Why is your tree not growing leaves in the spring?

Why Your Tree is Not Growing Leaves in Spring (Cherry, Elm & Ash)

May 18, 2017

When trees trade in their bare-boned branches for leafy green stems, it’s clear spring has arrived!

But what happens if your trees are still bare this late in spring? How worried should you be?

Trees may lack leaves in the middle of spring for a couple of different reasons. Below, learn more about why your tree is not leafing out.

Why Your Tree, Including Cherry, Elm or Ash, Is Not Leafing Out

From disease to winter weather blues, trees sometimes have setbacks before they wake up in spring.

Why Your Cherry Tree Is Not Leafing Out

Fruit trees are particularly troubled by unseasonably warm days followed by a sudden frost.

Your cherry tree may have jumpstarted growth in late winter, expecting temperatures to stay warm. Then, it lost its progress when the weather turned cool again. Your cherry tree likely won’t bloom again. It still should grow leaves, but those may be stunted or suffer from frost damage.

Is Your Elm Tree Not Leafing Out?

Elms are protective by nature, so they may wait to sprout leaves until they’re sure the cold weather is gone! Because of this, it’s not uncommon for some elm trees to wait until early summer to grow leaves.

If your elm looks healthy (which you’ll find out how to determine below), just give it a little time!

Look for this on an ash tree not leafing out.

Spring and tree disease go hand in hand. And anthracnose is a disease that can hinder ash tree leaf growth.

Ash trees affected by anthracnose either sprout few leaves in spring or lose most of their canopy early on and grow it back oh-so-very-slowly. If there are any leaves left, they’ll be wilted, curled and brown.

What to Do When Your Tree Is Not Growing Leaves in Spring

You’re in luck! Often, a tree problem like this has an easy solution.

Here are a few ways you can help your late bloomer:

  • Inspect the tree’s buds. If your tree’s buds are plump on the outside and green on the inside, your tree is healthy and should grow leaves soon!
  • Mulch trees to help them recoup from winter. The proper amount of mulch keeps trees moisturized as they gain enough strength to grow more leaves.
  • Water. Water. Water. Proper watering helps trees that may be under stress from pests or disease.

Tree not leafing out? Have an arborist diagnose the problem.

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