In the Boise valley, the autumn blaze maple is a very popular species of trees to be sold and planted, and rightfully so. They are a hardy, fast-growing hybrid species of the red and silver maple. Although they are selectively grown for retail, they also grow naturally in the wild given the conditions are acceptable. They also have a beautiful bright red-orange fall color that only adds to their appeal. With that said, I have been noticing a couple of key issues that I want to make known today in hopes to save you some money and, even more importantly, your time.
Once known as a fungus called phytophthora, this organism has been reclassified as an oomycyte. It’s a lifeform that is closely related to fungus but more closely related to algae. It thrives in areas where there is standing water for long durations at a time and poor air circulation. Once it’s starting to infect your trees, it will appear drought-stricken with signs of leaf wilt; you might even see some yellowish discoloration in the leaves appearing to show the signs of chlorosis. And then one day you will notice a dark black oozing sap spewing out of the bark. Some folks may think this is the tree releasing excess sap and that is false. You also might
start to notice the bark of the tree is falling off. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but there are a few things you can do to mitigate the problem.
Create a Barrier
Creating a circular barrier around your tree using anything from stones to river roc,k then filling in the space with organic mulch/woodchips that will feed the tree slowly. Protect the tree from further damage and help reduce the negative effects of water. Reduce any soil so there is a solid root flare at the base of the tree as well.
Keep It Dry
One of the most important things you can do is never let water hit the tree directly either from your sprinkler or your hose, especially once you have phytophthora disease. Also, turn your sprinklers off for a week or so, preferably during the summertime, even if it means stressing your grass. By drying everything out you will greatly reduce the spread of fungal bodies and their ability to thrive.
Some folks have had some success using a fungicide that contains phosphoric acid. Phosphorous aids in growth as well as boosts the immune system.
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