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Thread: Our sugar maple is dying

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Fort Plain, NY, Montgomery County
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    627

    Default Our sugar maple is dying

    Our only sugar maple has been attacked by woodpeckers. After we bought our house I saw there were insects in the tree. We had a service trim up all the trees to get off the dead and dying branches. We have a large assortment of woodpeckers. The same tree service was across the street at a neighbors. They offered to take it down. $800.00!. After all the years of being on the farm and cutting something like this for firewood....
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
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    It looks like insects got the tree first, then the woodpeckers went after the bugs?
    Dave
    2014 30 taps, steam tray pans
    2015 ~100 taps, in conjunction with University of Louisville
    2x5 Smoky Lake hybrid pan

  3. #3
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    Nov 2010
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    Fort Plain, NY, Montgomery County
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    Yes. We have all kinds of wood peckers. Even the gigantic pileated.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    10,314

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    Woodpeckers don't just peck on a tree unless they can tell there are bugs in there to eat. The insects might have just come along after something else killed or weakened the tree.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, doing fewer each year, about 450 planned for 2020 (and after?)
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Weston, CT
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    169

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    Quote Originally Posted by maple flats View Post
    Woodpeckers don't just peck on a tree unless they can tell there are bugs in there to eat. The insects might have just come along after something else killed or weakened the tree.
    The damage to this tree is clearly done by a Pileated Woodpecker in search of insects or if not that it is intent on creating a dwelling for its soon to be family.

    Contrary to popular belief woodpeckers do peck holes for just the fun of it or more commonly for the purpose of creating a spot to roost or raise a family.

    There are several species of woodpeckers commonly known as sapsuckers that do just peck on trees when bugs are nowhere to be found inside the tree. They peck perfectly straight lines of holes about the same diameter as a tap hole. They either lick the sap or eat the insects that come for the sap or both.

    I have two such large trees ( greater then 3 feet in diameter ) that get hit every year by such birds. The holes in this tree do a great job of telling me when the sap is flowing well and when is a good time to put my taps in.

    I have 6 trees I tap with trunks greater then 3 feet in diameter. Two of the six are preyed upon by sap suckers and I tap both of them and they are my best sap producers of the 6.

    I also have a medium sized maple about 14" in diameter that also gets hit by sap suckers. Not every year but from time to time. Mysteriously it is a very, very sound producer of sap for me. Especially for its reasonably small size. In fact it is the only smaller maple I have fully capable of filling a 5 gallon pale in a day or two, when the maple Witching hour is on.

    None of my 25 or so other maples seem to get hit by the SS.

    So while its clear to me sap suckers are damaging to a trees long term health, its making me wonder just what the effects of sap sucker on a maple tree are in the short term.

    Taps on buckets has its intimacy and its perks.
    If you think it's easy to make good money in maple syrup .... then your obviously good at stealing somebody's Maple Syrup.

    Favorite Tree: Sugar Maple
    Most Hated Animal: Sap Sucker
    Most Loved Animal: Devon Rex Cat
    Favorite Kingpin: Bruce Bascom
    40 Sugar Maple Taps ... 23 in CT and 17 in NY .... 29 on gravity tubing and 11 on 5G buckets ... 2019 Totals 508 gallons of sap, 7 boils, 11.4 gallons of syrup.
    1 Girlfriend that gives away all my syrup to her friends.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Fort Plain, NY, Montgomery County
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    Thanks everyone. I knew when we moved here it was sick. . Sap suckers have ringed the tree. There were larva too. Like I said had a tree service( they've taken care of them for a lobg time before us). Needed dead branches taken down. I talk to it and say how sorry. I guess it's had a good life. Now dropping bark. It's a mess. Will need to get more advice and a better price on getting it cut.
    Last edited by highlandcattle; 03-19-2020 at 04:21 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Williston, VT
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    109

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar Bear View Post

    Contrary to popular belief woodpeckers do peck holes for just the fun of it or more commonly for the purpose of creating a spot to roost or raise a family.
    You probably know a lot more about woodpeckers than me. However, i find it difficult to believe that they will peck a cavity out of healthy wood. In a diverse forest there are plenty of trees with dead wood and cavities. It makes no sense that a woodpecker would spend the considerable effort to chisel a cavity, especially in a healthy hardwood. Maybe its to impress a mate. But he'll be too worn out to pass on his genes.
    Ken & Sherry
    Williston, VT

