Many trees and shrubs in Indiana are losing an abnormal amount of leaves, or showing signs of foliar damage as a result of unusual environmental factors this year. Spring-like weather arrived as early as February in 2017, and by early March, many woody plants were already pushing tender foliage from their buds. In others, buds had swollen to a point of near emergence. By mid-March, nature apparently decided to do an auto-correct and we experienced below freezing temperatures which repeated several times into early April. Add extreme rainfall for many weeks and a couple of hail events, and we now have symptoms of environmental injury and foliar disease that range from spotting to blotching to browning to curling to tatters to complete leaf drop.
In many cases, several leaves may fall together in groupings from the point where terminal buds began their growth. Even for an arborist, it can be difficult to discern at first glance whether you are dealing with environmental injury or foliar disease such as anthracnose. In most cases, the overall damage to the organism will be minor, and may only be addressed through soil care recommendations to encourage healthy new growth following the initial stress. In any case, it is advisable to contact your arborist to review trees with these symptoms to make sure nothing more serious is in play, and/or make recommendations for treatments.
Summer of 2017 should prove to be an interesting season for trees and shrubs following such a mild winter and wet spring.
With Bartlett Tree Experts, you are in good Company and we are happy to assist!