I live in northern Baltimore county on mosstly wooded land. (southern end of...

Asked October 14, 2013, 4:37 PM EDT

I live in northern Baltimore county on mosstly wooded land. (southern end of 21120)I have several mature Chestnut Oaks on my property along with many other Red Oaks, White Oaks and Pin Oaks. In about mid July, the Chestnut Oak leves began to turn brown on the non-stem end. The brown then made its way half way down the leaf toward the stem end. At that point, the leaf would fall off the tree. The trees have lost almost all their leaves at this point. All the other types of Oaks are not diplaying any signs of distress. Is this a problem I need to deal with or just something that happens from time to time? I've lived here for over 20 years and don't recall this happening in the past. Thanks for your consideration.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We had a bad drought at the end of this summer and leaves dying back from the tip is a classic sign of drought. Also, anecdotally, we've see a lot of Chestnut Oak succumbing lately, dying or losing leaves early. Early leaf drop in a sign of stress. You may want to water the chestnut oak next few years if we have a bad drought. Get a rain gauge so that you know what's going on with your property--you can't tell how much rain you're getting from the weather reports.

There is also an oak disease, bacterial leaf scorch, what is affecting some oaks in Maryland. There is no cure. We don't think that's what you're seeing with your oak, but you can take a look at the information on our website. Go to the Plant Diagnostics and put "bacterial leaf scorch" in the search box there.