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Norway Maple Tree
With a wounded trunk

Q: I have a Norway maple that is about 30 ft. tall. 2 years ago it got a wound on it's trunk down near the ground as well as scratch marks in the bark from our cat climbing it.

Now I notice earwigs and other insects like ants under the bark and the leaves seem to be wilting.

A: You probably don't have much to worry about, depending on the size of the wound in relation to the trunk size. The width of a wound has more impact on a tree than does its height.

The wilting may be due to the wound, again depending on its width in relation to the trunk's width. I've seen trees with wounds that extended half way (or more) around their circumference, and the they were doing fine. The wilting may be due to something else, but without more information it's difficult to speculate as to what.

It is normal to find critters hanging out beneath loose bits of bark, such as around a wound. This is their normal habitat -- you'd find them under debris on the ground as well. They really aren't doing anything detrimental, they're just making their home there.

You can carefully remove the loosest bits of bark by rubbing them off with your hand This'll also take away some of these hang-outs from the insects.

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Tom Mugridge

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