Sudden wilting and death of individual branches of maples, redbuds and other susceptible trees may mean verticillium wilt has infected the plant.
The dead branches may occur on one side of the tree or be scattered throughout the crown. Have a professional diagnose the problem since the symptoms can be confused with other disorders.
Though verticillium wilt is fatal you can prolong the plant’s life with proper care.
Remove grass growing under the tree and replace it with a three inch layer of woodchips or other organic mulch. You’ll remove the competition for water and nutrients, while keeping the roots cool and moist. Water trees thoroughly as needed during dry periods.
Prune out dead branches as they occur. Disinfect your tools with a one part bleach and nine parts water solution between cuts to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.
Do not replace dead trees with wilt-susceptible plants
A bit more information: Do not use woodchip or leaf mulch collected from susceptible plants. These are a source of future infection. Do replace infected trees and shrubs with resistant species. Here are a few of the verticillium wilt resistant trees and shrubs to consider: Apples, crabapples, pears, hawthorns, ginkgo, hackberry, honeylocust, katsura tree, birch, beech, oak, azaleas, dogwoods, holly, and flowering quince.
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