Industry News: Bark and Trunk Concerns

Q: What's making these holes

Friday, September 23, 2016  

Q: I have an orange-leafed maple tree in my front yard and the branches in the middle of the tree are completely bare and the trunk has many holes going around it. Are these holes made by borers? Can the tree be saved? Another tree, which is in the backyard is also struggling. The purple/red maple tree is losing bark and has a bare section in the middle. Here are some pictures of the first tree:

A: Dear maple lover:
Sight unseen, I cannot tell what is causing the series of holes around the trunk. If they were stacked rows of square holes it would suggest sapsucker damage. If the holes were perfectly round and larger than a pencil/smaller than a dime, it could be Asian Longhorned Beetle. This latter pest has not yet been identified in Iowa, but when it arrives, it will be even more devastating than emerald ash borer. My advice is to call your County Extension Office and see if they are able to provide some free advice. If not, consider hiring a Consulting Arborist to provide guidance.

The vacant branches are of considerable concern. With this much dieback, an arborist will help you decide if the tree is treatable. Good luck.
Responder: David Jahn, RCA #425, Des Moines, IA