Maple trees with yellow leaves are gorgeous to look at, but only if they’re in the season for it. If your maple tree has started to display unusual yellow leaves, then you might want to discover the possible reasons for it.Maple Trees with Yellow Leaves

Why Does Your Maple Tree Have Yellowing Leaves? 4 Common Reasons

Your maple trees have yellowing leaves because of many reasons but there are four common ones. Firstly, it is usually caused by the changing seasons, it’s also caused by watering issues, nutrient problems, and pests and diseases. Each of these has a solution and can therefore be reversed.

– Normal Seasonal Changes

Seasonal changes are a normal and natural occurrence for many trees, including maples. In the fall, as the days become shorter and the temperatures cool, the leaves on these trees begin to change color. This process is triggered by a decrease in the production of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for giving leaves their green color.

When this happens, the leaves on maples may turn yellow, orange, or red. This process is called senescence, and it marks the end of the tree’s growing season. Eventually, the leaves will fall off the tree, and the tree will become dormant for the winter.

It’s important to note that not all maples will display the same colors in the fall. For instance, some cultivars of the Japanese maple have green foliage all throughout its growing season.Causes of Maple Trees with Yellow Leaves

– Underwatering

One possible reason why your maple’s leaves may be turning yellow is a lack of water. Trees, such as silver maple, require adequate water to stay healthy and vibrant. When they don’t receive enough water, they can become stressed and exhibit symptoms like yellowing leaves.

In order to determine if a lack of water is the cause of the yellow leaves on your maple, you can check the soil around the tree. If the top-inch soil is dry to the touch, it’s likely that your tree is not receiving enough water. This could be due to various factors, such as infrequent watering, too little rainfall, or soil that doesn’t retain moisture well.

– Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies can cause yellow leaves on many trees, including the red maple tree. Specifically, a lack of nitrogen and iron can result in yellowing of the leaves. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth and is necessary for producing chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green color of leaves.

Without enough nitrogen, the leaves will become yellow and may eventually fall off. Iron is also important for chlorophyll formation and plays an unmissable role in photosynthesis, the process by which plants produce their own food. Iron deficiency, sometimes known as iron chlorosis, will cause yellowing between the veins, giving them a distinctive pattern.

– Pests and Diseases

Pest and disease issues can cause yellow leaves on maples, and it’s important to identify the specific problem so that you can treat it effectively. Some common pests include aphids, spider mites, maple petiole borer, maple bladder gall mites, and scale insects. Common maple diseases are verticillium wilt and anthracnose.

Aphids can cause yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and distorted leaves. Along with aphids, tiny pests, such as spider mites, feed on the undersides of leaves, causing them to yellow and eventually fall off.Common Pests in Maple Trees

The maple petiole borer lays eggs in the petioles of maple leaves, causing them to turn yellow and eventually drop from the tree. On the other hand, the maple bladder gall mites cause small blisters or galls to form on the leaves, which may lead to yellowing and premature leaf drop. Finally, scale insects suck on the sap of the tree, causing yellowing of the leaves.

Verticillium wilt is a fungal disease that can cause yellowing and wilting of leaves, as well as dieback of branches. Anthracnose is another fungal disease that causes yellowing and browning of leaves, as well as dark spots on the leaves and stems.

How to Solve Yellowing Leaves on Maple Trees? 4 Simple Solutions

To solve yellowing leaves on maple trees there are four simple solutions. Sometimes you just have to let nature take its course. However, when the cause is more serious than the change of the seasons you can change how you water, fertilize, treat and prevent diseases.

– Let It Be

If the yellowing leaves on your maple are due to normal seasonal changes, there’s not much you need to do to address the issue. It’s important to understand that many deciduous trees, including sugar maple trees, naturally lose their leaves in the fall as part of their annual growth cycle.

It’s worth noting that if the yellowing leaves are happening outside of the fall season, it’s possible that they are not due to normal seasonal changes. In that case, you may need to consider other possible causes, such as lack of water, nutrient deficiencies, pests, or diseases, and take appropriate action to address the issue.

– Water Correctly

It’s important to water your tree deeply so that the water reaches the tree’s roots, which can be several feet below the surface. A shallow watering won’t be enough to reach the deeper roots, and may only encourage the growth of shallow roots close to the surface, making the tree more vulnerable to drought stress.

Aim to water your tree one or two times a week, depending on the weather and soil conditions. To water your tree effectively, consider using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system.

Mulching around the base of your red maple can help retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Apply a layer of mulch around 2 to 4 inches deep around the base of the tree. Be careful not to let the mulch touch the trunk, which can encourage rot.Remedies for Maple Trees with Yellow Leaves

– Fertilize

If your maple shows signs of nutrient deficiencies, such as yellowing tree leaves, you can use a fertilizer to help correct the problem. These fertilizers will typically contain the nutrients that are most important for healthy growth, such as nitrogen, iron, and other micronutrients. Consider the use of organic fertilizers like compost as well since these are friendlier to the soil.

Generally, it’s best to apply fertilizer in the early spring, before the tree starts to push out new leaves. This will give the tree a boost of nutrients when it needs it most. However, if your tree shows signs of nutrient deficiencies later in the growing season, you can apply fertilizer at any time during the growing season. Remember, when applying it, to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

– Treat and Prevent

You can treat aphids with insecticidal soap or a strong stream of water, which is easier to do if they’re found in a small maple tree. For spider mites, you can control them with insecticidal soap or a miticide.

Maple petiole borer can be controlled by insecticide treatments, especially when applied in the early spring before the eggs are laid. Maple bladder gall mites are not harmful to the tree’s health and do not require treatment. On the other hand, scale insects can be treated with insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils.

Sadly, there is no cure for verticillium wilt, but affected branches can be pruned to slow its spread. For anthracnose, it can be controlled with fungicides and proper pruning.Solving Yellow Leaves Maple Trees

Frequently Asked Questions

– Can a Maple Tree Recover from Yellow Leaves?

Yes, a maple tree can recover from yellow leaves if the underlying cause is addressed. If the tree is suffering from a nutrient deficiency, disease, or pest infestation, addressing the problem can help. However, if it’s more serious, like root rot, the tree may not recover.

– Can Transplant Shock Cause Yellow Leaves on a Maple Tree?

Yes, transplant shock can cause yellow leaves on a maple tree. If the tree has been recently transplanted, it may take time for the roots to become established and for the tree to adjust to its environment. However, with proper care and attention, the tree should recover and grow normally.


Yellowing leaves in maples are easily addressed now that you know the causes and solutions, so let’s have a quick recap:

  • If it’s the season for changing leaf color, simply allow nature to run its course.
  • Underwatering issues can be resolved by watering deeply and regularly.
  • To address nutrient deficiencies, fertilize regularly.
  • Treat pests and diseases by applying insecticides and fungicides properly.

Not only will you be able to remedy any yellowing leaves in your maple, but you just might become a tree expert in the future!

5/5 - (12 votes)
Evergreen Seeds