It has been raining here every day and I have not had a look at my Coral Bark Japanese maple in a while Today I had a look and I noticed ants digging their nest/galleries around the tree, some of these are darker because my wife "put some windex" on them (that is a joke but she used vinegar)

How do I get rig of these beasts? Is my tree in danger? The ants are small size not carpenter ants

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the tree looks like this

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During my research into this I came accross this thread http://forums.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/threads/coral-bark-chlorosis-nutrient-deficiency-or-sun-burn.56911/ which shows a similar issue with aggravated symptoms for the tree. The opinions are split between Sun-Burn and Lack of fertilizer, many seem to be inclined toward sun burns

I have also cross checked about ants -it seems that they are not a problem, I guess they will go away as I will continue to water the tree daily every evening

1 Answer 1


MiniMe...ants are not a problem ever for plants. Well, they do the aphid harvesting gig but even then no problems really. Was the bottom of this trunk buried for awhile? How does the rest of your tree look? I'd get rid of the straw for sure. Don't worry about the ants.

Coral bark Japanese Maples are breath taking. As long as your tree is healthy I don't see any problems. I would clean out those weeds and hidey spaces for insects around the base of your tree. If you have any problems it might be because of compromised bark at the bottom of your tree. Interesting because this must have happened in a pot? Before you planted here in this spot? No more vinegar or 'windex'. That could make the soil far too acid for any plant to thrive. Windex...grins! Ants and spiders are good guys. That is all I have for macro organisms in my soil! I just got a load of earthworms, sprinkled them around my 5 year old improved soil. They must have liked it because they disappeared by the time I finished!

  • see the pictures above, I have no idea if the tree is OK or no, looks quite reddish to me :-) ..if you check older posts around here from when I got the tree it was much greener then There are some dots/spots that can be noticed if you click on the last picture
    – MiniMe
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:00
  • yeah, this doesn't not look healthy. Those leaves should be a bright...light or limeish green. These look blanched? Or is that the photo? What have you fertilized with?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:22
  • No fertilizer, that is pretty close to the real color. The plant takes full sun all the day long
    – MiniMe
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:34
  • You need to get some straight forward fertilizer. There are tree spike fertilizers that last...well a long time. Your tree is not able to produce enough of something to feed itself to then be able to maintain that green color. Red is indicative not only of genetics but in coral bark leaves that red means stress. No color is even more stress. Too much fertilizer or no fertilizer are the two problems I've encountered with fertilizer. Perhaps unbalanced fertilizer. Do you fertilize your lawn? Your tree loves acid your lawn loves more alkaline...
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:48
  • Without proper chemistry, photosynthesis can't happen. The chemistry is as important as water and light and drainage. Soils do not come with this chemistry, us humans have to add it with knowledge and discretion. Good old Osmocote or tree spikes with balanced fertilizer will make a huge difference as long as the pH of your soil is appropriate. Have you limed your lawn recently?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:52

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