tree that is looking bad. It leafed out this spring, but not as much as the others. In total I have 9 red maples along a fence row about 15 feet apart. The trees on either side of the sickly one look great. They are watered deeply once a week. The leaves on the tree are a lighter green in color than the other trees, more sparse and look dry and wilted.

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile map, Acer negundo (Ash-leaf maple) is native to Shasta County, in north central California. However, according to this Arbor Day Foundation website, what you have is a cultivar of Acer rubrum (Red maple) which, according to this USDA Plant Profile map, is native only to the eastern half of North America and not in California at all.

We like to check on whether or not a plant is native to the area in which it is growing, because if it is not, that could explain the problems the plant is having. However, in your case, this appears to be a problem with this one tree out of nine. A tree only two years old could certainly still be vulnerable to transplant shock. We're assuming that all your trees were planted at the same time and in the same manner, so if just the one has transplant shock, it must hark back to something that happened before or during the planting of that particular tree. The trees roots may have been rootbound when you bought it, and if they were not clipped to open up the root system, the roots could still be wrapping around in the shape of the pot and strangling the tree.

This Southern Living article on 'Autumn Glory' recommends it highly but also mentions transplant shock and root strangling. It is very difficult to correct errors made in planting. One possibility is that the roots of that tree have poor drainage, in which case the yellowing of leaves could be due to chlorosis. You could attempt a fix on that by adding an iron supplement to the soil around the suffering tree. Root damage may be preventing the new rootlets from accessing minerals and nutrients from the soil. Don't overdo it and treat only trees showing that symptom. Chlorosis is more likely to show up in alkaline soil but, again, if the other eight are all right, your soil is probably right for the maple.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Non-native red-tip photinias dying in San Antonio
August 20, 2009 - A 17 year old Red tip Photinia in a hedge shows signs of dying. The main stalks are quite large and offshoots from two of the stalks have brittle, drooping leaves. The center of the plant looks norm...
view the full question and answer

Use of surfactants with herbicide for water
January 05, 2008 - I read the article on frogs and the use of Rodeo. Your answer was correct, but to the best of my knowledge, Rodeo is approved for use near water only because it lacks a surfactant. When surfactant...
view the full question and answer

What is eating the plants in my garden?
August 08, 2008 - I have both purple and yellow coneflowers. Something is coming into my garden and eating the flowers off the stems. We don't have deer but may have other small animals that can get into our yard. Do ...
view the full question and answer

Possible disease on Eastern Redbud
October 06, 2007 - Our Eastern Redbud appears to be suffering from our recent drought. The leaves are turning brown in July/August on a few branches. A few black spots appear on the leaves before they turn brown. Ot...
view the full question and answer

Rose canker in roses on cedar posts
May 24, 2007 - While visiting the wildflower Center I saw that some of the plants were growing on trellis' made of posts cut from cedar trees. I made a trellis for my climbing rose bush and where the stems touched...
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.