Mature maple tree issues
We have a 40' mature maple tree in our front yard that appears to be having some issues. The tree budded as is should in the spring but we started noticing some of the buds only partially opened. these branches seem to be evenly dispersed throughout the tree. maybe 10% or less didn't get leaves. Another 20% or more have 1/2-3/4 sized leaves.. Any help is greatly appreciated. Eric Hubschneider - Traverse City, MI
The symptoms you describe suggest that your tree is showing the effects of the harsh weather we saw this spring. As buds start to open they become very sensitive to cold--the temperature fluctuations we saw this spring may have damaged the buds, killing some and causing the smaller than normal leaves to develop from others. Leaves that have developed since the weather became consistently warm should be of normal size.
Herbicides can also cause deformed or undersized leaves. Drift from an offsite location would most likely be concentrated in one area of the tree, but application to turf under the tree could cause symptoms to show throughout.
If the symptoms worsen, or if you simply want additional assurance of the tree's health, contact a certified arborist and ask to schedule a health/care review. On site, the arborist will be able to identify root zone issues (restricting nutrients or water) and additional insect or disease symptoms. You can find a certified arborist in your area at the following web site: