Q: I have a red maple in my back yard that has dead branches in the center and vigorous growth at the bottom. Can it be saved?
A: If you are absolutely sure the center trunk is dead and will no longer make leaves, remove it completely. Then take a long broomstick and lash the bottom half to the remaining trunk, using soft cloth.
Gently bend a nearby live branch so that it points upward and lash that to the top half of the broom stick.
The newly vertical branch will become the new central trunk of the tree.
You won’t notice the J-crook in a few years.