A Maple on Fire

A Maple on Fire

The red maple (Acer rubrum) is one of the most beautiful trees for fall color. It leaves shone out in the fall like a bonfire beckoning all to admire. The red maple is such a great tree in the landscape.  I tend to like trees that have at least three seasons of interest and maples fit the bill.  In the spring their new foliage comes out with red tints as do their flowers, yes flowers!  The flowers, once pollinated, then turn into the little seeds called samaras that people like to drop and watch helicopter down. or at least I do.  In the spring and summer you have a wonderful cannopy of lush green foliage that is perfect for picnics in the shade. You probably understand why I like this tree so much as you can probably understand why I am both frustrated and angry with the deer damage.

After the deer attacked my trees with its antlers I did some research on tree repair.  I couldn’t stand the thought of losing the trees and losing the three seasons of growth that its had in our landscape. 

Many of the sources I read suggested that you take the shredded bark from the ground and reattach it to the wounds before the bark dries out.  This wasn’t much of an option since the bark was shredded way beyond any use other than mulch.  I had to think more creatively…

I went into the backyard and found several silver maples. Silver maples aren’t generally recommended for landscapes because of the root systems but there are a few in the very back of our yard that have grown up naturally.  I selected some younger branches from the tree and pruned them out.  After I cleaned up the rough edges of the bark on the tree, I shaved as much bark as I could from the donor branches and attached them to the damaged trees taking care to keep the branches matched up in the right direction.  

Then I covered the whole wound with tape to keep the grafted bark on the tree until it could grow together.  This process may not even work but I thought it would be worth a try.  I suspect that the trees will be fine without it since they were not girdled but sometimes it’s hard to do nothing.

Time will tell if the graft is successful or not.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed!


Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. I will be interested to see if that works. I have never heard of doing that but it can’t hurt.

  2. What a gorgeous tree Dave! Good preventive measure, hopefully your maple will fine. Fie on those pesky deer!

  3. What a beautiful tree. I love the bright red. I would like to have one in my garden but I don’t have enough room. I hope you bark transfer works. I’ve never heard of that but like you said it is worth a try.

  4. Your maple is gorgeous! They are definitely the stars of the show in this area as well.

  5. Love the deer but they sure can be a pest to a gardener! I am spotting red maples all over the landscapes of new business here in our area… Not much else red for us as of yet…

  6. That is interesting and I hope it works. I had the same thing happen to an ash tree, lots of damage! It came back from the roots but it lost a lot of time/growth. Haven’t had a problem with deer since I got the insane border collie. A German shepherd and a collie weren’t a deterrent but the BC put the fear into them;)

  7. I hope the “skin” graft takes Dave. It’d be neat if it did. Did you take any pictures of the “operation?”

  8. I bet it will! I’m hoping for you that it does because they are beautiful. Your pictures show why it is worth the effort.

  9. Hiya,

    Sad to say human hair doesn’t work.
    A hairdresser friend collected her sweepings for me and the bunches hung there for weeks, but were totally ignored.
    Have you tried lion dung?
    No, you don’t have to rummage round your nearest zoo:
    It now comes in sanitized liquid in a bottle.
    I am asking for a deer fence for Xmas however. Totally fed up with losing all the rose buds.

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