Unknown tree in distress


I recently moved into a new house and inherited a tree in my backyard. I am not sure what type of tree it is, and it seems to have had leaves last summer from what I recall before I purchased the house. However, it has not produced any leaves or flowers so far this year, which has me concerned. It has been putting out a lot of suckers at the base of the trunk which I have been regularly pruning off, but I am not seeing any new growth on the branches. I live in Toronto (North York area). The tree is about 10 feet tall, 3 feet spread. I’d also like to mention that it had been tied to a wooden support via a copper wire by the previous owners and that seems to have cut into the bark just above the lumpy part of the main trunk (see photo)- I have recently removed this wire as it appeared to be damaging the tree. I am hoping you could help me in identifying the tree, and recommending what I could do to revive it and perhaps heal the cut made in the bark to prevent bugs/diseases in this area. Thanks for your assistance!


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

From the information you have provided, it would appear that the top portion of the tree (above the lumpy part) was grafted onto a separate tree root stock. If the top part of the tree is not in leaf by now, it has probably succumbed to disease or damage and is dead. The bottom or root stock is not dead that is why it is sending out suckers but it is not the tree that you would probably desire.  You should look for an arborist to remove it and think about a replacement tree.

Toronto Master Gardeners does not recommend specific companies, but the Landscape Ontario link below, can direct you to an arborist in your area.


Enjoy finding a new tree.