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Trees/Bark on Red Maple

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trunk
trunk  
We have 2 red maples that we planted about 3 years ago. They have never really thrived, thought they were planted in good soil and were kept well watered until we went out of town for 3 months, from August to October, which is a very hot time in FL.  When I returned I noticed that the bark was cracked open on one tree.  When I investigated further, I noticed mottled gray and brown patches and lichens on the trunks. Have they been lethally attacked by fungi while they were in a state of dehydration perhaps?  Can they be saved?

Answer
I do not think there  is a major problem. As a maple grows thre bark will go from smooth to fissured or cracked. I think that is what you're  mainly seeing. The lichens are not a real problem on healthy trees. I would fertilizer the trees with 10-10-10 fertilizer at the rate  of 1  lb per inch of trunk diameter. I would lay off the water an dangly water if it does not rain for a couple of weeks.  

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Jim Hyland

Expertise

I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.

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34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
Registered Forester
Certified Pesticide Appicator

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