Maple tree bark is turning black

Written by lisa chinn Google
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Maple tree bark is turning black
Blackening maple tree bark usually indicates a disease. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Many gardeners grow maple trees for their strikingly colourful autumn foliage, for shade and for maple syrup depending on the maple variety. Maples usually have tan or greyish bark, but their bark may occasionally turn black for a couple reasons.

Black Maple Trees

Most maples do not have black bark. However, the black maple tree is a type of maple tree with darker bark than other maples. A black maple tree's bark sometimes becomes blackish as the bark ages, and this darkening does not indicate a disease or problem.


A few types of fungi can cause blackening bark on maple trees. Steganosporium canker causes black pustules on maple bark, which eventually grow into a black film over the bark if left untreated. Black fungus can also start to rot maple bark damaged by a fire.


Tree experts at Cornell University and North Dakota State University warn that canker fungi usually infect damaged parts of maple trees. Gardeners should prune maples during their dormant season with sterile tools to minimise the risk of infection. Fungi that decay wood are much easier to prevent than treat. Cankers and black rot are usually untreatable, but gardeners can trim off blackening branches to keep the infection from spreading.

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