I have a Maple tree that ... #616953 - Ask Extension


I have a Maple tree that ... #616953

Asked March 13, 2020, 3:25 PM EDT

I have a Maple tree that seems to have verticillium. Will fertilizers help to delay the inevitable dying of the tree? The tree had a very high output of seeds in the spring. This has been taking place over the last 3 years.

Oakland County Michigan

Expert Response


Maple decline can be from a number of issues, including girdling root, wilt disease, and as a result of a lightning strike, which may be the cause of the long crack of which you took a picture. Your picture of the trunk shows one side rather flat, which can be a sign of girdling root. To determine if it is verticillium wilt, a lab analysis or certified arborist’s evaluation is needed.

To help a maple such as yours you can

-keep it watered during dry spring, summer and fall periods, up to when the ground freezes in October.

- fertilize lightly  in the spring

- avoid stressing the tree root area: don’t park over the roots, don’t wound or nick the roots or bark with mowers or string trimmers.

Here are details- http://plantclinic.cornell.edu/factsheets/mapledecline.pdf

And here are details on verticillium wilt, also scroll down to see pictures of  disease signs-


To get an accurate diagnosis of the whole tree hire a certified arborist, a professional who has taken training in care, diseases, pests and passed certification tests. He/she will come on site and give a complete diagnosis and a plant care plan. Find certified arborists by zip code here—-


To get confirmation of verticillium wilt without hiring an arborist,  send  stem samples to MSU Plant and Pest Diagnostics lab for diagnosis. Include pictures of the whole plant and a close up of the problem. 

See the web site for fee schedule and instructions. You may call  the lab with questions on how big a sample they will need.


This tree appears to have considerable dieback and it may be best to remove it. The arborist can help you determine that. If verticillium wilt is confirmed it is important not to plant another maple or other wilt susceptible tree in that soil. Thanks for using our service.


Laura Sheffer Replied March 13, 2020, 4:27 PM EDT

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