The Q&A Archives: Silver Maple Not Leafing Out

Questioner's Location: Conway, SC
Date: July 4, 1999

Question: My beautiful silver maple only has leaves growing on the bottom and some shoots here and there to the top of the tree.

Answer: There are a number of reasons why your tree is not "feeling well," but without more information I can't really make a recommendation. If you just recently planted the tree, then it may have suffered some damage during transplanting. If the tree has been steadily declining over a number of years, then it is probably diseased (Verticillium wilt, trunk decay, cankers) or has borers in the trunk and branches. There are a large number of leaf-eating insects that could have stripped the foliage (tent catepillars, maple worms, leaf cutters) or others that feed on buds and young leaves (aphids). I suggest that you have a professional take a look at your tree and make a recommendation about how to procede, since it sounds like your tree is in dire shape. Contact an arborist or the county agricultural extension office (ph# 803-248-2267) to see if they can stop by. Best of luck!

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