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Old 05-13-2012, 01:38 PM   #1
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


I have a ~50-75' tall maple tree in my front yard that has a black, almost charred like, bark on the lower portions where I can see/touch. There are several bore-holes from what appears to be pecking from a bird or something. Very tightly collected in a horizontalish line. My neighbor seems to think the tree is suffering from an overwhelming fungal growth, and is likely dying from the inside out. His sugar maple was rotted from the inside out when they took it down almost a decade ago. I believe there is a reasonable chance this is true; as every windstorm that comes through makes that tree creak and whine loudly.

Has anyone ever heard of this? A light google search has told me that pecking birds feed on the tree sap, and the remaining holes are avenues of fungal cultivation which can consume the tree.

Ideas?

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Old 05-13-2012, 04:51 PM   #2
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


Call the local tree expert co and have someone who knows what they are talking about look at it

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Old 05-13-2012, 05:15 PM   #3
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


Yes, get someone from a local tree service to take a look at it.

Also mind that trees don't live forever. I don't know how old your tree is but if a fungal infection is causing so much trouble it might be stressed from other reasons as well, or just plain old age. A tree service should be able to look at the environment and see if there is something else wrong with the tree and the site.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:48 PM   #4
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


These guys are right. An arborist, or some other such professional, needs to come look at the tree.

ThunderChicken is also right in reminding us that trees don't live forever. It is very typical for a mature old Maple tree to rot from the inside out. That's just what they do. Then some big wind storm comes along and knocks it down, and everybody is alarmed.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:58 PM   #5
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


Ok. I have a phone call into my arborist. In the meantime here's a picture of the subject in reference.
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?-image-170764665.jpg   Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?-image-3310597910.jpg   Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?-image-3831614993.jpg   Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?-image-3563945621.jpg   Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?-image-3653864629.jpg  

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Old 05-13-2012, 07:22 PM   #6
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


I have a Sugar Maple in my yard that is quite a bit larger than the tree in the photos. The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers (a type of Woodpecker) drill holes in the tree in neat lines going around the circumference. Hasn't hurt the tree for the last 10 years I've been watching.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:25 PM   #7
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


Exactly!
Here's a pic of that same thing!
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:33 PM   #8
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


From the photos it doesn't look too bad. The lichen on the trunk is probably not hurting it, but it is taking advantage of a stressed tree.

Has the tree ever been pruned? Thinning out some of the branches might let air circulate and help to keep things dry. Do you have any obviously dead branches up in the canopy? Your arborist should be able to tell you if this is needed or not, but it looks kinda thick to me.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:42 PM   #9
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


Some of the lower hanging branches that don't have leaves are obviously brittle and dead. I've only owned the house a few years. I doubt it has been pruned in a long time. I'll have my arborist look at it.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


That is a lot healthier looking tree than my 5o ft sugar maple is, dont let anyone talk you in to cutting it down. If a red headed cocked sucker did that to my tree, I would be visiting him the next time I heard his pecker pecking.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:55 PM   #11
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


Thanks for the assurance.

Looks like I need some woodpecker / sapsucker deterrents.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:05 AM   #12
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


That tree is VERY young, maybe 20 years old. The sap sucker will do it no harm. It is actually doing a good thing as it drills the holes which drip sap which the bugs love, which the sap sucker loves to eat. No harm to the tree at all, As to the fungus, the arborist will say to thin it out lightly to let air circulate better. If he mentions topping at all, you have the wrong guy.
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:20 AM   #13
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


Just because I'm curious and do t know better:

How is it a good thing?
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:11 PM   #14
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


The bird is eating potentially harmful bugs.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:03 PM   #15
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Sugar Maple with fungal growth...manageable?


Again...because I don't know anything...
I'm purely curious so don't be offended

The bird chips away the wood, returns to feed on the sap and the bugs attracted to it.

If the birds didn't peck, there'd be no bugs the the tree due to lack of access?

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