Posted: 18/05/2012 at 18:26
I have a similar problem, and used my initiative (a long loppers) to cut out the dead wood. On closer investigation I found that without exception the dead wood seemed to be infested with clusters of tiny, dark red 'eggs' - I say eggs because each patch looks exactly like a clutch of spider eggs. They are in every joint and crevice of bark, and so to be on the safe side I burned all the wood. I still don't know what they are, if indeed they are the cause of the tree's problem, nor do I know if the tree should be destroyed completely. It might be worth investigating your tree a bit more closely.