problem with Maple trees - Knowledgebase Question

29585, So
Question by joannemorris
September 18, 2010
we've planted 3 maple trees this year and over the last 2 weeks with leaves instead of turning red are going brown and crumpled! Can u help?
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Answer from NGA
September 18, 2010

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What you describe sounds like maple leaf scorch. Maple leaves often show a browning or drying at the outer margin of the leaf or in the areas between the veins in mid to late summer. The areas near the veins generally remain green; however in extreme cases the entire leaf may dry and fall prematurely. This may lead to scorch caused when leaves lose water more rapidly than moisture can be replaced from the soil. This can be caused by too little water in the soil or a physical restriction of the root.

The symptoms of leaf scorch usually appear during hot, dry, windy weather. Trees growing along streets or in areas where the roots are restricted seem to suffer most. Scorch itself seldom kills a tree, but may weaken it to the point where insects or disease can further injure it. Leaf scorch is best controlled by deep watering during dry periods.

I find the most efficient way of watering new landscape trees and shrubs is to make a watering well or watering basin beneath each by mounding up a few inches of soil, about 12" away from the trunk, all around the base of the plant. Fill the basin with water, allow to drain, then fill a second time. This concentrates the water over the roots and allows it to trickle down, wetting the entire root system. Once a week should be fine - twice a week if the weather is hot and you soil drains very well. Good luck with your trees.

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