What’s Wrong with My Maple Tree and Its Leaves?

What’s Wrong with My Maple Tree and Its Leaves?

Maple trees are one of the top ten most popular trees in the USA. That’s easy to believe when you see their mesmerizing fall color and perfect-as-can-be leaves.

But what happens when those leaves begin to look less than perfect?

Tom, a Davey Tree blog reader, noticed his maple was struggling and reached out to us for help. Tom asked, “My wife and I have a 30-year-old maple tree in our backyard that has been showing signs of stress. The leaves are small, and some of the maple tree branches are dying. Do you have any recommendations, or is it too late?”

Let’s dive into what may be causing these signs of maple tree stress and dieback.

Maple Tree Branches Dying. Small Leaves. Early Fall Color. Is My Maple Tree Dying?

If you spot the above symptoms on your tree, maple decline could be plaguing your tree. Also, look for leaves that are too light in color or look burnt. If there are fewer leaves than normal, that’s another telltale sign.

What exactly is maple decline?

Unlike many of the problems your tree faces, maple decline is not a tree disease or a tree pest.

Instead, maple decline is a result of trees living in an urban environment instead of a forest. Let’s break that down.

In forests, trees have loads of rich, natural resources that they need to survive and thrive. But when growing in your yard, trees often lack necessities, like food and water, so they struggle. Check out the top five problems trees encounter in our yard.

Unless you provide your tree with the essentials, trees enter a cycle of decline. When that happens, they continue to suffer, and without intervention, trees likely won’t recover.

How can I help my maple tree recover from stress?

Develop a plant health care plan for your tree. This ensures your tree has enough water, nutrients and sunlight to survive. Plus, a tree expert regularly looks for signs of problems like these earlier. Often, these are subtle changes that only a trained expert can spot. When you invest in proactive care, trees encounter fewer problems and often decline altogether.

For example, when Tom shared pictures of his unhealthy maple, we saw girdling roots. Those make it hard for the tree to intake water and nutrients properly. As you would guess, that was a big part of why his maple was in decline.

Once you know what’s plaguing your tree, you know what to do next. 

Click to see if you can save your maple tree with maple dieback treatment.

Add a comment:
Featured or Related Blog Posts
  • Root in Moisture

    Planting trees is just half the battle.

    The diseases, pests and power equipment that emerge outdoors in spring, accompanying frequent sunlight, longer days and warmer temperatures, can wreak havoc on your trees if you don't put forth the effort to protect them.

    To keep your trees healthy throughout the growing season and beyond, you must practice routine maintenance and proper tree care. One way to help trees retain moisture, reduce weeds and keep power equipment at a safe distance is through mulch. In the coming weeks, you'll see piles of fresh mulch lined along neighborhood driveways. Soon, the coarse, fragrant matter will settle among flower and tree beds, enhancing the quality of landscapes' appearances.

    Read More
  • Just a Trim, Please

    Put a pair of scissors in your hands, and whether you're cutting coupons or bangs, there's always the potential to oversnip. It's almost too easy to make a mistake as you clip, clip, clip away - removing a little more on this side and a bit more on that side.

    Just like with a bad haircut, there is nothing more noticeable than a poorly pruned plant - pieces sticking out in all directions, a butchered shrub, a tree that looks like the top has been sliced off. The good news is that just as the perfect haircut can frame the face and improve a person's appearance, the same can be said for a professional tree pruning job.

    Pruning is not only a science, but an art form. The science aspect of pruning involves understanding tree biology, recognizing plant flaws and skillfully eliminating or minimizing defects. The artistic aspect of pruning consists of removing dead wood while aesthetically shaping the tree.

    Read More
  • Heat Wave

    Heat wave.

    The term usually makes many people think of the tropics or the desert.

    But extreme heat has hit many areas hard so far this summer. Record highs have been broken in some cities, while others have seen their hottest temperatures since the 1980s.

    Read More
  • Forecast: Hot & Humid

    The air-conditioning is set on high. The fan is blowing in my face. And it feels so good, particularly since my dog and I were just panting within seconds of stepping out to a heavy wall of heat and humidity. His face tilts up to mine, happy for the nice, cool breeze. We face the facts together as I sip from a tall, cool glass of water and he laps up the same out of his bowl: Despite our yearning to enjoy the outdoors, it's hot. And it's hot in nearly every region of the country.

    There's simply no denying it: This summer's a scorcher. While it's difficult to find the motivation to open the door to the heat lingering in the air outside - let alone step out onto a dry, parched lawn - I brave the elements because I notice my trees need some TLC, too.

    It's difficult to imagine another day of 90-plus degree temperatures. So I can hardly imagine how my trees must feel as their roots cling to nothing but the dry soil, day after day.

    Read More
  • Try a Little Tenderness

    When someone moves into a new home, they tend to have a smoother, more successful transition when they plan ahead and carefully move through each step. This includes thoughtfully packing boxes beforehand in an organized fashion, clearly labeling the boxes so movers put them in their proper rooms and then unpacking them so everything that is removed is unwrapped and put into its place to avoid rework.

    If this works for your most delicate China place settings and Lenox crystal, you can see why it would make all the difference when moving something as large, yet just as delicate, as a tree.

    When it's a big, valuable tree that provides numerous benefits to your landscape and your family, a "move" is much more than just picking it up and placing it in its new location. To preserve the numerous benefits trees provide to a community and its residents, which The National Tree Benefits Calculator can help determine, one must plan carefully - before, during and after the big move - to ensure survival.

    Read More

Request a consultation

What do you need services for?
Sorry, we can’t seem to find the zip code you specified. Our residential tree care offices may not service your area. If you believe this is an error, please try again. Need help? Email us at info@davey.com.
  • Email newsletter
  • Woodchips
*Please fill out all required fields.