    2017 - 13 gallons on 65 taps (12 buckets, rest 3/16), 2x4 flat bottom, modified cargo box sugarhouse
    2018 - 90 gallons on 418 taps (gravity lines), Leader 30"x10' Vortex Arch & Max Raised Flue with Rev Syrup Pan, New Sugarhouse
    2019 - Burned through alot more money: heated kitchen, 2x2,000 and 375 gal ss sap tanks, CDL1200 RO, Bauch Vac Pump, More taps, etc., etc., etc.
    https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinhillmaple/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Weston, CT
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    169

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    Quote Originally Posted by TapTapTap View Post
    You probably know a lot more about woodpeckers than me. However, i find it difficult to believe that they will peck a cavity out of healthy wood. In a diverse forest there are plenty of trees with dead wood and cavities. It makes no sense that a woodpecker would spend the considerable effort to chisel a cavity, especially in a healthy hardwood. Maybe its to impress a mate. But he'll be too worn out to pass on his genes.
    I probably do not know more about Woodpeckers then you. But the smaller woodpeckers ( Not the Pileated ) have been witnessed by people, myself included, pecking holes in perfectly new cedar that could not possibly have insects in it or behind it. According to a professional ornithologist from New Jersey ( yes New Jersey does have a place called the Delaware Water Gap where birds do fly ) Smaller woodpeckers do build homes for themselves that may serve purely as a home and NOT a dining area as well.

    I very much agree that a woodpecker is not likely to make a hole in a healthy Sugar Maple. Other healthy trees might not be so lucky. And of course dead trees are fare game and commonly used for both purposes and nearly always by the Pileated Woodpecker . But a hole in the tree may just be a home and just that for a smaller woodpecker.

    When woodpeckers drill holes in homes people think that it must be the insects they are after but this is NOT necessarily true.

    Many different birds are now being recognized as "EXTRAORDINARLY" more intelligent then once believed. Woodpeckers are near the top of that list along with Crows.

    I believe that woodpeckers will drill a hole in a house not because they detect that insects are in it but because they can detect a cavity behind the siding that leaves promise for a nice little home. They can also deduce that because of the detected cavity their will be a reduced amount of work that you despise in order to build their home.

    It is certainly also true that a woodpecker might also be after insects under the siding. But in such cases he would not be likely to drill a hole in the siding big enough for him to roost in or pass through. Which DOES happen to peoples houses.

    I find it more difficult to believe that these creatures can rationalize the work effort in making a home then I can in people rationalizing the work effort in making maple syrup from maple trees. Considering you can let somebody else do it for you.



    I
    If you think it's easy to make good money in maple syrup .... then your obviously good at stealing somebody's Maple Syrup.

    Favorite Tree: Sugar Maple
    Most Hated Animal: Sap Sucker
    Most Loved Animal: Devon Rex Cat
    Favorite Kingpin: Bruce Bascom
    40 Sugar Maple Taps ... 23 in CT and 17 in NY .... 29 on gravity tubing and 11 on 5G buckets ... 2019 Totals 508 gallons of sap, 7 boils, 11.4 gallons of syrup.
    1 Girlfriend that gives away all my syrup to her friends.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    266

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    As an Arborist I would venture to say you had some root damage to the tree at some point. Excavation nearby at some point? You may not be able to tell any longer though. Typically I get called into a new subdivision 7 year's after the homes were built. That s how long it takes for most homeowners to realize something is wrong all the while the tree has been in a down ward spiral since the first piece of equipment showed up. Also sugar maples HATE the roots disturbed and struggle with salt damage from snow maintenance. Keep in mind most of the roots are in the top 18" (90%) and need moisture AND oxygen to survive. Any sign of topography change? Drain different than it use to? Woodpeckers will not kill a tree like that. Something else is causing it's downfall. Most insects are also secondary and are simplh opportunistic of the the trees stress. I didn't look to see where your at but Asian longhorned beetle is the only insect that I can think that could or would kill a tree as that. But it makes dime size emergence holes and other trees would have died also.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Fort Plain, NY, Montgomery County
    Posts
    627

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    Thanks so much. Yes this tree is near the road. The branches were trimmed last year by National Grid because they were in the power lines. Had the tree service trim and inspect it also. No mention then it was so bad. Salt would get against it. Will maybe see if village will step in and help. The bark is suddenly all falling off. I am heartbroken.

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