Experts and BHG readers answer.
Why did my 50+ year old maple tree die?
My 50+ year old maple tree died all of a sudden. The leaves started turning brown this spring, and almost half of the branches were dead by late summer. I had it cut down today and noticed that the inside of the trunk showed an irregular large brown spot, covering almost a quarter of the surface of the chainsaw cut close to the ground. Is there any way to find out what cause the tree to die? Thanks.
One option is to call a consulting arborist. They aren't free, of course, but it's likely that a single visit would be all it takes for a qualified arborist to determine the cause. usually, sudden declines like that are a result of a vascular pathogen such as verticillium wilt, armillaria root rot, or others. But it takes an experienced person to recognize the small signs and symptoms that are needed for diagnosis. Or, you can check with a local university extension service office. Call, and they can tell you if they can do a diagnosis, and if so, what will be required of you. Either way, the main value of finding out the cause is to help you determine what to replant (if that's your intent). Some diseases are specific to host, others are broad spectrum. Knowing which will help you choose a new tree that will not succumb to the disease, which might still be present in the soil.