Red maples are a popular large ornamental tree due to the tree having signs of red throughout the year. From the small red flowers of spring to the bright red foliage in fall, the red maple is a beautiful addition to many yards.
If you are considering a red maple tree, know that the tree is in general fairly durable and fast growing. But you still need to watch out for signs of disease and insect infestations to keep the tree thriving and healthy for years to come. And you need to know when to call in a tree services company for help.
Here are a few of the common threats to a red maple tree.
Bacterial Leaf Scorch
Bacterial leaf scorch is a tree disease that mostly impacts water-starved red maple trees. The telltale symptom is the appearance of "scorched" leaves or leaves that have yellowing around the edges that then begins to brown. The tree can continue to deteriorate as the disease strips out nutrients. Left untreated, the leaf scorch can eventually kill the tree.
If you suspect bacterial leaf scorch, call in a tree service for assistance. Mild to moderate scorch can be treated with a multi-faceted approach including improved fertilization and hydration. Severe leaf scorch that has already caused damage to the tree's heartwood might require that you call in a tree removal service.
Tar spot is a fungal tree disease that starts early in the growth season as yellow-green spots on the leaves. As the season progresses, the spots turn black and shiny as if coated in tar. If a leaf grows several tar spots, the spots can interfere with nutrition and cause the leaf to wither and fall from the tree. Tar spot is mostly a cosmetic concern, however, and doesn't pose a major threat to the overall health of the tree.
If your red maple has tar spots, start by raking away all of the fallen leaves. You can call in a tree trimming service to remove the stricken leaves still attached to the tree. The tree service can also apply a fungicide that can prevent the tar spots from worsening and help prevent the problem from returning during the next growth cycle.
Woolly Alder Aphid
The woolly alder aphid is a tiny, fluffy gray and white insect that can sometimes target the red maple tree. The aphid larvae feed on the tree's leaves and bark to gain the nutrients to reach adulthood. Leaves can yellow and wither and affected bark can start to seep the sap. In general, aphid infestations only pose some minor cosmetic concerns for the tree.
The best course of action is to allow natural predators to thin the population of aphids. If that doesn't seem to be happening, call in a tree service like Darrel Emel's Tree Service to apply an insecticide to help kill off the remaining aphids.