Maple disease can include infection with a variety of fungi, as well as disease caused by poor growing conditions and physical damage to trees. Tree diseases need to be identified and treated early to reduce the risk of permanent damage. In the case of maple disease, many problems are fully treatable, especially when caught early, and the treatment is usually relatively straightforward. By taking prompt action, people can also prevent the spread of maple disease to neighboring trees.
Different parts of the maple including the roots, bark, leaves, and vascular system can be involved in maple disease. Many of the causes of disease in maples are fungal in nature, as seen in anthracnose, maple wilt, sapstreak, powdery mildew, and sooty mold. These diseases often cause the leaves to develop spots and marks, lead to early leaf loss, and can cause cause disease of the branches and trunk. While sapstreak is fatal, other fungal diseases in maple trees can be treated by providing trees with nutrition and water and removing the infected material.
The trunk and bark can develop splitting, often in response to sun damage, and canker, where a patch of dead, diseased tissue develops. Canker is often caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. In addition to looking unsightly, it can leave the tree vulnerable to boring insects and more aggressive organisms, and these can potentially kill the tree. Asian longhorned beetles and other beetle species can also be responsible for maple disease, damaging the plants and setting them up for fungal colonization.
Maples near roadways are prone to salt injuries in cold climates, caused by splashback from the road. Highway agencies can use sand or other materials to address ice while reducing the risk of damage to nearby trees. Another cause of maple disease is girdling of the trunk or roots. This can be caused by growing in too small an area, leading roots to tangle around each other, and may also be caused by things like fencing pressing up against a tree.
Leaf scorch, a maple disease characterized by the development of a scorched appearance, is caused by issues like not enough water, too much water, heat, poor soil, limited nutrients, or excessive nutrients. It can also be caused by shock, as when trees are transplanted or excavation is carried out near a tree.
A maple tree that begins to look sick or stressed should be checked for signs of disease. Soil samples can be tested for bacteria and fungi and to collect information about nutrient levels, and labs can also analyze leaves and branches for the presence of pathogens.