Posted: 13/09/2014 at 08:09
The leaves at top and centre, I take it thats just the autumn colour leaves of yellow and maroon and not brown
Splitting of bark can indicate that the tree has a disease, the tree does this as a defence mechanism but there could also be other factors
Verticillium Wilt can affect these trees, but there is no sign of any branch dieback, this does not mean it has not got it, it depends on the severity of the disease some trees can last for years and then finally succumb to the disease,
There is also a bacterial disease called Pseudomonas Syringae which causes the bark to split, this also in its severity can kill the tree and shows the same symptoms as Verticillium Wilt, these two diseases can also pair up on the same tree so the outcome will be the same.
Wounding of any kind seems to play a major role in initiating disease development. Wounds may be mechanical or environmental such as frost injury. Wounds have been shown to predispose trees to bacterial canker, but you told me there is nothing weeping from those wounds
There is no agreement about the severity of diseases caused by Pseudomonas syringae. Most researchers consider Pseudomonas syringae a weak pathogen, an opportunist that capitalizes on a host weakened by some predisposing condition. A number of factors reportedly make plants more susceptible to infection; foremost is freeze damage. Freezing wounds the plant, allowing the bacterium to get into and destroy plant cells.
Ironically, many strains of P. syringae catalyze ice crystal formation on and in the plant tissues These generally are referred to as ice nucleation-active (INA) bacteria. Their presence on the plant serves to raise the freezing temperature above that at which sensitive plant tissues would normally freeze.
At the moment I favour P.syringae because of the length of time those wounds appeared and they look as if they have healed over, the positive side is snake bark maple tree is a good healer of bark wounds
I suggest you purchase Bordeaux copper spray, and spray any new wounds during autumn and winter. This may or may not help but it is worth a try, you will have to keep a look out wait to see for any dieback in branches when the new foilage appears in the spring
So at the moment I would take your family`s advice and leave the tree standing and fingers crossed it will be ok