Why is your red maple turning green and how to fix it? –ISBUZZLE

Red maples are known for their beautiful red leaves in the fall, making any landscape a dream.

So watching them turn green and lose that red color can be such a daunting experience, and most gardeners wouldn’t know what to do to save their red maple.

Are you facing a similar problem? I learned that trees are very easy to maintain. And once they’ve established themselves, it’s almost impossible to kill them.

But to give them the care they need, you have to understand how to satisfy their uniqueness.

And in the case of the red maple, you need to understand why that tree turns red and what can undo that change.

The main reason your red maple leaves turn green is because your red maple isn’t getting enough sun or adequate light.

Other than that, your red maple may turn green due to seasonal changes, the tree is still young, too much heat, not enough nutrients, and too much fertilizer.

This guide details about it:


Why is your red maple turning green and how to fix it?

red maple leavesPeople familiar with red maple landscaping know that the leaves of this tree turn red in the fall. Sometimes the tint can be orange or yellow.

You get the idea: there’s a color change that makes these trees ideal for people looking to add character to their outdoor space. But what gives red maple this red color?

Anthocyanin: have you ever heard of this pigment? The red color you see in red maples comes from this pigment.

It is present in the hydrated structures of plant cells, i.e. vacuoles. But for the most part, you’ll barely notice it’s there.

This color is more common in the fall as chlorophyll breaks down in the leaves. And this increases the level of this pigment, which absorbs blue-green wavelengths and reflects a red tint.

It’s all science! So any change you see in the leaves of your tree is due to a disruption of this natural order. We can now discuss what might be hindering these changes:

1) It’s part of the seasonal changes

Red maples are so named for their red leaves in the fall. But once the leaves drop from this deciduous tree, that’s where the leaf color goes.

Instead, you’ll see reddish stems in winter. And when spring comes, the tree will grow small red flowers.

At this point, the leaves would be green, as the red maple would depend on chlorophyll to produce food to support flower growth.

And in the summer, leaf production would still be a priority for the tree. So the leaves would still be green. The red color then sets in once fall begins, as the tree is no longer focused on producing food to maintain its leaves.

Instead, the tree begins to prepare to shed its leaves and hibernate in winter. And the anthocyanin finally has a chance to shine.

What can you do with natural changes? Nothing. You can’t change the science behind the red maple. And all you can do is wait until the next fall season and make sure the tree is healthy enough to produce healthy red foliage.

But what if the seasons don’t turn red maple leaves green? Now is the time to consider the following factors:

2) The tree is still young.

Most people expect their red maple trees to start producing red leaves during the first fall. But it’s not always the case. Sometimes a tree needs time to get used to its new environment.

And while it’s there, it expends its energy establishing a healthy root system and fending off pests and disease. So that could be the problem if your red maple tree is young and has a rapid growth rate with few or no red leaves.

How can you solve this problem?

This problem often resolves itself. At one point, the red maple blocks his momentum and slows him down. And it gives you enough energy to focus on producing healthy leaves that turn red in the fall.

If a year or two goes by and your tree still doesn’t have red foliage in the fall, you should consider factors such as:

  • Does the tree have enough access to sunlight? (I will come back to this in the next section)
  • Is the tree getting enough water? Your red maple should be in slightly moist soil. Therefore, you should water it whenever the top two centimeters of soil are dry during the active growing season. Cut back in winter.
  • Is the tree in slightly acidic to neutral soil? Alkaline conditions cause chlorosis, which affects nutrient uptake and stunts tree development.

Often, a tree’s inability to establish well enough to produce healthy leaves and withstand seasonal changes comes down to a deficiency in one of these needs.

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3) The tree lacks adequate exposure to light.

did you know light plays an essential role in the production of anthocyanins? Without sufficient access to light, the absorption of blue-green wavelengths is not optimal.

Therefore, a mature tree with access to sufficient water and nutrients may not yet turn red.

Deal with minor issues

How Much Light Does Red Maple Need? This tree can grow well in USDA zones 3 through 9 and prefers full or partial sun.

Trees in lower areas experience cooler climates and therefore should be in full sun, which means at least 6 hours of unimpeded access to bright, direct light.

Under these conditions, they photosynthesize well, paving the way for the loss of chlorophyll and the dominance of anthocyanins.

Red maples like to grow in full sun. But in warmer climates, this exposure can be excessive and damage the leaves.

So when growing these trees in higher USDA zones, you should stick to partial shade; this is exposure to a minimum of 4 hours of bright, indirect light.

a red mapleWhere can you get this type of sun exposure?

  • If you live in colder regions, you can place your red maple in the south, where it can get full sun, and
  • If you live in a hot climate, you can place the tree in the east, where it will have access to the morning sun and avoid the hot afternoon rays.

Red maples grow well in areas where clear, sunny days are combined with cool nights. And that’s what autumn gives to these trees.

The more light the tree receives, the more anthocyanins it can produce. But there is a limit to the amount of light the tree should receive, as I will describe below.

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4) Has been exposed to too much heat

High temperatures can threaten healthy tree development, and red maple is no different. Although this tree enjoys full sun, such access to light in upper USDA zones may be too much to bear.

If you see signs like these below, you can tell the tree has lost more water than it took in:

  • leaf loss,
  • Brown leaf spots,
  • crisp leaves,
  • An onset of pallor in the leaves, and
  • Cracked ground.

If this is the case and you watered the tree diligently, the spot where you planted it may be getting too much sun.

What can you do?

You can try to protect the tree by mulching around the base. But if this does not work, it is better to transplant the tree in the spring.

Position the tree to the east of the garden to shade it from the midday sun. So you can expect red leaves in the fall.

Keep in mind that transplant shock can also hamper anthocyanin production, so you may have to wait another year. But it will be worth it.

5) Need more nutrients

Red maple is a tolerant plant that rarely needs watering fertilization. However, it may show signs of nutrient deficiencies. These include:

  • yellowing of leaves,
  • The production of small leaves, and
  • Underground growth.

A diseased tree will not focus on anthocyanin production, as it will be more concerned with its immediate nutritional needs.

feed the red maple

Before feeding your tree, do a soil test to measure what the tree has and lacks. Your tree needs nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, abbreviated as NPK in commercial foods.

When choosing a nutrient, look for NPK formulas with ratios like 10-4-6 or 16-4-8, which will allow the tree to develop healthy roots and shoots.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and only feed the tree in the spring. And unless your tree is showing signs of immense nutrient deficiencies, as revealed by soil tests, dilute the food by half.

6) You ate too much in the spring

a red mapleToo much nutrition can derail tree development. When he floor it contains too much NPK, a nutrient that interferes with the absorption of other macro and micronutrients.

Consequently, the tree does not grow in a healthy way, which disrupts seasonal color changes. What can you do there? Easy: let the tree rest and do not feed it for at least a year. Patience will go a long way in eliminating overeating.

Final Thoughts: Why Does Your Red Maple Turn Green?

Can you get your red maple tree to have a red canopy every fall? Not exactly. This is often the case with Mother Nature, which dictates the sunshine of the days and the coolness of the nights in the fall.

But you can give your tree a fighting chance by planting it in full or partial sun, watering and fertilizing as needed.

Happy gardening!

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