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Six years ago a 1"-DBH maple (believed to be a Norway maple cultivar) was planted at an institution to commemorate an event. This is in zone 5 in central NY, which has been experiencing moderate drought this summer. Someone noticed the trees' leaves looking weak or diseased. Can you tell what are these indicators of and what intervention might be needed, if any, to keep this tree growing happily?

This was planted in a level, well-drained area in full-sun, into a mowed grass lawn. It has otherwise grown well and not had problems. I will double check but I think the area is not particularly wet, which may be part of the issue here for this maple. A local nursery recommended this tree for the location, however.

tree leaves 1

tree leaves 2

tree leaves 3

My take is that the leaves are curling due to drought, and the leaves are patchy due to normal pest activity. If anything, the tree could use more water during dry spells, but it does not really need intervention (just monitoring since we will likely have more frequent dry times ahead).

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    This looks more like Acer platanoides Crimson King or a Norway Maple. Is that possible?
    – kevinskio
    Aug 2, 2022 at 17:46
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    The tree is definitely NOT a Red Maple, which is Acer rubrum, but is Acer platanoides, as @kevinskio has noted. The cultivar is unimportant in this case. This is an important distinction because A. rubrum doesn't grow well/at all in non-acid soils and A. platanoides does. In other words, because we've identified the tree as a Norway maple and not a Red maple we can rule out pH as a problem. I also think your analysis is correct - water stress and insect predation. Norway maples are incredibly shallow-rooted and water stress is a frequent problem in many areas, leaving trees brown and crispy.
    – Jurp
    Aug 2, 2022 at 19:15
  • Thanks for catching that, yes it is likely a Norway maple cultivar. Sorry, the last time this particular tree crossed my radar was 6 years ago! I was asked for advice then about it before the planter went to a nursery to get a tree.
    – cr0
    Aug 2, 2022 at 19:17
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    @Jurp Why not turn your comment into an answer? I do not think the community can provide OP any better answer than you did.
    – Gyrfalcon
    Aug 3, 2022 at 0:26

1 Answer 1

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The tree is definitely NOT a Red Maple, which is Acer rubrum, but is Acer platanoides, as @kevinskio has noted. The cultivar is unimportant in this case. This is an important distinction because A. rubrum doesn't grow well/at all in non-acid soils and A. platanoides does. In other words, because we've identified the tree as a Norway maple and not a Red maple we can rule out pH as a problem. I also think your analysis is correct - water stress and insect predation. Norway maples are incredibly shallow-rooted and water stress is a frequent problem in many areas, leaving trees brown and crispy.

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