Can you help me with my tree?
I have an approximately 20 year old Japanese Maple tree. It is very pretty with happy white flowers. Lately, I noticed dark brown sticky ooze coming out of it. Here are some photos. Please help me save my tree and let me know what I should do to get it healthy again. Thank you.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
From the photos, I believe the oozing is primarily due to an "alcoholic flux" or "bacterial wetwood" condition related to the hot season and drought stress. Some bleeding is associated with an old pruning cut, and with the structural defect at the base called "co-dominant stems with embedded bark." I don't believe this is a serious problem, and there is no curative treatment available. But it is important to manage the soil fertility and watering in order to keep the tree in the best health possible and able to resist disease.
The most serious issue that I see for tree health is in the first photo and the last photo where I see irrigation heads (or is that the same one) right at the base of the tree. This/these could be directing too much water on the base of the trunk and root crown and could result in root rot and crown rot. I don't think that is the reason for the oozing , but in order to cover all the bases, I advise moving those heads out away from the trunk and watering the entire root zone deeply, once a week. Allow the soil to dry out a little before watering again. Mulch the soil surface if possible to help retain soil moisture. Adjust your watering program seasonally so that the tree is well watered in the hot dry season and not overwatered during the colder and wetter seasons.
Fertilize spring and fall (now) with an organic slow release all purpose fertilizer.