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The Leaves Are Falling Off My Tree Early—Does That Mean It’s Dying?

Homeowners love to watch their trees change color in the fall, but when leaves drop too early, it can make them concerned about their plants’ health.

Seeing leaves fall off early can be alarming for tree owners who may worry that premature leaf drop is a sign of a serious health problem with the tree.

While trees dropping leaves early does not indicate that the tree is dead, it does mean it’s experiencing stress, and the issue should be addressed quickly to improve the chances of regrowth.

Why Your Leaves Fall Off Early

Trees are complex organisms, and their behavior can be influenced by a myriad of factors. An early leaf drop, while concerning, can be attributed to several reasons. Let’s explore some of the primary culprits:

  • Moisture stress: After a multi-year drought, inconsistent watering can cause trees to drop their leaves early, as dry spells can cause trees to curl their leaves and shed them all at once to combat moisture loss.
  • Pest infestation: From bugs to bacteria and fungi, pest infestation can severely damage leaves, causing them to drop earlier than usual. 
  • Mineral deficiency: Some species of trees can suffer from mineral deficiencies, especially iron, which will cause the tree to lose its leaves.

Recognizing these factors is the first step in addressing the issue. With the right knowledge and timely intervention, you can ensure that your trees remain robust and continue to enhance the beauty of your surroundings.

Assessing the Severity

Some of these issues are not concerning. For example, trees with a genetic predisposition to early leaf fall have no health issues and are not a concern.

Similarly, trees experiencing environmental stress due to their location can only be dealt with to an extent. Issues with mineral deficiencies and invasive pests are likely the most concerning issues, but also those that can be most easily treated.

Proper Watering Techniques

Ensuring that your trees are properly watered can curb many of these issues. Homeowners should be watering near the drip line instead of the tree’s base. Imagine looking at the tree from a bird’s eye view. The edge of the canopy creates a circle around the tree called the drip line.

The 1 to 2 yards inside the drip line creates a donut shape where the tree’s fine roots for water and mineral uptake lie. This is where you should water; if the tree is mature, ensure it’s getting at least an inch of water weekly.

How You Can Help Your Trees

To protect the health of your trees, ensure that they are getting regular and adequate watering. Consistent watering can address many of the issues mentioned. However, if you are still concerned about the health of your trees, consult an arborist. These experts can provide an educated opinion if you need clarification on the status of your trees and recommend any treatment to improve their overall health.

Keep your trees looking beautiful and healthy for years with proper care and observation. At the first sign of any issues, consult an arborist to determine the best way to protect your tree’s health so that you can rest assured that these cornerstones of your landscaping go on to live long, healthy lives.

For expert tree care from our ISA Certified Arborists, schedule professional tree service with Bratt Tree Company by calling 612-721-4153.

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Our job is never complete until you are 100% satisfied with our services.

Upfront Pricing

We offer 100% transparent pricing to all our valued customers, so you know what to expect.

Trained Technicians

Our ISA-certified arborists are trained in the most advanced industry tools and techniques.

Commitment to Community

We’ve proudly delivered trusted tree services to the Twin Cities for more than 30 years.

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