Bark Peeling - Japanese Maple

Discussion in 'Maples' started by djmitch, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. djmitch

    djmitch Member

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    I have a young Japanese Maple that is approximately 8ft tall. The trunk is about 6 inches around. I have just noticed that there are areas on the trunk and branches where the bark is peeling back. On the lower trunk it looks as though something has chewed the bark completely off (about the size of a dollar bill). There are other places higher on the trunk where inch wide strips of bark have peeled back. Does this sound like an insect problem or some sort of disease?Thanks in advance for any help.

    Update to Post:
    Covebob,s reply reminded me that we also had a late freeze that damaged most of the foliage. New leaves did grow back. I also cut one of the main branches which has allowed more sun into the center of the tree. See Pics....

    Thanks,
    djmitch
     

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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  2. covebob

    covebob Member

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    I don't have an answer for djmitch, but I would like to add to this thread. I too have a japanese maple @ 13 yrs. old. this spring we had several days of freezing temps after the tree had put out tender new leaves. All the leaves died. Fortunately the tree put out new leaves on central branches close to the trunk. A couple of weeks after the spring freeze I noticed a vertical crack in the bark on the trunk. this bark would easily peel away and the cambium beneath was dead. I trimmed the dead bark back to healthy cambium. Now @6wks later, I notice more bark dieing at the edges that were previously healthy. What should I do to try to save the tree? Anyone?
     
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Sorry about that - don't know why I had that setting the way it was. It works now.
     
  4. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Pretty serious damage there
    I think some animal or other is eating at the bark. I had the same problem to a lesser extent from a young hare which did the same thing. Do you have problems with deer or any such that would cause this?
    It looks as though you will need to protect the tree in some way and you may in fact have too much damage there to be able to save it
     
  5. djmitch

    djmitch Member

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    Thanks for making the change. A picture is worth a thousand words. Take care...djmitch
     
  6. djmitch

    djmitch Member

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    I don't think this is caused by an animal????? But you are right the damage to the trunk does look like a rabbit or deer has chewed the bark off. The damaged areas up in the branches are what makes me think that it is disease, stress or insect. Take care...djmitch
     
  7. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Sam is rigth for me is a mouse ...
     
  8. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    or a giraffe? :)
    Or, more seriously, a squirrel? or whatever eguivalent you would have in North Carolina
     
  9. djmitch

    djmitch Member

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    Whatever it was, the bark is now healing over. I cleaned up the edges of each wound by slicing the bark with a knife and now new bark is filling in. Thanks for all of the responses. Jeff
     
  10. birddog82

    birddog82 New Member

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    Hi dimitch,
    I am in Virginia and having the same problem with our Japanese Maple. Could you describe you process of how you "cleaned up the edges of each wound by slicing the bark with a knife" that enabled the bark to start filling back in? Also, did you ever find out what the cause was?
     
  11. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    use copper, low dilution in water, on the damage bark zone-copper is very good antifungine and help the bark to remarginate
     
  12. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    In our area this damage is most commonly caused by squirrel. Chipmunks can be guilty of it too but they do very small areas of bite damage and rarely scratch.

    I've witnessed squirrel using two different techniques. One is the bite and peel method. The other is using front claws and scratching away or a combination of both. The chipmunks usually randomly bite chips away.

    Here's a few crummy pictures taken today.

    This photo shows how last year's damage mostly healed on its own at the base of the branch. The 2nd and 3rd areas were damage from this Spring.
    20220718_122433~2.jpg

    Here you see the tree healed itself under the damaged bark. The old damaged bark is flaking away as the wound wood "healed" and formed underneath.
    20220718_122946~2.jpg

    This is damage typically caused by chipmunks.
    20220718_123029~2.jpg

    They seem to prefer Acer palmatum and leave Acer shirasawanum alone. They also don't bother shirasawanum x palmatum or Acer japonicum.

    In the early years, I used to perform surgery to cut away the torn area making a clean cut with a Japanese craft knife (or razor blade, x-acto knife, grafting knife) removing about 1.5 to 2mm of bark tracing around the damaged area. I would sanitize the blade first with 91% Isopropyl. The idea is that a clean cut heals quicker than a tear. But over the past few years I've learned they usually do just fine healing on their own with no human intervention.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2022
    maf likes this.

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