Ellzeena
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Young Maple, damaged by idiot landscaper

Six years ago I planted four trees on my newly acquired property: a London Plains tree, a non fruit bearing Pear tree, a spruce, a maple. First, about three years ago, my little pear tree (after flowering beautifully) just gave up the ghost. Two years ago my London Plains tree literally dropped over dead after a mowing: I thought I had harmed the tree by placing rocks around its base (because it had not been planted solidly). Last summer I had a "tree expert" look at my Maple which I noticed had a cavity carved near its base: the expert told me the landscaper 'killed' it with a weed whacker (said this is common), I fired my landscaper (I really would have liked to have strung him up to tell you the truth) because I then realized the death of the OTHER two trees was most likely caused by the same stupidity. So this 'expert' applied a pruning spray-on to the base of the tree (and then cabled it, for which he charged me $175). This spring, the tree is coming into bloom very slowly: I have a voluntary maple, many years younger, near it (fifty feet or so) that is blooming much more vigorously. I spoke to an "arborist" today who told me my maple is going to die, there's nothing I can do about it, because it is "bleeding out". WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I'm extremely upset by this, I do NOT want this tree to die. WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP IT, PLEASE?

bullthistle
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Just like a human who gets cut, bleeding out means it's losing its sap. Arborist supposedly know.

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rainbowgardener
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The pruning spray on should have been to seal the wound to prevent that. Look and see if you see any sap escaping.

But these days current wisdom seems to be not to seal pruning cuts anyway (that may be different from your tree's wound... pruning cuts are made carefully just beyond the branch collar).

Here's an article about that:

https://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/1993/3-24-1993/prune.html

In there it says:

Some trees, such as maple, birch, and elm, bleed heavily when pruned in late winter or early spring. However, the heavy bleeding doesn't harm the trees. (The trees won't bleed to death.) Eventually the flow of sap will slow and stop.

Again that is talking about pruning cuts. But we tap maples for sap. A good sized maple (not a baby like yours) can give up lots of buckets of sap and not be harmed.

So I think it's just a wait and see at this point.
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applestar
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I think so too. Right now, if you have near to actual freezing overnight temp and balmy daytime temp, and the buds just breaking and unfurling, the sap is running freely. Hopefully, insects/disease won't have the opportunity to enter from the wound, and the tree will heal over.

I recommend surrounding the bottom 18" or so of any young tree with a hardware cloth or chickenwire. The wire shouldn't touch the trunk itself. It's not only weedwackers -- rabbits and rodents like to nibble on tree bark during winter and sometimes even take nibbles during the season when they're hiding out from the sun in the shade of the tree.

Your pear tree might have died from fireblight. Blossoms are the easiest access point for the infection.

Ellzeena
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Young Maple, damaged by idiot landscaper

Okay thank you all so much. I haven't really taken a look at the wound, the tree has actually grown and the wound is no longer flush with the soil but it's substantial. The "tree expert" who used the pruning spray said it was to keep out insects, etc., I read that article, this may not have been the best thing to do but too late, it's been there since last early summer (June). He told me to reapply it this year, I guess I should NOT do that??? As for hardware cloth, great idea for this tree and the young sapling (voluntary), I do have some in the garage. My present landscaper understands, he is very careful around my trees and old ornamental plants, etc. Maybe you're right about the pear tree, it flowered so gorgeously and then literally died, I tried everything (washed it with ivory soap then went to actual chemicals, which I hate to use) but nothing worked. Should I FEED this injured maple tree? The arborist only spoke to me on the phone, he did not see the tree, he said I could try to feed it but I'm wondering if this might do more harm than good. What do y'all think? Thanks so much for your sage advice (pun intended) :roll:

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applestar
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Personally, I would spread some compost around the tree and mulch out to at least just beyond the dripline if you don't already have it in a bed.

Ellzeena
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Young Maple, damaged by idiot landscaper

Ok so I will have my landscaper put hardware cloth and I happen to have a huge bag of mulch in the garage so I will have him add that around the tree to the dripline. Should I feed it also? Should I apply more of that spray (sounds like that stuff might not be a good idea, not sure)? Thanks for all your help.

