leaves on top of maple trees are turning brown or spotting

Asked May 26, 2020, 2:22 PM EDT

All of my maple trees suddenly started getting dry, brown leaves on the crowns. One of the less ornamental varieties has brown, dry spots on the leaves. I've noticed that most of the other maple trees in my neighborhood are similarly affected. Can you tell me what the problem is and how I can address it? Is this cosmetic or potentially fatal to the trees?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

This looks like symptoms of cold damage and we are receiving photos of Japanese maples like this from all over the state. Many plants were lured out of dormancy and then were hit with frosts and cold temperatures recently. On some trees we are also noticing damage on the top growth versus the bottom growth. This may be due to warmth from the ground area and bottom growth was not affected.
These damaged portions will eventually drop out. If the tree is otherwise healthy, it will push out new growth this spring/summer. No treatment is necessary.

Keep your tree well watered during dry periods and make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and away from the trunk. You can send us more photos this season, if you notice additional symptoms.