The old maple is in decline.

It started to fade slowly, but it was able to move quickly last summer, with its lichen-covered branches snapping and falling to ground. The gray bark was covered in dark green moss. It has far fewer leaf. There is a crack in the middle. More plants grow in the tree’s crevices: purple blackberry canes, spiky grasses and red-tinged euonymus. For the first time, I see three woodpecker holes, so beautifully aligned they look like Orion’s belt.

I am unsure why the tree is dying so I conduct some research. Maples can be affected by many diseases like anthracnose and verticillium-wilt. I’m still unsure so I call Brian Crooks. a Western Pennsylvania Conservancy forester. The giveaway, he says, are the small honey-colored mushrooms at the tree’s base, which indicate the maple has a fungus: Armillaria rootrot.

Armillaria fungus is a problem with many hardwoods and conifers including maples, oaks, and even elms. Black, stringy rhizomorphs can grow through the soil and into the trunk and roots of trees to attack the wood. If I take out the bark, you might find bright, white mycelial fans. However, none of this is visible yet. It turns out that Armillaria fungus has been identified. the world’s largest known organismThe 200-ton blue whale is much larger. Oregon’s Armillaria patch was discovered on 2384 acres.

I don’t know how large ours is, but I do worry about it encroaching on a Nearby tree a Large red oak is a favorite of my husband’s.

I wonder if the maple doesn’t like our new western Pennsylvania weather: the extreme heat, the drought, then the microbursts of rain and wind and the flash floods. The water flows down the hill so fast now that the maple is in the middle. a pond, a It has a stream running through it. My friend and his uncle (89 years old) have maple sugared together. I know from experience that changing climate conditions make sugaring more difficult. To allow the sap to flow in February or March, it is necessary that the nights are cold and the days be warm. Now, the timing is more unpredictable. But I am not a Crooks is a scientist so I ask Crooks.