Every autumn, we look forward to seeing tree leaves transform. But how do they know when it’s time to change?
Leaves can actually sense cool temperatures and less daylight, which causes them to change color and eventually drop–usually around October.
When leaves shed well before the fall season, something might be wrong with your tree’s health. One of our readers in Texas noticed, “Right before fall, my oak tree started losing its leaves way early. Now, it has lost almost all its leaves. What is wrong with my tree?”
Learn why your tree leaves may be falling early.
3 Reasons Why Trees Lose Their Leaves in Summer or Early Fall
#1: A crowded canopy
During the growing season, some trees may have grown more leaves than they can support.
Early leaf drop is a way for trees to conserve water in hot, dry weather. As long as the leaf loss isn’t severe, all your tree needs to recover is its weekly dose of water.
#2: Pests and disease
Summer pests or leaf diseases typically make their mark by turning leaves yellow and causing them to wilt or droop. Eventually, these infected leaves fall earlier than normal.
Use this checklist to see what summer pests could be hurting your tree leaves. If those symptoms don’t match, check if a leaf disease may be plaguing your tree.
#3: Something in the water
Too much or too little water can cause late summer leaf loss.
In drought-like conditions, thirsty trees will drop leaves to combat drought stress. Similarly, over-watered tree leaves can turn yellow and fall off. Too much water can suffocate tree roots, which causes stress in the canopy.
Likely, this is what was causing our reader in Texas’s oak tree to drop its leaves in summer.