lilyd74

Wetwood/bacterial infection? or some type of inosculation scar?

lilyd74 (5b sw MI)
July 11, 2019

This is a red maple that is about 2.5-3 stories high, so it must be quite old if I had to guess. We moved in last year so I don't have detailed history. I am told that it was damaged in an F1 tornado (weak, comparatively) that came through in '14. It does drop a lot of branches, but I am not sure if that might be tornado damaged limbs coming down. I doubt the previous owners paid someone to go all the way up and trim things down after the tornado. There are some branches that are clearly dead, but most of the tree is foliated and overall looks healthy. First pic is of the crown, the other pics are of my area of concern. There is an area of leaking sap toward the base of the tree. I do not see damaged bark below the leak, but it leaks more or less constantly. Until very recently there was an infestation of carpenter ants in the area of the leak. That leads me to consider a bacterial infection, but there is no smell and no bubbly slime. It also looks to me as if the tree might be two trees, inosculated - one of the pics shows the ridge all the way down. There is a matching ridge on the opposite side. We are trying to figure out how much of a risk this tree is; we'd like to keep it if possible.




Comments (4)

  • tsugajunkie z5 SE WI ♱

    You can see how the tree grew with that line of included bark running up to the fork. Perhaps the tornado wrenched the two sides apart a bit and now water is going inside at the fork and causing rot. You could look inside that fork to see what you can and then call a certified arborist to take a look. The big question is, if it splits and falls, what will it hit?

    tj

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    agree.. you need to pay for an onsite inspection by a certified arborist ...

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=certified+arborist&t=ffcm&ia=about

    the canopy looks weird ... like there was another big tree ... and it is gone ... its just something about the leaf pattern vs the long bare spots ... this might be important.. because without the brother tree there... a lot of variables changed.. like how wind now hits it... etc ....

    its hard to get a perspective on the lot placement... but i see little houses... very close to a huge tree ... and for me.. gravity dictates that i would be concerned with it falling on my house ... imo.. its probably time for it to go ... but without actually seeing it in person.. its a WAG ...

    what you are seeing is the secondary issue caused by some interior structural problem ... solving the secondary issue will not solve the primary problem... which is what junkie alluded to ... included bark ... perhaps you can read up on that with some articles here:

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=included+bark&t=ffcm&iax=images&ia=images

    and note in the pix .. how they fail .. when they do ... that is why solving the wetness or liquid issue.. doesnt fix the structural issue ...

    all that said.. it could.. in tree time... stand there for another decade or two ... who knows ... it really all boils down to peace of mind ...

    ken

    ps: if you place a standard shovel next to it ... and then take a pic of the whole tree.. after measuring the shovel.. you can use it as a scale to estimate height .... but that would just be a curiosity ...

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    btw ...ants are rarely the cause of any problems... they are just taking advantage of a pre existing problem ... regular ants.. usually lead you to find an aphid problem.. as they 'milk' them for the honeydew ... but i digress ...


    and we dont have many termite issues in MI ... possible.. but not probable in z5 MI ...


    ken

  • lilyd74 (5b sw MI)

    Thanks, Ken and TJ. There was another tree - standing only a few feet from where the first pic was taken from. Don't know what it was, but it was lost in the tornado and it must have been huge because the base of the stump is 45 inches plus in diameter. The stump is located off the picture to the right of the second pic. The ants, which are gone now, were definitely carpenter ants, not garden ants and not termites - however you are right, there is no reason to think that they were the cause of the problem. I included them in my description because some of my research indicated that they might have mitigated a possible bacterial infection with their tunneling through the wood.

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