En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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

Thursday - September 05, 2013

From: Charlotte, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Young Maple Dropping Leaves in Late Summer
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a 6-year-old maple tree. I'm not sure what type it is as the builder planted it. It is as tall as our two-story house and very healthy. It's the biggest tree in our neighborhood because we fertilize it. The leaves have begun to turn brown and drop. I noticed that the inside leaves had brown spots on them and are turning completely brown and are dropping. It's not fall yet! At this rate, there won't be any leaves left for the change of color! The tree is still very leafy on the outside and green but the inside is becoming bare. The branches look fine. We have had a very wet summer this year. Could this have anything to do with it? None of the plants underneath the shade of the tree (Knock out roses, day lilies, and philodendron) have done well this year.

ANSWER:

Congratulations on taking good care of your maple tree. It certainly is healthy to be so young and already have reached the top of the house.  It is great that you are also watching your tree for early signs of any problems.

If you want to try to identify your maple tree (if it is a native one), you can look at our website for the Acer genus (maples) to match leaf shapes, tree size and form. We have 27 species and varieties of maples listed.

The wet summer you have been having in North Carolina could be the factor that has caused a fungus disease to attack maple trees (more than other years). This disease is anthracnose and causes v-shaped, brown or tan patches (necrotic areas) to form on the leaves in between the veins and ultimately the leaves to fall prematurely.  There are some good images of leaves infected with anthracnose at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station factsheet on Common Diseases of Maple for you to compare with your tree. Other leaf diseases are included as well.

For many fungus diseases that attack trees it is important to rake up all the fallen leaves so that the fungus spores do not overwinter on the soil surface and reinfect the tree the following year. Usually this is enough to keep the disease under control.

If your early falling leaves continue to progress and the health of the tree is a concern, it is suggested that an arborist be consulted.

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Red oaks that didn't drop leaves in Austin
April 04, 2012 - I have a number of Red Oaks on land that did not drop leaves this past fall. Now these same trees seem to be dead? It seems there's some type of mold/fungus on the trees. Some trees have small patche...
view the full question and answer

Red spots on white flower of Anemopsis californica
July 05, 2009 - Do you know what the red spots are on the white flower of the California native, Anemopsis californica? Is it a fungus, insect, or just physiological?
view the full question and answer

Care of Styphnolobium affine, Eves necklace
October 05, 2007 - I have an 18 yr old Eve's Necklace tree that is dying from the "bottom up". It has only a few leaves at the very top of the tree. I have, connected to the gutter, a rain barrel from which the exc...
view the full question and answer

Recently planted Monterey Oaks doing poorly in Jourdanton, TX.
September 02, 2013 - We planted 2 nice size Monterrey oak trees in April .they were doing good with new growth on them. But now I have been noticing the leaves are turning brown around the edges. We water about once a wee...
view the full question and answer

Juniper as host of cedar-apple rust
July 17, 2007 - Thanks for the helpful advice on the Eastern Red Cedar. I was wondering if you could ease my mind about a potential problem. I have read up on some of the native plants in my area in a very good book ...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center