Every autumn, we look forward to seeing tree leaves transform. But what does it mean when trees lose leaves much sooner?
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.
There are three general reasons why trees lose their leaves early.
Don’t fret if you’re not quite sure which challenge your tree’s dealing with. Here's how to diagnose leaf drop on your maple, oak or ash tree.
Find out what type of oak tree you have. Live oaks naturally shed leaves in summer, so as long as the leaves are green and healthy, there's no need to worry!
But if the fallen leaves are discolored or look unhealthy, that could mean a pest or disease. Oak wilt is a common one. First, leaves turn yellow, then brown right before they fall off starting at the top of the tree. These symptoms call for an arborist.
If there are no disease symptoms on your oak, investigate other possible causes, like the tree's moisture level.
Your maple might be suffering from a petiole borers infestation or tar leaf spot disease.
Did you know the small piece that connects a tree leaf to its stem is called a petiole? Tiny petiole borers feed on that, which makes leaves break from the stem and fall off. Luckily, the amount of leaf loss is small, and the pests don't pose a real threat to maple trees.
Tar leaf spot is more noticeable. It turns maple leaves yellow, then black before they fall off. You can help manage the disease by raking and disposing of fallen leaves.
Anthracnose, a tree fungus, can cause ash trees to lose their leaves early. Moist, humid weather allows the fungus to thrive and turns leaves a blotchy brown.
Anthracnose tends to not be a huge issue for ash trees. Raking and destroying diseased leaves can help minimize the harm.
And remember, a tree without infestation symptoms may just need water.