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Coyote

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We have a Hybrid Shantung Maple which we put in about 3 years ago, and was I think at least 2 years old when we put it in. It's recently developed a "leak" of brownish watery liquid from where one of the main boughs joins the trunk, as per the photo below. Does anyone know what this is, and more importantly what I should do about it!?

Thanks in advance.
IMG_20200925_171300.jpg
 

Bm101

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Maples do raise a lot of sap hence tapping for syrups and so on in certain varieties, but dark sap suggests disease. (I'm not an expert). Is it just wet or is the sap discoloured? Hopefully it's not actually a problem.
A quick google bought up this as the first result.

Hope it helps. Love an acer here.
 

Coyote

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5 years old and it looks like it is 15-20 ft high. Or is it just the wide angle lens?
I have no idea why I put 2 years when it was planted. I think it was at least 5 according to the nursery so it's maybe 8 years old or more. But yes, about 20ft.
 

Bm101

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This bit no help? JUst trying to help. Sorry I can't be more definite.


"Disease – On the other hand, sometimes it is a bad sign if your maple tree is dripping sap. If the sap comes from a long split in the trunk and kills the tree trunk wherever it touches the bark, your tree may have a potentially lethal disease called bacterial wetwood or slime flux. All you can do is to insert a copper tube in the trunk to allow the sap to get to the ground without touching the bark.

Hope someone else can help more.
 

Coyote

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This bit no help? JUst trying to help. Sorry I can't be more definite
It's appreciated!

But it doesn't seem to be doing the trunk any harm, unless it's just not progressed that far yes.

i hope it's not "slime flux". Sounds grim...

I'm probably going to have to stop being a cheapskate and call a pro....
 
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eezageeza

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Which is the trunk, and which is the bough? They both look very similar sizes - do you have 2 leaders (trunks) on the tree? A photo from further back would help.
From that photo I'd guess the tree has 2 leaders (because it was badly pruned when it was younger) and there is rot where rainwater sits where they join. If thats the case, it will eventually cause one of them to fail (ie, fall off) so you might want an arborist to inspect it and sort it out!
 

Greenfellers

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You have a compression fork, two stems pressing against each other as they develop, one should have been pruned out during formative pruning on the nursery. Each year as they make their incremental growth they press a little harder and between them is a trapped layer of bark on each. Ultimately one will probably fail and break away leaving a wound. The included bark may not be complete and your photo suggests bacterial wet wood in the wound. This may disappear it is however an infection of the cambium layer and there is no cure. In my experience Maples often display this and many suffer no ill effect. The compression fork would concern me more..
 

Suffolkboy

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You have a compression fork, two stems pressing against each other as they develop, one should have been pruned out during formative pruning on the nursery. Each year as they make their incremental growth they press a little harder and between them is a trapped layer of bark on each. Ultimately one will probably fail and break away leaving a wound. The included bark may not be complete and your photo suggests bacterial wet wood in the wound. This may disappear it is however an infection of the cambium layer and there is no cure. In my experience Maples often display this and many suffer no ill effect. The compression fork would concern me more..
What he said.
 

marcros

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You wait ages for an arborist and two come along at once.
 

Coyote

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That's why this forum is so darn good. Thanks guys. I'll take a photo from further back in the morning. I'm happy to do some extreme pruning if needed.
 

Greenfellers

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Extreme pruning will just leave an odd shaped crown and destroy what form the tree does have. If it is not likely to hit and damage anything of consequence or value - like the house or car or the neighbours house or car I would live with it until it fails if you like the tree. Some species can respond to extreme pruning by generating lots of new growth which doubles the problem. OK if you like pollarding cos you'll be doing it every couple of years..
 

Suffolkboy

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If it pollards like Sycamore It will be just as Greenfellers describes. And it will look horrible.
 

AJB Temple

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Looks like a field maple but this hybrid Norwegian Maple has better autumn colour. They grow fast. I am developing a Japanese style stroll garden and have about 90 acers, mostly various palmatums. Whenever possible you need to avoid letting tight forks occur and prune early on to a single leader.

This might be OK for you, or it might gradually show an ugly and large scar, which may turn white. If you wish this to be a key specimen tree for the long term, then I would whip this one out and replace it. That is in fact what I would do. It will never be a great specimen in this condition. If it is just "a tree" then I would wait and see if it gets worse. It will not get better.

When you get divisions like this in young stock, sometimes you can wedge them and divide them with wire if you do not wish to prune away a close divided stem. Bonsai or Niwaki methodology. However, far too late for this here. I would expect this type of tree to grow to a maximum of 30 feet. Generally that is too big for most gardens and I would be constraining it already based on the photo of your garden, if you decide to keep it. Prune when dormant (winter) after leaf drop, but take photos now of the shape you want to prune to, if you decide to keep it.
 

eezageeza

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Greenfellers is right - I dont think you'll be able to prune one of those leaders out without leaving the tree looking awful.
By all means leave it until it fails, but if it takes a few years to do so, you'll have a big old mess to clear up, and a trunk that might be big enough that it needs mechanical assistance (a stump grinder) to get it out of the ground.
I'm with AJB Temple - if it were mine I'd take it out now, and replace it with something else.
 

Coyote

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Thanks for the advice all. I'll have a bit of a mull. I'm reluctant to take it out unnecessarily as it looks lovely in autumn, but I'm not wedded to it. If it has to come out will.
 

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