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What leaf color can tell us about tree problems

What Leaf Color Tells Us About Tree Problems

August is a time to enjoy the final lazy days of summer before the busy days of fall are here. While you’re relaxing in the yard, this is a great time to take inventory of your trees and look for any possible health issues. One common concern we often hear from homeowners is unusual tree leaf color. Whether your trees seem to be changing color too early or if they are covered in brown spots or even if they look burned, the experts at Giroud have advice for all your tree leaf color conundrums!

How Late Should Leaves Stay Green

Most trees should be in full leaf through early October, and those leaves should be vibrant and green through the end of September. If your tree’s leaves are not, it may be under stress! Knowing what to look for is important, as many issues can easily be treated if caught early. Here are some common problems plaguing trees that can lead to leaf color change.

Bacterial Leaf Scorch on Oak Tree
Bacterial Leaf Scorch on Oak Tree

Illnesses and Diseases

While diseases can plague your tree any time of year, they are commonly noticed by homeowners at the end of summer. This is because you may see that your tree’s leaves are turning color or dropping earlier than other trees in the neighborhood. A disease or illness could be blocking your tree from getting the nutrients and water it needs to keep leaves bright and green. Anthracnose, Fireblight, and other diseases can all lead to leaf color changes. However, Bacterial Leaf Scorch is most noticeable this time of year.

Bacterial Leaf Scorch

Bacterial Leaf Scorch is a serious, often fatal disease that infects many trees. It is most common in all species of Oak Trees. However, it can also infect Elms, Sycamore, Mulberry, Sweetgum, Sugar Maple, and Red Maple. This infection is spread from tree to tree by leafhoppers, a tiny leaf eating insect. Once your tree is infected, the vessels of the tree become clogged with a bacterium that spreads throughout the tree. Giroud’s ISA Certified Arborists use an antibiotic called Oxytetracycline to treat trees infected with Bacterial Leaf Scorch.

“There is no cure for Bacterial Leaf Scorch,” says Drew Slousky, Giroud Vice President and ISA Certified Arborist.  “However, treatment with Oxytetracycline can dramatically improve a tree’s chances of survival.”  Without treatment, Bacterial Leaf Scorch will kill a tree.

Click Here to Learn the 3 Signs of Bacterial Leaf Scorch

Insect Attacks that Lead to Unusual Leaf Color

There are several kinds of insects that can attack your tree, and they all leave their own telltale signs. Spider Mites feed on the underside of a tree’s foliage, causing it turn yellow over time. Sawfly will turn a Pine Tree’s needles brown and dry. Leaf Miner insects suck nutrients from leaves, turning them yellow and brown. Unlike diseases, which can spread throughout the leaf, insects leave a more mottled discoloration at the source of where they are feeding. Click here to see Giroud’s Insect Library!

Girdling Root, Structural Problems, and Wind Burn

Structural problems, unchecked storm damage, and root issues can also cause leaf browning. If your tree’s leaves are only turning brown on one side, it may be suffering from girdling roots. A girdling root will strangle your tree’s trunk, cutting off water and nutrients to large sections.

If your Tree has been hit with high winds from a sudden storm, a split trunk or a cracked branch could be the cause of unusual leaf color change. Also, as the University of Georgia Extension explains in this article, the “violence of the wind (from hurricane-force wind gusts), though it doesn’t blow the tree down, often still breaks the roots below ground.” As the tree tries to recover and grow new leaves, especially in the hot summer months, it suffers from the stress of not being able to supply leaves with enough water from the broken roots.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Your Tree may simply be lacking the nutrients it needs to live a vibrant, healthy life. There are a lot of other life forms competing with your tree for nutrients, such as grass, other trees, and shrubs in the area. Oftentimes, a quick injection with Giroud’s Deep Root Fertilizer Treatment with biostimulants and slow release nitrogen will provide nutrients for your tree for a full year!

Click Here to Learn How Every Tree Benefits from a Deep Root Feeding!

Take Immediate Action at the First Sign of Unusual Leaf Color Change

Since there are so many reasons why your tree is showing signs of unusual leaf color change, it is vital that you call your ISA Certified Giroud Arborist as soon as you notice a problem. He will be able to properly diagnose any issues and get you started on the correct treatment protocol.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Call 215-682-7704 to schedule your FREE Tree Inspection Today!

Author: Jeanne Hafner

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