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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Trees Dropping Leaves

Posted by John Fulton -

As anticipated many of the leaf diseases, such as anthracnose and apple scab, are causing problems. These problems include many leaves dropping from trees. Currently apples, crabapples, sycamores, maples, and many other good quality shade trees are affected. The maple group will accelerate even more in the near future, as they are just entering the worst of the phases.

What starts as the spots, eventually has more dead material in the leaf and leaf stem. At times, especially on apples and crabapples, the leaves then turn yellow. These dead areas cause the leaves to be weak, and weakly attached. With some wind, the leaves then fall to the ground.

While it may look like fall, most shade trees will then put out another set of leaves in four to six weeks. The apples and crabapples don't tend to initiate new leaves as easily, and may remain without leaves for a portion of the summer. The major problem is the loss of the food that these leaves would make for the tree.

Since treatment is not effective once you see the problem, a fertilizer program would be in order. Fertilize at the lawn rate of eight pounds of 12-12-12 or 13-13-13 per 1000 square feet (this would be the drip area in the case of trees). Then, just scatter the fertilizer on top of the ground. You may water if it doesn't rain for a day or two after the application.

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