Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - October 27, 2009

From: Buda, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Red maple with burnt leaves in Buda TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a red maple last fall. Planted in full sun here in Buda Texas. The leaves are yellowing and then they dry out completely almost looks burnt. Problem starts in middle of leaf and then works its way out. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

While we are going to check to see if we can find any diseases of Acer rubrum (red maple) with the symptoms you describe, we're pretty sure we can tell you what has happened. The Red Maple is native in Texas only to the far eastern sections. Here are its Growing Conditions from our Native Plant Database:

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist, slightly acidic soils.

That doesn't sound much like Buda, Texas, especially for the last two years, does it? The soils in this area are generally pretty alkaline, and certainly haven't been moist recently. Now that the weather has cooled and we have been getting some rain, the tree can probably go into dormancy for the winter without permanent damage. However, when it leafs back out next Spring, if we are having the same conditions, you need to be prepared to try to keep it alive with deep watering.

Getting back to the leaf yellowing, it sounds like chlorosis. We learned in our research that maples are often subject to iron or manganese chlorosis, especially when growing in an alkaline soil. This article from Cornell University Noninfectious Diseases of Maples discusses that possibility.

In the final analysis, it would seem that your tree is just planted too far west. It grows most prolifically in Eastern North America into Canada, and the small area in East Texas where it grows is as far west as it is considered viable.  It always pays to check on a plant, especially one as valuable as a tree, to make sure it will be welcome in the soil and climate where you want to plant it. 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Quercus polymorpha botanical name for Mexican white oak
June 19, 2007 - What is the scientfic name for the Monterrey Oak?
view the full question and answer

How to deal with suckers on Flame-leaf Sumac
May 20, 2013 - Hi! It seems you can have too much of a good thing! Our flameleaf sumac is taking over our yard. There are multiple shoots appearing in our flower beds and in the lawn. How do I get rid of the unwante...
view the full question and answer

Privacy shrubs and trees that are safe for horses in California
June 16, 2012 - What type of privacy shrubs/trees can I plant that are safe around horses? I live in the central valley in CA. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Will Texas Mountain Laurel roots damage pipes in Tucson AZ?
May 20, 2010 - We have a Texas Laurel tree in our back yard,and it is doing fine, and we are are planning to put another one in the front yard close to the house will the root system attack our pipes ? no septic sys...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting crabapples in NJ
October 25, 2010 - I purchased a mature Red Baron crabapple in march of this year from a reputable nursery here in southern NJ. The tree was in the ground when I first viewed it, and since it was march and hadn't bloom...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.