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Japanese Maple with splitting and ants

Discussion in 'Homeowner Helper Forum' started by Traci, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Traci

    Traci New Member

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    We have a Japanese Maple tree that has had several dead limbs over the past few years and bark separating. When cutting off a dead limb, we realized it is infested with large black ants. We then called the pest control and he put out some ant poison (which is the yellowish granular substance you see in some pictures). image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg I need some help and I have no idea what to do to help the tree survive.
     
  2. Oldmaple

    Oldmaple Addicted to ArboristSite

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    You have an old tree considering the species. It has some decay issues which the ants mine out for their galleries. The fungus causing the decay weakens the tree, not the ants. Ants do not damage solid wood and are not damaging the tree (structurally or healthwise). My first concern would be the weakened structure and will probably need to be addressed through pruning (taking some weight off to decrease the load the weak spots are supporting). Cabling can sometimes be added to support weakened spots. It is hard to tell from the pictures whether your tree is a good candidate for this. Proper cultural practices (watering, fertilization) should also be addressed to keep the tree as healthy as possible. Irrigation water should not wet the trunk of the tree.
     
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  3. Traci

    Traci New Member

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    Thank you so much for the help. We will try our best as this tree is a special tree to our family.
     
  4. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Is there fabric or plastic under those rocks? If you want a healthy tree, get rid of any materials like that under there. Ideally, you'd also replace the rocks with mulch...but getting rid of any fabric under there will be a huge help. If there is nothing under that, I'd be tempted to leave the stones...but mulch would certainly be better. If you need to move the stones to get the fabric up, might as well put mulch back down.
     
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  5. vbx

    vbx ArboristSite Lurker

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    Maybe you can save the tree by rooting the cuttings? It's a beautiful tree though. Japanese Maples are slow growers usually so sad to see the condition it is in.

    I would remove all the mulch around the base of the tree. Mulch should be at least 6"+ away from the trunk.

    Cut off all the rotting part too if possible. Maybe some pruning to give the trunk some light.
     
  6. Traci

    Traci New Member

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    We have our work cut out for us this weekend. Thank you so much for the advice. We didnt realize that about rocks vs mulch and to keep it away from trunk. We really appreciate the help.
     
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  7. Tape

    Tape ArboristSite Lurker

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    Traci, can you give an update on your Maple?
     

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