Maple tree leaves turning and dropping

Asked July 18, 2017, 1:01 PM EDT

Our maple tree, planted 24 years ago when our house was built, has been losing leaves for several weeks. Some are green and some are turning red, some dying on the branch. I've attached photos illustrating these conditions. This same condition occurred last year for the first time.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We viewed your photos. The tree looks like a type of maple but we cannot say for sure which species. We noticed several weeds possibly bindweed and mulberry growing around the base of the trunk. Remove them and do not let them grow up the trunk.
On the right of the trunk - looks like s a groundcover called wintercreeper. Some species are invasive. If you want to keep it, clip it at the base and do not let it grow up the trunk. Once you clip it at the base you do not have to pull it from the trunk as this may cause bark damage.

Some reasons for branch dieback or decline include girdling roots, drought, cankers, etc. It can be common for maples to have girdling roots, you can look for this. See our publication

At this point we recommend that you contact several certified arborist for a site visit regarding the health of the tree and the best way to proceed. They can thin and prune dead branches to let in more sunlight and air circulation. Keep the tree well watered during dry periods.