Followup Question Concerning Tree with Exposed Roots

Asked May 8, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT

I previously inquired as to whether or not the roots of an older tree (9+ yrs old) coming to the surface was problematic. That same tree is now showing a number of dead leaves forming and falling from the tree. Is this indicative of stress, disease, or a possible need for fertilizer?

Boone County Kentucky

1 Response

We really need to know what kind of tree it is, and the precise symptoms on the leaves and branches, since there are hundreds of possible causes until we know those answers.

If at all possible, bring in a leaf and branch sample, with leaves showing various stages of discoloration, from green to yellow to spotted or blotched to brown. Otherwise, please send more details about the symptoms. Is your tree a maple? If so, there is a maple petiole borer that chews off leaves, but those leaves often fall still green. There are many different leaf spot diseases on trees now due to the rains this spring. These leaves may yellow and drop. Apples, pears, serviceberries, cotoneasters, hawthorns, crabapples, and other members of the rose family get fireblight bacterial disease, which turns the leaves black, but they don't normally drop from the tree. Maples, sycamores, oaks and dogwoods get spots or large black or brown blotches on the leaves due to anthracnose fungus, and those leaves drop from the trees.

So we need to know what type of tree it is, and a more detailed description of the infected leaves. Then we can make a more precise diagnosis and recommendations to save the tree.

We can be quite sure, however, that the symptoms are not due to the exposed roots, unless they were dug up or there was major soil compaction or change in soil grade (cuts or fills) in that area in the last ten years.

The Boone Co. Extension Office is located at 6028 Camp Ernst Rd., Burlington, KY. Office hours are 8 am to 5:30 pm M-F.

Thanks for contacting us.