Ask a Consulting Arborist Q&A: Tree Health

Q: Maple tree developed a split which is growing. Should it be cut down?

Thursday, December 31, 2015  

Q: I have a maple tree in my front yard that has developed a split on the west side of the tree. I had a certified arborist examine it last year. He told me to wait two or three years to see if it heals. He did nothing more. The tree's lower limbs have become short and saggy. The split has become more pronounced and seems to be heading for the ground. Bits and pieces of the tree and leaves are falling most of the year. The split is about 3 feet long, and I believe it occurred about three years ago during an extremely hot summer. I live in central Kansas, and we have experienced very hot summers recently. This split faces the street and my neighbors across the street. I hate to lose the shade it still provides but would like to know if this tree is doomed? Should I just give up on it and have it cut down? Thanks for any information you can provide.

A: With what you are describing, I would recommend having the maple tree removed soon. Vertical cracks in trees do not heal, and as the tree ages and puts on more weight above the crack, it will become a larger liability.

Responder: Matt Evans, RCA #522, Lenexa, KS