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October 28, 2017
Now that fall is here, and a good time to plant trees; may I say a word on behalf
of sugar maples. I live in Rogers, and in the older parts of town there are many grand
sugar maples, but they are dying out. In the newer sections, if they plant maples
at all, they are the newer cultivars of red maples. These are ok, but their fall color
lacks the vibrant glow of sugar maples. WE need more ginkgos planted too
There is nothing prettier in the fall than a sugar maple, and they definitely outshine
red maples, but they are not as easy to grow in Arkansas. There are two species commonly
called sugar maple – Acer saccharum and Acer barbatum (which is sometimes called the
southern sugar maple). The southern species is much more heat and drought tolerant
but not as showy as the common sugar maple. Sugar maples prefer a cooler summer than
we get. You will find sugar maples throughout Arkansas, but they cannot compete with
sugar maples in New England. Another harder to find replacement would be the native
Chalk Maple, Acer leucoderme. I too love ginkgo and they have brilliant yellow fall
color. Some other show stoppers in the fall landscape include blackgum, Chinese pistache,
sourwood and the often despised sweetgum.
September 9, 2017
We live in Cabot and planted two Sugar Maple trees several years ago. They have done
fine until now. Last week the leaves of one of them suddenly turned brown and the
tree died. This week the other one did the same thing. There was no warning of any
kind. They did not seem to be in any distress before they died. They are planted
in full sun and we water them regularly. Any idea what could have caused this?
When the leaves turned brown did they drop or remain attached to the tree? If they
defoliated early they may still be alive and will come back next spring. Did you
spray anything in the yard for weeds, diseases, and insects? Any fertilization?
When they began growing this spring did they have a full set of leaves? One thing
to look for is any toothpick like protrusions on the trunk of the tree which could
be caused by ambrosia beetles which can kill otherwise seemingly healthy trees. Serious
attacks that result in tree death usually occur during the leafing-out stage, but
we can have more than one generation of them per year. Infested wood is distinctly
dis colored and may have a foul odor.
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