Tree – Dead Root

Q: I have a 20-ft tall, ten-year old maple in my front yard. This summer I noticed a chunk of bark near the base of the tree splitting and peeling up. Recently a big chunk broke off leaving a huge scar.

The tree is in the middle of my front yard, up on a slope, so I know it hasn’t been hit by a car. I don’t even mow or weed-whack around the trunk, and I don’t pile mulch against it. It looks like it has new reddish “repair” growth on both sides of the split.

It’s been otherwise very healthy with thick, full leaf growth. I’m worried that the tree won’t survive the winter. Is there anything I can do?

A: My guess is that a major root below this wound was damaged at planting. It died and the trunk above was damaged as a result. Now, years later, the bark in the affected area has fallen off…but as you can see, healthy cambium tissue has tried to grow over and seal the wound.

It’s hard to predict what will happen now. Much depends on the weight distribution and geometry of the limbs of the tree.

I think you need a certified arborist to do a tree health assessment. Visit The Georgia Arborist Association.

Ask for someone with International Society of Arboriculture membership and tell them that all you need is a health assessment.

The consultation should cost a minimal amount and you’ll have a good idea of what your options are.

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