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!

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