Leaf Problems On Landscaping Trees

When a tree is dropping leaves out of season, you have cause to be concerned. There are many different things that can cause the leaves to drop, and some of them can be fatal if they aren't attended to promptly. The following guide can help you determine the cause of the dropped leaves.

Physical damage

Often, an otherwise healthy tree will lose a few leaves, and sometimes an entire branch, due to physical damage. If the leaf drop is isolated to one area of the tree, carefully examine the affected branch to its base. You may find that it is breaking, that the bark is damaged, or that something was tied around it to cause constriction. You will need to cut the branch off where it joins the trunk since these types of damage can't typically be fixed. By removing it, the tree can begin to heal over the wound.

Leaf fungus

Examine some of the leaves that are dying. Are they covered in a film, particularly a white, powdery residue? Or, perhaps they have dark or white patches on them. These symptoms typically indicate a fungal issue, most likely plant mildew. Keeping the foliage dry when watering and thinning out the canopy to allow more air circulation typically solves the problem. Once the leaves drop in the fall, rake them up and destroy them so the mildew spores won't remain in the soil around the tree.

Insect pests

Insects can cause leaf drop on just a few leaves or they can affect the entire tree. Leaf-feeding insects, like aphids, tend to congregate on the underside of the leaves. They also leave behind a sticky residue. Other types of insects may nibble on the edges. Some burrow into leaves, leaving behind squiggly discolorations. In severe cases, insects may bore into trunks or roots where they divert nutrients from the foliage. Having the tree surveyed for insects so an appropriate pesticide can be applied may be necessary.

Agricultural issues

Water is the biggest agricultural issue that leads to leaf loss. Too much water causes root rot, with the leaves being the first obvious sign of damage. Leaves typically turn yellow with brown margins, and they also curl inward. They may still feel pliable and moist, even after dropping. If the roots have begun to rot, it may be too late to save the tree. Leaves on underwatered trees dry out and turn brown or prematurely turn their fall colors before dropping.

If you have a leaf issue, contact an arborist for a full diagnosis and treatment plan.

For more information, contact a company like Phoenix Tree Service.

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