Industry News: Tree Health

Q: Why is our decaying maple tree still growing healthy-looking foliage?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016  

Q: We just moved into a new property which has a lovely maple tree at the end of the driveway. I recently realized that the main trunk is dead and infested, but still has strong limbs growing healthy-looking leaves. I cut the top of the main trunk, since it was entirely dead, but noticed that carpenter ants are climbing down inside the tree where the core is soft and partially decayed. Are the ants killing the tree? Is there anything I can do to save the tree?

A: Carpenter ants can be an indicator of heavy decay within a tree. They are interested in wood which is not actively growing, thus they will not "kill" the tree. I highly recommend having a Consulting Arborist in your area to look at the tree to determine its viability and whether or not there may be safety concerns. Maples can fool us by retaining a healthy amount of foliage while the structure of the tree is in decline.

Responder: Michael R. Hughes, RCA #383, Freeport, ME