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Could you please tell me what may have happened to my Japanese Maple Tree? One side is completely dead. Thanks, Sandra


Japanese Maple Tree Mulch Damage Hi Sandra,

It looks like there was too much mulch put around the base of the tree. From your picture, I can see the rotted area at the base of the trunk where the bark is pulling away. When there is too much mulch piled around the base of the trunk, the base of the tree begins to rot because it never gets a chance to dry out. Once the protective bark layer is destroyed, all kinds of diseases and fungus can get into the tree. Having too much mulch also suffocates the tree. Trees breathe through their roots as well as their leaves.

My guess is your tree died of Verticillium Wilt. It's a fungus that kills Japanese Maples. Your tree will not re-sprout. Verticillum Wilt can be confirmed by sending samples of your tree to the New Haven Agricultural Station.

Mulch should only be 1-2" deep around the tree and the root flare should always be visible. The root flare is the base of the trunk that spreads out wider than the trunk itself. It's the top part of the roots of the tree

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.


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