Why Your Tree Might Be Losing Leaves Early

Date September 10, 2020


Author TreeNewal Staff

Many trees’ leaves change colours during the fall, and then they shed their leaves for the winter. This is the natural process for all deciduous trees, many of which grow right here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Sometimes, though, you may notice that you have a tree losing leaves before fall and everything that comes along with it – like jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin spice everything – have arrived.

Do you have a tree losing leaves at a time that seems too early in the season for leaf loss? If you have a tree losing leaves in the summer, it could be the sign of a problem with tree health.

Don’t worry, though. Just because you have a tree losing leaves too early in the season doesn’t mean your tree can’t be saved, brought back to health, and grow and thrive once again. Keep reading to learn more about why you might have a tree losing leaves too early in the year, and what you can do about it depending on the cause of early tree leaf loss.

Tree Losing Leaves Because Its Canopy is Too Full

If your tree is losing leaves in the summer, take a look straight up. Is your tree’s canopy very full? If so, you may have a tree losing leaves because of its overly-abundant, full canopy.

Trees that lose leaves because of a full canopy lose leaves for a few reasons. First, when you have an overgrowth of tree leaves, your tree grows too many leaves to support. In order to support as many leaves as possible, your tree will begin shedding some of the excess leaves early in the season, which is why you notice your tree losing leaves in the summer.

Second, your tree may not be getting enough water to support its very full canopy. If you have a tree losing leaves in the summer and your tree has a full tree canopy, you’ll need to perform proper tree watering for trees in this condition. This is because the leaf shed is likely due to the fact that the overly-developed tree canopy doesn’t have enough water to support all the leaves growing on it.

Proper tree watering for trees losing leaves due to a full canopy includes watering trees more frequently than you would a typically developing tree. The amount of proper tree watering you’ll need to perform is going to vary on the unique state of your tree. In general, you should feel the soil of your tree. If it’s dry, it needs to be watered, which can easily be done with a garden hose. If the soil is moist, it currently has enough water and doesn’t need any more at this time. If the soil is soggy, your tree has been overwatered. Don’t water it again until the soil is dry.

If you are losing leaves in the summer because of a full canopy, early next spring you’ll need professional tree pruning to properly prune the tree and prevent canopy overgrowth from occurring once again during the upcoming summer. Don’t prune your tree canopy in the summer due to your tree losing leaves because of a full canopy. Off-season tree pruning can cause tree pests and negatively impact tree health, and should only be performed under very unique circumstances.

Tree Losing Leaves That Have Spots on Them

If you have a tree that is losing leaves – and the lost leaves have spots on them – that is a sign that you have a problem with tree health. The two most likely culprits are that you either have tree pests or a tree disease, such as a fungal infection.

To determine the cause of your poor tree health, you’ll need to inspect the affected tree. Holes in the tree trunk or branches are usually a sign that you have tree pests. Certain tree pests may also be visible on your tree or in its canopy.

Other times, you have spotted leaves falling off your trees that have mold or blotches on them. This is typically a sign of tree disease, such as a fungal infection.

If you have leaves that are falling off that have spots on them, you need a tree health assessment performed by an ISA-Certified Arborist like the ones on staff at TreeNewal to determine the root cause of your tree health issue and formulate a treatment plan. Our ISA-Certified Arborists are specifically trained to assess tree health and diagnose pest infections and tree diseases.

If you have tree pests, it is possible your treatment plan will include professional pesticides to get rid of the tree insects, which may need to be applied once or multiple times. However, we always seek to fix pest issues with environmentally friendly techniques first. For tree disease, treatments may include necessary out-of-season tree pruning to remove infected limbs and stop the infestation from spreading (tree disease is one of the few times that off-season tree pruning is warranted) and implementing a tree nutrition program to properly nourish the unhealthy tree.

Losing Tree Leaves Because of Underwatering

Sometimes you don’t have a full canopy, tree pests, or tree infestation, and you’re still losing tree leaves in the summer. If this is happening, it could be that you’re not performing proper watering.

Proper tree watering techniques are as follows:

  • Newly-Planted Trees

For the first two weeks after a new tree is planted, it should be watered daily until the soil is moist, but not soggy. Between three to twelve weeks after the tree is planted, it should be watered every two to three days.

  • Mature Trees

Mature trees typically only need to be watered once or twice a month. There are exceptions to this rule, though. For proper tree watering of mature trees, you should provide supplemental tree watering during times of little rain, or times of excessive heat.

We Can Help You Inspect Tree Health

If your formerly healthy tree is losing leaves in the summer, our ISA-certified arborists are here to help. We can come to your property and assess tree health to determine if you have a tree losing leaves because of a full canopy, tree pests, tree infection, or improper watering. Depending on the cause of your leaf loss, we can create a tree treatment plan for you to get your tree to a healthy state once again.

Reaching our ISA-certified arborists is easy. Simply call us today at tel:(817) 592-6846.

To learn more about Why Your Tree Might Be Losing Leaves Early, call our Argyle and Southlake based teams

at tel:(817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

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Learn more about TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists!

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