Why Are My Trees Shedding or Losing Leaves in Spring?

Why Are My Trees Shedding or Losing Leaves in Spring?

In springtime, you expect your tree to put on a show–bursting full of fresh leaves or beautiful blooms to ring in the season.

But what if the new leaves that should be gracing your tree’s branches are scattered across your lawn?

Below, find out why tree leaves fall in spring and if you should help your tree with its spring leaf drop.


Two Common Causes of Spring Leaf Drop

Some trees tend to hang on to a portion of their leaves through the winter, making spring leaf drop perfectly normal. We usually think of fall as the season for shedding, but there are a few tree species that go against the grain.

But if you don’t have a tree that naturally loses its leaves in spring, your tree could have an infection. First, see what type of tree you have. Then, examine its fallen leaves to see if they’re curled and brown instead of smooth and green.

What are the trees that naturally lose their leaves in spring?

If your tree is dropping leaves that look green and healthy, all is probably good! You likely just have a tree that naturally sheds in spring. Below are the most common trees that do this.

Common Trees That Lose Their leaves in Spring

  • Hackberry
  • Hickory
  • Holly
  • Live oak
  • Southern magnolia

I don’t have one of those trees, so why are my tree’s leaves falling in spring?

If your fallen tree leaves appear curled, spotted, or brown, anthracnose could be the issue. Anthracnose is the catch-all name for different fungal diseases that attack all kinds of trees. Plus, it’s most common in damp, cool springtime weather.

What if my ash tree is losing leaves in spring? Is it likely anthracnose or something else?

Ash trees, particularly white and green ash, are often affected by anthracnose. You’ll see the same signs as listed above.

What treatment is there for anthracnose?

Fortunately, most tree types–including ash– can easily shake off anthracnose. While the fungus can cause some leaves to fall, a flush of fresh leaves should come in within a few months.

While you wait, the best thing to do is get rid of the branches seriously affected and reboot your tree’s health.

Here are steps to manage anthracnose on any tree.  

  • The Tree Doctor July 16, 2018 >Hi Susan, Trees will shed leaves as a water conservation measure during periods of extreme heat and/or drought. However, there could be other reasons as well. I recommend contacting a certified arborist and having them come out to inspect the tree. They will be able to give an accurate diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan accordingly. Unfortunately, Davey Tree does not service your area based on the zip code provided. Here is a resource that can help you with hiring a certified arborist or reputable tree care company: http://www.davey.com/arborist-advice/articles/hiring-a-tree-service-provider-or-an-arborist/. Hopefully, this helps. Best of luck to you, Susan.
  • Susan Thorne July 14, 2018 >I have a very large elm tree in my back yard. I have been living in this house for 26 years. Every year it would drop almost all its leave beginning in October. Just a couple of days ago, it started shedding green curled up leaves. Right now, it seems to have slowed down. Why would this be happening. Last week we had several days of over 110 degree weather.
  • The Tree Doctor July 3, 2018 >Hi Len, I recommend that you have a certified arborist come out and take a look at your oak. They will be able to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan. Unfortunately, Davey Tree does not service your area. Here is a resource that should be helpful with hiring a reputable tree company or certified arborist: http://www.davey.com/arborist-advice/articles/hiring-a-tree-service-provider-or-an-arborist/. Best of luck to you, Len!
  • Len Swallow June 30, 2018 >I have a 500yr old Oak tree shedding it's leaves ,is this due to our current heatwave
  • The Tree Doctor June 11, 2018 >Hi Peter, Both species of locust will drop leaves under moisture stress conditions. Being the tree is in a small cutout area, the 18 square feet of exposed soil may not be providing enough water to hold leaves when temperatures rise. Another possibility could be spider mites, but they usually cause yellowing of the foliage before dropping. It would be a good idea to have a certified arborist come out and take a look at what’s going on They will be able to accurately diagnose the issue and recommend a treatment plan if needed. I could send this issue to your local office if you’d like. You can also reach out to them directly at (203) 220-6975. You can also visit their local webpage and fill out a quick form to request a free consultation here: http://www.thecareoftrees.com/local-offices/hamden-tree-service/#main-form. Best of luck to you. Here if you have any more questions, Peter.
  • Peter rondina June 11, 2018 >I have a Locust (Black? Honey? not sure...). At least 40 years old. Planted in a 3 x 6 area, then completely surrounded by pavement/tarmac. This thing is ALWAYS losing (healthy, green/uncurled/spotted) leaves throughout the growing season. I have to blow down my sidewalk 3X a day ALL SUMMER just to keep the sidewalk free of leaves. Sounds like stress, no? I've tried watering (but not consistently or enough I'm supposing). What do you think might be OTHER reasons they drop? They're NOT listed on the list of trees that tend to drop leaves early.
  • The Tree Doctor May 29, 2018 >Hi Kassy, I highly recommend that you have a certified arborist come out and take a look at that tree. They will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis once they inspect the tree in person. I could send this information to your local office if you want me to. You can call your local Davey office at (703) 297-3002. You can also fill out a consultation request form on their local webpage here: http://www.davey.com/local-offices/northern-virginia-tree-service/. Hopefully, this helps! Here if you have any more questions, Kassy.
  • kassy permesar May 28, 2018 >I have 3 trees and the leaves have brown spots and they all fallen off trees. I need advice as to what can be done to save trees. Trees are over 20 years old.
  • The Tree Doctor May 24, 2018 >Hi Nancy, It sounds like you need to have a certified arborist come out and take a look at this tree. They will be able to provide you with an accurate diagnosis by inspecting this tree in person. Unfortunately, Davey Tree does not service your area based on the zip code provided. Here is a resource that should help you when trying to hire a reputable tree care company or certified arborist: http://www.davey.com/arborist-advice/articles/hiring-a-tree-service-provider-or-an-arborist/. Best of luck to you! Here if you have any more questions, Nancy.
  • nancy Good May 23, 2018 >we had a terrible storm I live in va. then my tree started turning yellow and I noticed the leaves all over the yard. I would say a large amount of leaves change daily.I think it is some kind of cherry or plum.it is a huge tree and i would hate to lose it what can I do
Add a comment:
Related Blog Posts

Request a consultation

  • How would you like to be contacted?
*Please fill out all required fields.