Jerry & Mary Asked
We have three maple trees in the back of the house and have a problem with one that’s about 10 years old. Its leaves are as dense as the others, but for the last three years the leaves curl, turn brown, and fall off. The tree is growing with new shoots,but get a certain size and start browning. Any thoughts?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Jerry & Mary: Depending on the species of maple, they can be susceptible to a number of different insect and disease problems. Without being able to see it I can only speculate, but here are some thoughts. If the foliage is turning brown, curling up, and falling off only on certain branches, it could be Verticillium wilt, a fungal problem. It usually does not affect the entire tree. It can also be related to drought stress: even though the other two maples are not showing the same effects, it could be a matter of where the trees are growing or if they are closer to downspouts or a slope in the landscape. It seems to be more of a cultural issue than a disease problem, especially if the maple is growing at the same rate as the other two. We cannot be certain until the foliage returns and it can be properly diagnosed. The Cooperative Extension Service is a valuable resource for this purpose. The Shelby County office is located at 1117 Frankfort Road in Shelbyville. Their phone number is (502) 633-4593.