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Sugar Maple

October 28, 2017

Question

 Now that fall is here, and a good time to plant trees; may I say a word on behalf of sugar maples. I live in Rogers, and in the older parts of town there are many grand sugar maples, but they are dying out. In the newer sections, if they plant maples at all, they are the newer cultivars of red maples. These are ok, but their fall color lacks the vibrant glow of sugar maples. WE need more ginkgos planted too

 

Answer

There is nothing prettier in the fall than a sugar maple, and they definitely outshine red maples, but they are not as easy to grow in Arkansas.  There are two species commonly called sugar maple – Acer saccharum and Acer barbatum (which is sometimes called the southern sugar maple).   The southern species is much more heat and drought tolerant but not as showy as the common sugar maple.  Sugar maples prefer a cooler summer than we get.  You will find sugar maples throughout Arkansas, but they cannot compete with sugar maples in New England.  Another harder to find replacement would be the native Chalk Maple, Acer leucoderme.  I too love ginkgo and they have brilliant yellow fall color. Some other show stoppers in the fall landscape include blackgum, Chinese pistache, sourwood and the often despised sweetgum. 


 

 

September 9, 2017

 

Question

We live in Cabot and planted two Sugar Maple trees several years ago.  They have done fine until now.  Last week the leaves of one of them suddenly turned brown and the tree died.  This week the other one did the same thing.  There was no warning of any kind.  They did not seem to be in any distress before they died.  They are planted in full sun and we water them regularly.  Any idea what could have caused this?  

  
Answer

When the leaves turned brown did they drop or remain attached to the tree? If they defoliated early they may still be alive and will come back next spring.  Did you spray anything in the yard for weeds, diseases, and insects?  Any fertilization?  When they began growing this spring did they have a full set of leaves?  One thing to look for is any toothpick like protrusions on the trunk of the tree which could be caused by ambrosia beetles which can kill otherwise seemingly healthy trees.  Serious attacks that result in tree death usually occur during the leafing-out stage, but we can have more than one generation of them per year. Infested wood is distinctly dis colored and may have a foul odor. 


 

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