Diagnostic Case Study: It's Another Impala Moonrise

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Soil compaction from peacocks in public gardens. Pines overrun by a buffalo herd in my backyard resulting in dead branches (true story). Taxus injury in a nursery from a doghouse dragged by a dog in pursuit of deer. Sometimes diagnosis is a puzzling matrix, especially from a sample sent in the mail, described in a text, or from an online image: brown leaves, scorched leaves, dead branches may be due to a myriad of causes.  But Impala damage: what gives?


An impala
Aepyceros melampus, an impala.  Google Image.


It is a reminder of the importance of responding to someone asking for a diagnosis…by asking questions. Of course, we encapsulated this in “The 20 Questions on Plant Diagnostics” (ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/plpath-gen-3): from “What Is The Plant” to “What Are Our Recommendations” but we are reminded of the necessity of questioning daily.


leaf scorch on fullmoon maple
leaf scorch on leaves in the upper canopy of a newly planted Acer shirasawanum 'Moonrise' fullmoon maple 




Case Study: Why are these Acer shirasawanum ‘Moonrise’ fullmoon maple leaves scorching? Leaf scorch can be due to so many problems. Too much soil water resulting in root decline and root rot. Too little soil water resulting in moisture stress. Frost injury. Evapotranspiration due to high reflective heat and limited root space for parking lot trees.



Physiological leaf scorch on oak
Physiological leaf scorch on oak due to moisture stress


leaf scorch on Aesculus
Leaf scorch on Aesculus due to moisture stress 


Anthracnose disease – causing scorchy blotchiness along leaf veins. Leaf mining injury from a range of different insects. Vascular wilt diseases. Insects that damage plant stems. Or simply mechanical injury to plant stems. Necrotic tissue on leaves following earlier chlorotic tissue from severe micronutrient deficiency.  And on and on.


Guignardia leaf blotch disease on horsechestnut
Guignardia  leaf blotch disease on Aesculus


Hwathorn leaf miner
Leaf miner insect damage on hawthorn


sycamore anthracnose
Blotchy lesions along veins from sycamore anthracnose


Pin oak with necrosis following chlorosis due to iron deficiency in leaves
Iron deficiency on pin oak, with necrotic scorching following chlorotic symptoms on leaves


In this case, though, it was loss of water from the maple leaves due to excessive wind whip while the potted maple was transported from its place of purchase to the ChatScape in the ChatMobile – a Chevy “Impala”. So, going back to the 20 Questions of Plant Diagnostics: “What Is The Horticultural History?”  “What Is The Environmental History?” “Who Knows The Most About The Plant?” “What Else?” And so on.


Leaf scorch on fullmoon maple
Scorch on this fullmoon maple, newly planted



In our case study, after a wide range of diagnostic postulations on our BYGL Inservice webinar this week, BYGLer Curtis Young asked the right variation of the Environmental History question: “Has this newly planted tree been transported in a vehicle recently?”


tree trnsport in car
Impala transport of tree. For the re-enactment an elderberry is used, rather than the maple in question



Yes, and quite rapidly. The common impala (a medium-sized antelope), Aepyceros melampus, clocks in at 47-56 mph, according to Wikipedia, and the ChatMobile Impala goes even faster!


Fullmoon maple
The fullmoon maple is planted, with a touch of leaf scorch on the top


Diagnosis confirmed. Prognosis: the maple shall be fine.


Moonrise fullmoon maple foliage
The foliage of this "Moonrise' fullmoon maple, except for scorching on the exposed Impala-speed portion of the tree is fine and all is well.