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applestar
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Don't forget the compost. Compost not so much feeds the tree as feeds the soil around it with microbes to create a more healthy, living environment. It's like active/live culture-yogurt that you eat for healthy digestive system. Good compost will also contain microbes that symbiotically benefit the tree. (Herbicides and insecticides, as well as chemical fertilizers will kill or diminish the good microbes though. Think antibiotics.)

My method would be to lay multiple layers (4~6) of newspaper under the mulch to keep weeds from growing through. General opinion is that this is MUCH better than the weed blocker fabric sold for the purpose, which some weeds manage to grow through anyway, deteriorate over time, and become an eyesore.

Ellzeena
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Young Maple, damaged by idiot landscaper

Well I don't have any compost but I did call my new landscaper (who has extensive experience with plants, doesn't just cut lawns) and he is coming next Tuesday with something to feed the tree (he knows what to buy) and lots of mulch which he will spread to drip line as you suggested; I'll as him about compost. I do have an awful lot of local pennysavers (my postmistress saves them for me because i use them in my bird cages) so I will spread the newspapers as you suggested. I will also spend time over the next months hugging the tree. :D Thank you so much for your help.

Ellzeena
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Young Maple, damaged by idiot landscaper , the sequel

OK one more question to you professionals who have helped me:

Yesterday landscaper deep fed the tree and mulched around it, being sure the mulch is not near the bark of the tree (left a circle about 6 inches away from trunk). We looked at the wound caused by the former landscaper, it is not leaking sap, it appears to be starting to grow around it (as I've read trees do with wounds), tree has new growth. Landscaper watered it after feeding and mulching and told me to water the tree once a week. I'm unsure about this. It seems to me this tree has been in the ground now for almost seven years, it has new growth, no apparent problems other than the wound, and frankly I'm afraid to water it because I think over watering is not a good idea. WHAT SHOULD I DO, should I water the tree? Or should I water it only if it gets very hot and there's no rain for a certain length of time? I don't want to do anything to hurt the tree, thank you so much for helping. :shock:

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rainbowgardener
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I'm don't have much expertise about trees. I do know that what you DON'T want to do is water frequently and shallowly, which encourages the tree to have lots of shallow roots. So when you do water, you want to water for a long time. Put the hose on very low and just let it run for hours, gradually moving it around the tree. Maybe every other week instead of every week and not if you get good rain in that time?

The watering may be to help what ever he did to feed the tree spread through the soil?


But it sounds like your tree is doing well and will come through this.
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Ellzeena
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Young Maple, damaged by idiot landscaper , the sequel

Yes I agree, I think watering every week would be a huge error, perhaps water as you suggest with very slow, long trickle only in very hot weather with little or no rain.

The Helpful Gardener
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Anyone spaying wound sealer just lost his badge for "tree expert"> Wound sealants haven't been used by knowledgeable professionals for decades...

"Bleeding out" may mean a bacterial flux, but there is usually a black mold associated with that type of flow that is very noticeable, and I heard no mention...

Feeding depends entirely on what you are feeding; chemical fertilizers can damage fungal associations that are more important to woody plants than leafy ones. I'm hoping your guy used organic foods that won't create those kind of issues...

HG
Scott Reil

Ellzeena
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Young Maple, damaged by idiot landscaper , the sequel

The "expert" calls himself that, he attended this tree last summer. The guy I'm presently using has more knowledge, we did not reapply the sealant. I checked the wound carefully, no sap is running from it and the tree is beginning to grow around it (as trees do). This landscaper used all organic materials to feed the tree and the tree is well mulched but the mulch does not circle the base of the tree, we created a ring so as to prevent any rot or further damage to the wound. So far the tree is looking good, I'm unsure if I should be watering it, we have gotten rain quite a bit lately so I will just let it alone. I think over watering is dangerous, I'm unsure what to do if there's a real dry period of time this summer.

The Helpful Gardener
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I have seen as many or MORE plants killed by overwatering than underwatering... Trees once established should need watering ONLY in extreme situations...

HG
Scott Reil

Ellzeena
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Young Maple, damaged by idiot landscaper , the sequel

Thank you! That's what I suspected, I will let it water itself lol.

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