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Sarah Rudd

Hi All

I need some help as my Variegated Maple (drumundii) looks sick. It's less than 10 years old and it currently looks like this (pic below). It has lichen all over the trunk and branches which I know is mostly cosmetic but the leaves have not been healthy looking this year and I'm wondering whether it has wilt and if there's anything I can do about it or whether the whole tree needs to be taken out? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks 😀

Posts

  • I have a tree in my garden that looks similar on the branches so I am curious about the responses you get. 
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    It just looks like it is growing very slowly for some reason, most likely because of lack of water or nutrients.  What is the soil like at the base of the tree?
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • sjkhomesjkhome Posts: 4
    Thanks for your response. It's planted in a small field which is clay with some added top soil. It is watered but possibly not as much as it should be. Here's a pic of the whole tree. It's the browny wilting leaves that concern me the most....

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    Weakened trees are more prone to pests and diseases so I think you need to try and improve health by feeding and watering, rather than attempting to treat the symptoms with sprays etc.  It looks like it may be planted directly into lawn and young trees can't compete with grass which gobbles-up all of the available nitrogen in the soil.  Tree feeder roots are very close to the surface.
    What I would do is clear a circle about 1m diameter around the base of the trunk of all grass and weeds.  Then sprinkle and gently work in to the surface some blood, fish and bone fertilizer which will provide food for several months.  Finally, mulch the soil circle with a good few inches of compost, well-rotted manure or bark chippings etc. which will help to retain moisture at the rooots as well as providing a long-term supply of food.  Keeping this area clear of grass and weeds and watering it with at least a couple of bucketfuls a week when it is hot and dry will give your tree everything it needs.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • sjkhomesjkhome Posts: 4
    Thanks very much. I'll do all that you have said and see how it goes. Fingers crossed it perks up 😀
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,537
    I agree with Bob’s assessment, but would add that your tree has also suffered because of the drought and the high temperatures in the UK this year - the ends of the leaves are frazzled by hot sun. It’s also possible that you did not prepare a deep and wide enough planting hole nor improved the soil sufficiently, so that will have stunted it’s growth generally on top of having to compete with grass.

    I think after clearing the grass I would give it lots of water (about six bucketfuls over the course of a week, then two per week after that), then top dress with well rotted manure (but not touching the trunk) then mulch on top of that with bark to suppress the grass and weeds. I did that with an inherited walnut tree that was looking very sorry for itself and it did perk up massively.
  • sjkhomesjkhome Posts: 4
    Thanks for all your help I have now done what you both suggested so fingers crossed 😀

  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,537
    That looks much better, your tree will thank you for it :) Just a tiny point, I would pull back the bark a bit (say, around 5-10cm all round) where it’s in direct contact with the trunk. Thats to stop the bark rotting where its in contact with the mulch.
  • floraliesfloralies Haute-Garonne SW FrancePosts: 2,169
    On another note, keep an eye on the ties you have around the trunk, as the trunk grows the ties will need loosening so as not to cut in to it.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    Fine job @sjkhome and I agree with floralies and Nollie about loosening the ties and pulling back the mulch from the trunk.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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