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Hello all arborists, 

 

A Sycamore tree that is two-and-a-bit feet in width (I dont know how old this tree is), it seems to be dying.

 

The leaves are spotted black, so am I right in thinking this is Anthracnose? 

 

There are many trunks stemming from the main one, typical of Sycamores. All trunks shooting off have bark that seems to have parted (there is not continuous bark going round the trunks).

 

Many branches have fallen off, leaving an unclean cut, these bits of dead wood have holes in them- are these some sort of wood-borers that have gotten into the dead wood? 

 

I have cut off all of the new 'suckers', as well as some established ones. The spotted leaves were also touching a birch tree, I have now cut those branches down to stop spread of infection, and they are no longer touching one another. I have also cleared the ground by the bottom trunk of both trees: of dead leaves, twigs and moss etc. 

 

I want to save this tree. Is there any way that I can? I am in a woodland by the way in the South East. These spotted leaved Sycamores are spreading, only a few trees remain without these spots. Other trees, such as Birch and Oak are fine. But will they end up getting infected? 

 

I am in no way a tree surgeon, just a gardener who likes trees and knows a little bit about them. 

 

Thanks. 

 

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The best thing you can do for the sycamore and other trees in the woodland will be to cull the squirrels as they will ravage young oaks, beech and sycamore to name a few,  for years by bark stripping which then turn into decayed areas and increase pathogen ingress as well as affecting their structual integrity

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2 hours ago, Treeation said:

The best thing you can do for the sycamore and other trees in the woodland will be to cull the squirrels as they will ravage young oaks, beech and sycamore to name a few,  for years by bark stripping which then turn into decayed areas and increase pathogen ingress as well as affecting their structual integrity

Thanks Treeation, I have bought a slingshot and am yet to use it!

 

Could you explain the branches that have fallen/are falling off? Or is this just a result of the bark stripping? 

 

Regarding the stripped bark: the whole tree is like that, on every branch. Does this mean that the tree will die in years to come? 

 

Do I need to do any more pruning to maintain its livelihood? 

 

Edit: Very good to hear about the Birch and Oak being safe, thanks a lot :)

 

 

 

 

Edited by Kaizack

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Hard to to tell by a phtot why branches have fallen off in the past but could well  be squirrel damage. Id say the longer implication of squirrel damage would be affected areas eventually failing due to extensive decay. Unlikely to kill a sycamore, but expect onging branch loss due to loss of strength caused by secondary decay.

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The missing bark does look like squirrel damage, keep an eye on the ground in the spring/summer for strips of bark.

 

I've found reducing the number of squirrels greatly reduces bark stripping, i.e. you don't need to get every one.

 

Whatever you do it must be done legally and humanely. Traps may be your best bet but ensure they are legal as I gather the rules are changing yet again this year.

 

As for the diseased leaves, I've got some very sick looking sycamores that often loose their leaves about now but they come back every year.

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13 hours ago, Kaizack said:

 

 

Could you explain the branches that have fallen/are falling off? Or is this just a result of the bark stripping? 

The branches tend to become brittle as they a ring barked by the squirrels and then fail. 

13 hours ago, Kaizack said:

 

Regarding the stripped bark: the whole tree is like that, on every branch. Does this mean that the tree will die in years to come? 

Maybe.  Or maybe it just becomes a bit gnarled due to the damage.  Just depends if the tree has enough energy to keep reinforcing itself against the damage, and how aggressive the squirrels are.  I have seen sycamore like this last for years.     

13 hours ago, Kaizack said:

 

Do I need to do any more pruning to maintain its livelihood? 

No, pruning will reduce available energy which is needed as mentioned above.  Prune to reduce risk only (when needed).  You cant really prune out the damage without destroying the tree and even if you did, the squirrels would cause more damage.    

13 hours ago, Kaizack said:

 

Edit: Very good to hear about the Birch and Oak being safe, thanks a lot :)

 

13 hours ago, Kaizack said:

 

 

 

 

 

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