Causes of Sudden Leaf Scorch

Leaf scorch on full moon maple

Leaf scorch on full moon maple

Scorched sugar maple leaves

Scorched sugar maple leaves

Leaf scorch or foliage burn is caused primarily by environmental stress factors such as drying winds, drought, mechanical root injury, and winter injury . Natural pathogens, such as viruses, fungi, or bacteria, can be secondary causes. Spraying the wrong pesticide or accidentally allowing spray to drift onto a nearby susceptible landscape plant can result in chemical foliar burn. Applying too much fertilizer may also injure roots and mimic drought- like symptoms.

If sun intensity gets too strong, leaves may turn brown, typically along the edges, or take on a bleached out appearance. Shallow-rooted trees like Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are often troubled by leaf scorch. Drying winter winds may cause leaf burn on conifers if soils are frozen. Too much sunlight and lack of adequate soil moisture will result in brown-edged leaves or leaf tips.

Leaf scorch symptoms commonly show up on edges of leaf, leaf tips and/or between the veins. Yellowing becomes increasingly severe and tissue dies at leaf margins and between veins. Sudden changes in summer light intensity, such as from a loss of an adjacent large branch or an entire shade tree, may scorch the foliage of low-growing (understory) shrubs and small tree in spring and summer.

Deep watering of soil will enhance moisture uptake. Too much water, such as periodic flooding, can also be injurious. Do not fertilize most trees, shrubs and perennials after September 1st. It stimulates shoot growth.at a time that plants should be going dormant. Leaf scorch symptoms may result.

If tree roots have been injured, prune off top growth to compensate for loss of roots. Stressed trees and shrubs should be mulched with an organic-based mulch to help conserve soil moisture.

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