En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Young Maple Dropping Leaves in Late Summer

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 Trees Questions

Low maintenance replacement garden in Ashburn , VA
April 30, 2009 - We live in Ashburn, VA (Northern VA). Our house is 10 years old and the contractor grade plants have died. We are planning on digging everything up and re-doing the landscaping in our front yard - r...
view the full question and answer

Propogating snowbells from Elmendorf TX
June 06, 2012 - Is it possible to propagate Styrax platanifolius and Halesia diptera from cuttings? If yes, what is the process?
view the full question and answer

Problem with oak trees in Mansfield, Texas
September 26, 2010 - We have lost 2 large oaks last year & now another is nearly gone. It has several large patches of missing bark - beneath a thin layer of skin-like membrane that seemed to separate it from the bark i...
view the full question and answer

Feeding live oak and redbud trees from Fredericksburg TX
October 23, 2012 - Can you please tell me what to feed my live oak and texas redbud trees that survived the drought? We have granite soil.
view the full question and answer

Selection of native trees to replace trees lost in hurricane
September 28, 2008 - Hello, I have a tree replacement list I must choose from as I live in a HOA deeded area. I lost 2 pines to the hurricane. And according to them I need to replace with 2 large trees. The pines were 15 ...
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