Thread: Winter scald (or burn) on autumn blaze red maple

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  1. #1

    Winter scald (or burn) on autumn blaze red maple

    Hi Everyone!

    I have a 8 foot tall autumn blaze red maple. We had it planted (it was a 6 footer) about 3 years ago. It's been doing well, it seemed, until earlier this spring when I noticed the bark was splitting about 1-3 feet up the tree, on the southwest side of the tree. Also, some of the leaves on the very ends of the branches were starting to turn red/brown. Contacted a local nursery they told me that it's "winter scald." We also have clay soil (western 'burbs of Chicago, Zone 5).

    Just wondering - can winter scald 'heal' somehow? I've read about tree wraps or putting white latex paint on the tree, but is it too late for that? Is there any sort of 'fertilizer' or medicine I can give the tree to heal? Even though now it seems the leaves have gone green again, is this tree slowly dying, or will it die eventually?

    Thanks for your help/tips!! I appreciate it!!

    Pam :D

  2. #2
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Winter scald (or burn) on autumn blaze red maple

    Some photos would give us a better idea of the severity of the bark splitting. Sun scald generally doesn't cause long-term damage to healthy trees. Most home/hardware stores sell the white fabric tree wrap, which you can wrap around the tree during the Fall after leaf drop so that it is protected from any further sun scald issues during the Winter months. Don't use paint or anything over the wound, it will close up on its own naturally with no assistance necessary.

    Keep 3-4" of mulch around the drip zone of the tree, 6" away from the trunk. Make sure you water it during dry spells. Chicago had a lot of rain a couple of weeks ago, so perhaps it was a bit over-watered by nature, which can rot roots and cause some foliage to turn crispy. Leave it be, don't fertilize it, and monitor it for any other signs of disease or stress. If the tree was planted at the proper depth and is sufficiently mulched, it should bounce back without issues.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    1,589

    RE: Winter scald (or burn) on autumn blaze red maple

    Very common problem on autumn blaze freeman maples.

  4. #4
    Sapling
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    michigan zone 5
    Posts
    64

    RE: Winter scald (or burn) on autumn blaze red maple

    I had the same problem with my maple, I guess It's common in Zone 5 and had the leave drop too. In my case it was a tree that has been there 15 years and didn't want to remove it. I did remove the dead bark and mulched farther out. Watering during dry spells helps with the leaf drop but it will/should heal over the scar in 5 years; Mines doing just fine now.

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