I have noticed that quite a few trees appear to be dropping their leaves early this year. We have a maple tree in our yard that has dropped almost half its leaves while another maple next to it looks fine. If you have trees that are shedding their leaves early, you may be wondering what is causing the problem and will it harm the tree?
Some trees are just not suited to our hot summers. Trees like ornamental cherries will, typically, drop their leaves during the summer due to heat. If you go to the mountains, these same trees will still have their leaves because of the cooler climate.
Another reason trees drop their leaves early is drought stress. We have had a couple of dry periods this summer which can put considerable stress on area trees. Mulching and deep watering will prevent the tree from being stressed in dry years.
Will early leaf drop damage the tree? If the premature defoliation is a rare occurrence, the tree should survive with no problems. However, early leaf drop that occurs year after year may ultimately weaken the tree and reduce tree survival.
Trees drop their leaves early for a variety of reasons. Leaves that have been infested with insects or diseases will, often, drop early. The maple in my yard has disease tar spot, which is causing the leaves to drop now. Pests like scales, mites and white flies can also cause early defoliation. Call our office for a FREE landscape inspection.