Why are leaves on our Maple trees changing already?

Asked July 28, 2020, 3:14 PM EDT

We live in a subdivision that is about 2 years old. The soil is very heavy, sticky clay. The developer planted 12-15’ Maples, different varieties, mine is a red maple, on a majority of the lots. Last year the leaves on all the maples turned red or yellow early, in late July/early August. This year the same thing is happening. On some trees, all the leaves have turned red. On some, the tree has a mixture of green, red, and yellow. I fertilized my maples at the start of the season and one is totally green and one has mostly green leaves and about five deep red leaves. My hypothesis is that the early change in leaf color is related to soil nutrients. I would like to share your advice on our community Facebook site.

Livingston County Michigan

1 Response


Leaves that change color before fall are likely indicating stress. I'm going to suggest environmental stressors or possibly genetics. I wouldn't worry too much about it right now unless of course, these trees start dropping all their leaves!

Check out: Early fall color in trees and shrubs may be a sign of stress - Bob Bricault, Michigan State University Extension - October 4, 2013 at this link: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/early_fall_color_in_trees_and_shrubs_may_be_a_sign_of_stress