Firefall hybrid of freemanii maple turning color already

Asked June 25, 2016, 2:41 PM EDT

Eugene, Oregon, USDA Zone 8 (last frost March, dry summer): Young maple (acer x fremanii "Firefall") -- about 3 yrs in place (in parking strip at on east side of street, early morning shade, midday & afternoon sun). Planting site has old silver maple root stump about 2-3 feet beneath soil surface (couldn't dig it out - city arborist said "no need, it will do fine anyway")., 1"diameter trunk at 6" above ground, approx. 12' tall -- bloomed well this Spring, leafed out nicely, but leaves already turning red from about 2 feet away from trunk out to branch tips. Leaves are supple, even the red ones. Branch tips not dry. Soil not dry at drip line (though not moist). Is our tree in trouble, or is this normal for a young maple of this sort? anything we can do to help it thrve in place? Thank you!

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

This tree seems to be showing symptoms of stress. After only three years of being transplanted (during drought years), its roots are still probably playing catch up. That combined with being in a parking strip could mean that there is some compaction on those roots more often than not - decreasing water reaching roots. The stump from the old tree is not affecting the growth of the new tree. Depending on its placement, it might even bee shading the soil and decreasing evaporation of water. The trees is dropping leaves from the edges of the branches which usually indicates there isn't enough water making it to the farthest leaves from the roots. Despite all the rain we have been having. There has been quite a few weeks of very unusually hot weather - likely made worse in a black top parking lot which causes high temperatures) causing the tree to transpire more than it typically would in the spring. If the root system isn't large enough to support the crown then the leaves will shed early. Multiple years of this behavior could cause extensive problems. If the tree can retain enough leaves through the summer to store sugar for growing roots than this will slowly correct itself, but the weather plays a big role. Try slow deep waterings in evenings after weeks with abnormally dry hot days and fencing off the tree around the drip line if lots of people tend to walk on the roots.