Question of the Week – Number 3: September 27, 2018

“What is causing my tree to lose its leaves so early? What should I spray to save it?”

In numbers of times the question’s been asked, this doesn’t measure up to those about armyworms. Not even close. But nonetheless, people are certainly concerned about their shade trees.

Our summer was long and hot. It took a toll on many of our finest shade trees. And then fall has begun with many of us receiving inordinate amounts of rain. It’s been a bit of a shock for our shade trees.

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This cedar elm has probably had powdery mildew earlier this year. In addition to causing the leaves to turn faintly silvery white on their backsides, it also caused them to turn yellow on their top surfaces. And fall a couple of months prematurely. But the branches are not dying!

And the Chinese pistachios I’ve been watching this fall have done pretty much the same thing. They haven’t had powdery mildew, but a certain percentage has defoliated early. Some of the female trees have even dropped their clusters of berries before they were fully mature.

I haven’t seen any evidence of insect, disease or mechanical damage to the trees. Arborists I’ve asked have said they just feel that the pistachio trees have decided to take an early siesta from the crazy Texas climate. Odds are that they’ll come back at full speed next spring. If you’re still concerned, of course, you can always contact a certified arborist to take a look at your trees.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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