In all seasons, red maple gardeners know what to expect from red maple. Changes happen like clockwork and are so coordinated that it’s impossible to miss them.
In spring, the tree flowers and produces small red flowers which contrast with the green of the leaves. Then summer comes and you sit under the tree, enjoying the shade and looking at the beautiful green foliage.
And in autumn? That’s the best part! The anthocyanins work their magic creating a beautiful canopy of red leaves. Finally winter comes and the leaves die back, revealing red stems. Magic.
So when you see your red maple leaves turning brown, you might be wondering where this change fits into the cycle. And the answer is he does not.
The only time red maple leaves should turn brown is when they have fully aged and reached the point of falling from the tree.
Youit leaves then falls to the ground, decomposes and nourishes the tree.
Your red maple may turn brown for other reasons, which is unnatural for your tree. too much sun (sunburn), lack of water, waterlogging, frost and fertilizer burn.
So if the leaves on the tree are turning so brown that you are concerned, something is wrong. The same is true if the youngest leaves turn brown: they are not in the stage of dying and falling from the tree.
What could be the problem and how can you fix it? Tanning problems are often linked to sun damage, flooding and overeating. Are you guilty of any of these acts? Let’s find out:
Why is your red maple turning brown and how to fix it?
Red, orange, and yellow are the colors you expect the red maple to display in the fall. And in summer and spring you are waiting for green leaves. So why are your red maple leaves turning brown?
1) Your tree is too exposed to the sun
Red maple is a hardy tree that can grow in USDA zones 3 through 9. In lower zones, the tree can do well in full sun and tolerates partial sun.
But at higher elevations the opposite is true: the tree tolerates full sun and does well in full sun. what do these expressions mean?
Full sun refers to light exposure for at least six hours a day. This light It must be clear and direct, that is to say without hindrances.
Such exposure allows the tree to use the energy it derives from photons to activate enough photosynthesis to produce food.
Partial sun refers to at least six hours of light exposure per day. This light must be bright and indirect. Sometimes people call it filtered light or dappled light. The key here is to reduce the tree’s exposure to too much light.
Typically, a red maple will grow in full sun, even taller. USDA areawithout showing signs of fear.
But in summer, exposure to light is accompanied by heat, which puts it under pressure.
Instead of making food from light, the leaves suffer from a disease known as leaf scorch, which causes brown spots on the surface. When this happens, the leaves die and can no longer produce food.
Leaf damage caused by too much sun exposure is often accompanied by:
- darkening of leaves in the upper part of the tree (lower leaves appear unharmed),
- crisp leaves,
- wilting, and
- Premature leaf loss.
The latter occurs in cases where the damage is significant.
Can you save your tree?
Once the leaves turn brown, you cannot store them because the cell damage is permanent. But you can save the leaves that have not yet suffered the same fate. As?
If you live in a hot region, your summer will likely be unbearable for red maple. So, when planting, place the tree in the east of the garden, where it can receive the morning sun.
The afternoon rays are relentless and can burn the leaves of the tree. People who live in colder climates may place their trees in the south if they live in the northern hemisphere and in the north if they live in the southern hemisphere.
These spots receive bright, direct light throughout the day, which encourages the tree to produce food. But if the sun is still too strong for the red maple, consider moving it to a shady spot.
Do the same for indoor red maples by moving them to east-facing windows.
2) Cover the base of the tree to reduce evaporation
While doing so, be sure to keep a distance of at least two inches between the tree trunk and the mulch. Otherwise, you can create an ideal environment for parasites and pathogenic microorganisms to thrive.
3) Keep the tree shaded from high winds
Did you know that wind can stress the tree and drain moisture? This leaves it exposed to the sun, promoting leaf damage.
4) Water the tree regularly
Do this to keep up with high temperatures. I will detail this in the next section.
5) Be careful when fertilizing
Root damage from burning fertilizers can impair the roots’ ability to absorb water in the summer. I will also discuss this in the next section.
It may take you a while to figure out how much sun your tree can tolerate. But once you’ve done that, the road should be smoother going forward.
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2) Your tree needs more water
Established red maples are very adaptable trees that can grow well in both wet and dry soils.
But if they run out of water during the summer and other hot months, the risk of sun damage only increases. A tree that needs more water displays the following warning signs:
- The leaves seem to have fallen
- leaf curling,
- The leaves become crispy and begin to brown, and
- The ground looks cracked and feels dry.
Younger trees are more prone to displaying such signs, but mature trees can also suffer this fate.
How to Water Red Maple
Young red maples need more water because they haven’t established their root system yet. But once they can rise to groundwater level, it is much easier to care for them. How do you ensure that your tree has sufficient access to water?
1) Cover the base of the tree
Use an inch of mulch to reduce soil exposure to sun and wind. This reduces water loss and also helps you control weeds.
Be sure to leave at least 3 inches of space between the mulch and the tree to promote air circulation and keep pests away.
2) Consider the type of soil you use for red maple
Clay soils retain water better and therefore require less water. But sandy soils have a high runoff rate and should be renewed at least once a week.
3) Always check the soil before watering
I recommend getting a moisture meter as it will allow you to get better readings and avoid costly watering mistakes.
Alternatively, you can reach the top two inches of soil and assess whether they need water.
Water the soil only when it is dry. And once you’ve done that, wait at least 3 days before watering the tree again, unless the soil seems dry again (sandy soil dries out quickly).
4) Water the tree when the sun is not shining
Ideally, do this in the late afternoon or early morning, so the tree can absorb enough moisture. And when you water the tree, don’t splash it.
Instead, use a watering can to water the soil slowly to give the roots time to absorb the water. You can use a pour bag to extend the soaking time.
How much water does your red maple tree need? You need to match the amount of water with the diameter of the tree trunk. For every inch of the trunk, use 10 liters of water to soak the soil.
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3) Your tree burned fertilizer
Your red maple almost never needs it. fertilizer. But most gardeners like to supplement the soil for young trees to encourage them to grow.
It is also good to feed the tree if it seems malnourished and grows poorly.
However, too much fertilizer can be problematic, as it can damage the roots and prevent them from absorbing water and nutrients. And this exposes the tree to sun damage, pests, etc.
How to feed the red maple?
As a general rule, the tree should not be fed without tasting it. floor. You can get a trial pack from your local garden center. When testing, focus on the most important nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Are they sufficient? If the answer is yes, do not feed your tree. But if the levels are low, you can invest in a commercial feed. Only use semi-concentrated fertilizer in early spring or late winter.
And make sure you have a slow-release option that won’t weigh down the roots. Most importantly, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
You can also use compost and other organic foods that are less likely to damage the roots of the tree. These gradually release nutrients and improve soil texture.
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Did you know that too much sun exposure is usually the cause of all tans? Other problems become more apparent if your red maple is exposed to too much sun.
For example, if your tree does not have enough water and is in full sun, it will lose more moisture and become more dehydrated.
So start by checking the amount of light your tree is getting, and if it’s not ideal, correct it, and the rest of the solutions will follow.