I thought I would post this thread as I've noticed a fair few postings asking about maple branch and leafing out problems this Spring. First of all let me say that after many years of being a National Trust member of England, I have visited their gardens and loved to walk under and view the ancient trees in their collections. This is where compaction comes in. All of the visitors have inadvertently damaged wonderful old trees. The national trust have now fenced off around the base of many trees and loosened the surface to allow the trees to breathe. Now this is where some maple lovers old and new are also having problems. We are having mild winters and very wet Springs , followed by weeks of dry weather that then forms a mud crust around our shallow rooting trees, depriving the roots of oxygen. This then shows up with troubles in the branching and leafing out in Spring. There is also these days the use of stones around maples for decorative purposes. This again exasperates the problem. So my point is that if we can spike and rake our lawns in Spring we should encourage everyone to spend time and gently spike around the base of maples in pots or in the ground to give them air to breathe. They will thank us for it, as I'm sure the ancient trees of the National Trust have done.( if they could talk to us).