Mountain Ash Bark Is Coming Off And Leaves Are Dying

Question From: D. Slick - Merrill, Michigan, United States
Q: We have a Mountain Ash in our front yard. This past winter the bark near the base of the tree started coming off. It was just on the east side of the tree. Now it is coming off all around but in smaller amounts. The leaves were beautiful earlier in the spring but now they are dying as though it was fall. Do you have any idea what could have caused this and if the tree will survive? It seemed fine last fall but started this during the winter months. It wasn't a severe winter. Thanks

A: Donna, The bark peels from Mountain Ash trees for several reasons. Sun scald causes splitting, fire blight causes peeling as does canker. Th fact that your tree is loosing dropping leaves is not a good sign. I suggest you get an onsite inspection from a certified arborist in your area. Should cost under $100. Do keep the tree well watered. Do not fertilize it with plant spikes or any other chemicals. Copper based fungicides such as Bordeaux mix are sometimes suggested for use on fireblight. Arborists have access to newer products that work better. They are also able to do injections that are more effective. Good Luck and Happy Yardening, Nancy