Powdery mildew on my hickory tree - I can only guess that's it. The leaves...

Asked September 11, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT

Powdery mildew on my hickory tree - I can only guess that's it. The leaves have been falling prematurely, and with my allergies, I've been sneezing a lot. But my concern is my hickory tree which is more than 30 years old and seems pretty healthy otherwise. Do you have any suggestions? There are other trees around it (one oak, and the rest sweet gums)and hope that this season with the damp evenings is not repeated. Is my tree still healthy? More than half of the leaves are off, but those remaining seem to be curled up & ready to fall.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

It's impossible to declare authoritatively that powdery mildew was the reason for the premature leaf drop of your hickory tree. It happens occasionally that an otherwise healthy tree will drop its leaves prematurely, but it is an indicator of stress. Hickory trees are prone to contracting a foliar fungal disease known as anthracnose, and this disease typically results in premature leaf drop. There is no treatment for such a large tree, but by the same token, the disease is not fatal. At this point, all you can do is wait and see if the tree re-foliates next spring. We expect that it will and are hopeful that weather conditions are better next year.