Sunburst Honey Locust Tree

Asked August 13, 2019, 6:35 PM EDT

Can you tell me what I can do for my Sunburst Honey Locust Tree? Not sure if the tree is confused because of the weather this summer or if the Tree is dying. The leaves have turned the fall colors of orange and yellow and slowly falling off the tree. This tree has been in my backyard for the past 13 yrs and there was never a problem. It has always been fertilized

Oakland County Michigan trees and shrubs

4 Responses

Hello,

If you would attach 3 pictures, one of the whole tree, one of a closeup of several leaves that are off color and shows the branch, and one of the trunk base where it enters the soil, I can give you some ideas.

Here are things to check-

Is there any evidence of tiny insects, bumps on branches or twigs, leaves?

Dig carefully down in 3-4 places and check soil moisture. It should be moist, and relatively easy to dig; not hard as a rock, soggy wet, or powder dry. This should be the case out to where the farthest branch reaches. Trees need about 10 gallons of water per 1 inch of diameter trunk, per week. For example, a 6 inch diameter trunk uses 60 gallons of water per week. Here in Oakland county, except for a couple down pours which mostly run off, we have been quite dry the last 14-20 days.

Have there been any changes in the area- more mulch, heavy traffic, weed killer applied to lawn, or some digging in the root zone?

I will watch for your pictures. Thank you.


Laura thank you for taking the time to look at these pictures. I appreciate your time and advice
there is no change in the area the soil in this area is mostly sand.
The only thing that has changed is the wildlife. We only had groundhogs but the family expanded to skunks, raccoon,chipmunks, red fox have been seen in the area as well as coyotes
hope the pictures help

Laura thank you for taking the time to look at these pictures. I appreciate your time and advice
there is no change in the area the soil in this area is mostly sand.
The only thing that has changed is the wildlife. We only had groundhogs but the family expanded to skunks, raccoon,chipmunks, red fox have been seen in the area as well as coyotes
hope the pictures help

Hello,

Thank you for the pictures. These do help.

Your soil around the tree, especially where the grass is growing, may be compacted. This means less oxygen and water are available to the roots. This can cause early color change and leaf drop. The soil can be aerated correctly by a certified arborist.

You can hire a certified arborist, a professional who has taken training in care, diseases, pests and passed certification tests. He/she will come on site and give a complete diagnosis, check for insect and other problems, provide a plant care plan, and aerate the soil. The cost of this is small compared with losing the tree. Find certified arborists by zip code here—-

www.treesaregood.org

If when you dig this area the sandy soil is not hard and packed, then the tree is likely not getting enough water. The grass is taking the water first. Deep water the tree when we have dry times, especially summer and through fall, into October.

Some insect pests can cause leaf damage and early yellowing.

Cottony maple scale: Your leaf picture is a little blurry on my screen. Are there small white or light tan spots on leaves or stems? Compare your leaves and branches with pictures here-

https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/ENT-62

Honeylocust spider mite: spider mites are very tiny and won’t show in your pictures. Monitor spider mite populations with a “paper test” starting after budbreak. To conduct the test, hold a white sheet of paper under affected branches and shake branch vigorously. Tiny specks moving around on the paper indicate the presence of mites. Some of these may be predator mites that feed on insects and don’t hurt the tree. Some may be feeding on the leaves and causing early yellowing-

http://cues.cfans.umn.edu/old/Web/151HoneylocustSpiderMite.pdf

You can provide fresh branch samples along with these pictures to MSU Plant Diagnostic lab. For a modest fee they will tell you if any disease or insect pest is present on the samples , and give you treatment suggestions. Instructions and fee schedule are here https://pestid.msu.edu

I hope this helps! Thank you for using our service.