The Q&A Archives: Half dead trees

Question: I currently have an ash as well as a maple( don't remember what type) that the top half of the tree is dead. The ash has been in the ground for about 4 years and looked great up until last year. The maple was planted last year and was doing great until this spring. Is there anything I can do to get the trees back? THey are about 7 feet tall and 3-4 inches in diameter. Should we cut the dead areas off or do we need to replace the entire tree? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Answer: If the very tops of the trees are dead, from wind or snow or frost, you can prune off the dead tops. Your trees will then begin to direct one of the top branches upward to form a new central leader. Or, it will send a new branch straight up which will become the central leader. It will take several years for this to occur, but eventually they will begin to grow upward again. You will notice a slight bend or curve in the top of the tree where the original central leader grew.

Best wishes with your trees!

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