The Q&A Archives: White Growths On Japanese Lace-leaf Red Maple

Question: My Japanese Lace-leaf Red Maple recently developed white spots or "growths" along it's trunk. In examining the growths, they almost appear to be beads of white sap. Are they indeed sap, and if not, what are they. Is it harmful to the plant and how do I get rid of it? Thanks.

Answer: Some Japanese maple varieties have bark that, with time and age, develops white striations or streaks, some have a corky texture, some are described as warty, and so on. This is part of the ornamental charm of the tree and helps add four season interest. I suspect what you are seeing is probably normal, however for reassurance I would suggest you compare it with similar trees at the nursery or possibly take a photo or sample to either your county extension or a professionally trained nurseryman for consultation. Good luck with your maple!

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