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Trees/Crimson Maple Cracking at Base


Crimson Maple Tree
Crimson Maple Tree  
Our Crimson Maple experience damage after the winter of 2014 with cracking at the base. You could see the inner part of the tree. We were told to wrap it with tree wrap and let it heal by the nursery we bought it from. I just took the tree wrap off after the winter of 2015 and it looks even worse/wider. There are some little bugs on it here and there probably due to the moisture of the wrap. We planted it about 5 years ago and it is probably a 14 year old tree. Please let me know your thoughts about the attached picture. I've had one local expert tell me that it might heal on its own and crimson maples of this age are prone to this type of thing. I'm just wanting to make sure this isn't a death sentence or there isn't more we can do to help it as being able to see the inner part of the tree is concerning to me. Thanks so much.

Maple trees have thin bark. The bark of a tree is what protects the enter wood and cambium layer of the trunk. The cambium layer is the living part of the trunk. IF a tree is wounded the tree grows a layer of cells that will try to exclude the effects of decay fungi. Then the cambium layer of cells will grow over the wound if it is not too large. This is what you can see around the edge of the wound -the lighter colored bark. Over time the wound will be closed IF something else does not damage the tree again. The inner part you are seeing is the dead woody cells that make up the wood of the trunk. As long as these are solid there is no problem. Maples because of their thinner bark are prone to trunk damage if the bark is damaged. It looks like the tree is growing and the wound is slowly healing over. I would do a couple of things. First I would fertilize the tree with 10-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of 1 lb. per inch of trunk diameter. Scatter the fertilizer around the tree and water it in good. IF you apply the fertilizer just before a rain event then you will not need to water. This will increase the overall health of the tree and increase the growth rate of the cells around the wound. Make sure you do not use a product Weed and Feed fertilizer --this contains a herbicide that can kill the tree. Next I would treat the tree with an insecticide called Bayer Advanced Tree and shrub insect control. It is a liquid and it is mixed with water and applied to the soil around the tree and the roots take it up and if an insect tries to infest the tree the insect is killed. This will protect the wound and tree from boring type insects that may enter the exposed wood. This treatment will last the whole season. Check with your local garden type store for these materials. Home depot also carries this product.  Here is a web link to this Bayer product.


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Jim Hyland


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.


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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