Red maple didn't drop all leaves

Asked January 28, 2018, 9:30 AM EST

I have a red maple on south side of house with plenty of Sun and moisture. The tree has always (20 plus years) dropped leaves in the fall when still very rich and red in Color. This year the leaves held firm and dried up still on tree now close to end of January. I did prune back in early fall and now feel as if I may have damaged the health of the tree. Is there anything I can do in early spring or now to give the tree a better shot or survival or is this a normal cycle with this variety?

Bucks County Pennsylvania trees and shrubs master gardener program red maple

3 Responses

It isn't unusual for a maple to hold onto its leaves. It often has to do with environmental factors. A warm autumn, for example, can be a factor. The old leaves will drop when the new leaf buds start to grow in the spring, Here is a link to an article about why trees hold their leaves.

Thank you for the response. I am looking forward to spring and a fuller canopy . Regards.

The main thing you can do to protect your tree is make sure it gets plenty of water all season long. Maples suffer a great deal when they don't have enough water. One sure sign of stress is smaller leaves in the canopy. Between the driving downpours which mostly run off, and the baking droughts of the last several years, maples are starting to decline. One way to water a large tree is to encircle it with soaker hose Here is a link to an article about using soaker hose to water trees.
The other thing you can do is make sure no lawn chemicals get on the root zone of the tree. Lawn chemicals are one of the major reasons for loss of landscape trees. Trees need a layer of active microorganisms in the top layer of the soil, and these tiny life forms are destroyed by lawn fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.