Why Is My Norway Maple Dying

A Norway maple tree may be dying due to fungal diseases like anthracnose or verticillium wilt, maple decline syndrome, girdling roots, or environmental stressors.

Promptly contacting an ISA Certified Arborist for assessment and intervention is crucial for the tree’s potential recovery.

Norway maple trees are popular landscape trees appreciated for their large, shady canopy and striking fall color.

However, several issues can cause these trees to struggle and decline.

If your Norway maple is showing signs of poor health, it’s important to understand and address the potential causes.

Why Is My Norway Maple Dying

Fungal Diseases

Two common fungal diseases impact Norway maples.


Anthracnose is a foliar fungus that thrives during cool, wet spring weather. Spores infect the leaves, causing small, irregular spots to develop.

These spots enlarge and coalesce, turning the foliage yellow, brown, or black. Defoliation typically occurs prematurely.

Anthracnose can also infect twigs and cause dieback. Severe, repeated defoliation weakens the tree over time.

Careful monitoring and preventative fungicide applications may be necessary in susceptible trees.

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is a serious vascular disease.

The soil-borne fungus enters through the roots and spreads upward through the water-conducting tissues.

This prevents proper water transport, causing foliage to wilt, yellow, and brown. Branches and entire trees can die from the infection.

The disease worsens during drought periods which stress the tree.

Careful watering and fertilization may help infected trees, but removal is necessary if the tree declines extensively.

Maple Decline

Maple decline is a general syndrome caused by a combination of problems rather than a single pathogen.

Factors such as insect infestations, canker diseases, environmental stress, and root damage accumulate over time, leading to a slow decline.

Affected Norway maples exhibit symptoms like stunted leaf growth, crown dieback, early fall coloration, and branch death over several years.

Management involves identifying and mitigating any underlying issues to improve the tree’s vigor.

Girdling Roots

Norway maples are prone to developing girdling roots. These roots wrap around the lower trunk below ground.

As they enlarge, they restrict the flow of water, nutrients, and stored carbohydrates through the vascular tissues.

Trees gradually decline due to the stranglehold effect. Symptoms include stunted growth, thin foliage, dieback, and unusual bark peeling on the trunk.

Careful excavation and removal of the girdling roots can save the tree if caught early before irreparable damage occurs.

Environmental Stress

Environmental factors like drought, compacted soil, grade changes, and root damage can stress trees.

Moisture loss from drought causes leaf scorch, marginal necrosis, early fall color, and branch dieback.

Compacted soil prevents proper root aeration and function. Grade changes that bury the root collar also harm the roots.

Mechanical injury to the roots from construction or trenching impairs the tree’s stability and water/nutrient uptake.

Correcting site issues and maintaining vigor with proper water and fertilization can often remedy environmental stress problems.

Saving a Declining Norway Maple

If you suspect your Norway maple is failing, promptly contact an ISA Certified Arborist.

They can assess the tree’s health, diagnose issues, and provide appropriate solutions to restore vigor.

Implementing their recommendations as soon as decline symptoms appear gives the tree the best chance of recovery.

With early intervention and proper care, your struggling Norway maple may continue providing beauty and shade for years to come.

Before You Go

If your looking to buy shrubs or trees online, I highly recommend Nature Hills. They always have sales and discounts on nursery stock, well worth your time checking them out.

You can find them here, NatureHills.com.

Also, I have other articles about Norway maple trees you can check out if your interested.

I’ll leave links to them below.

Norway Maple Facts: Top 8

Pros and Cons of Planting Norway Maple Trees

Are There Different Types Of Norway Maples

What Are Norway Maple Look Alikes

Norway Maple Problems: Important Info Before Planting

Why is the Norway Maple Invasive

How the Norway Maple Got to America

Blog Musings