We have a maple tree 20 years old that has been fine. This year the trunk is turning black and the leaves are dying and falling off as if it is autumn,
Can this be saved and how?
Sounds like a scale. Scales are insects that resemble a turtle but are attached to the twigs and do not move. They are inside a protective cover so it is difficult to get a insecticide spray to the inse t. Scales suck the plant juices from the tree and secrete a su stance called honeydew. This is high in sugar content and sticky. A sooty mold will grow o the honeydew. This is te black you. Are seeing.treTthe tree with an insecticide IDE called Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insectcontrol. This is applied to the soil and the roots take I've up to the twigs and leaves and when the scale sucks the pla tjuices they are killed. It wil take a coucple of weeks for the insecticide to reach the topo f the tree. The time depends on the height of the tree nd the weather conditions the black will go away after the scales are killed.
Maple trees have The capability of leafing out again. Soeventhoughthe tree loses its leaves it will be ok.
Check with your local garden store for he Bayer product.