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Author Topic: Oak and Maple Tree Behaving Oddly  (Read 632 times)

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Offline tagoldstein

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Oak and Maple Tree Behaving Oddly
« on: December 09, 2017, 01:56:38 PM »
Hi, I'm new to this forum. There seems to be many knowledgeable people here so I'm hoping someone can help me with this question. I'm not sure if this is an environmental issue, a specific problem or possible a couple of different problems.
I live in Central New Jersey.  I have 2 Pin Oaks in my backyard. They are both about 40 years old and they stand side by side, about 30 feet between them.  I've been here about 23 years and every Autumn they have behaved the same way. One of them sheds all of its leaves and one keeps its leaves until the Spring. Every Autumn they both drop zillions of acorns. This year, for the first time that I can remember, both trees dropped all their leaves in the Autumn.  In addition, they dropped almost no acorns!  The squirrels in my backyard are very disappointed and I've had a lot more leaves to rake.  That's oddity number one.
I also have a small red maple, about 8-10 feet high, that's about 20 years old. It looks perfectly healthy, although it is partially shaded by one of the oaks. Every year, just before it sheds its leaves, the leaves and seed pods turn a bright red. A week or so later the leaves seem to drop almost all at once.  This year the leaves all turned brown instead of the usual bright red, and they stayed on the tree. It is December 9th and the tree has not shed any leaves.  Is this a sign of disease?
Can anyone shed a little light on what is going on with these trees?  Any advice or information would be gratefully appreciated.

Offline curdog

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Re: Oak and Maple Tree Behaving Oddly
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2017, 03:20:00 PM »
There are folks here that will more knowledgeable about this than me, but I'll give it a stab..
Did the oaks not produce acorns or did they not drop? If they didn't produce,  I'd think back to the weather in the spring. A late frost or extremely wet weather during pollination can disrupt the ability of the oaks to have an acorn crop. Red oaks take one year to produce acorns,  so one year of bad weather during the time of pollination can reduce or eliminate their crop for the year.
As far as the fall colors,  sometimes a sudden freeze during color change can prevent the change of colors. The tree needs cool sunny weather during the fall to continue to produce sugars  (where the color comes from), while the chlorophyll gets out of the leaves. If you get a sudden freeze during this time,  it basically kills the leaf and it no longer has the colors in it. By the freeze "killing " the leaf it is not pushed off the tree. I've had fires in the woods during leaf change that did the same thing. The heat killed the leaf and they held them until the next spring when the new leaves are forced off by the new leaves. I'd have to search around for the exact wording on things, but this is the general idea of it.
Drought can affect acorn production and fall colors. If the tree didn't get enough water during the growing season,  then the leaves will be less vibrant and the acorns won't produce as well either.
Welcome to the forum, maybe one of these situations could be the problem,  but without seeing the trees and evaluating the area around them i coukd be overlooking something obvious....

Offline Roxie

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Re: Oak and Maple Tree Behaving Oddly
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2017, 03:51:11 PM »
That's a good explanation, curdog.   :)

I have no idea about the oaks, but my maples didn't have their normal year either, however in the first week of November when they were just getting ready to do their autumn thing, we had one night when the temperature dropped to 19 and struggled the next day to get above 25.  At this point in time, one maple released all it's leaves, and one is still holding about 30% of it's sad brown leaves. 

We had a snow on Halloween some years ago, but the temps stayed in low 30's.  That autumn continued as normal.  I've assumed that the killing freeze in early November had a greater impact on the trees than did snowfall with temps in the mid 30's.







Save a farm today or starve tomorrow.

Offline bitternut

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Re: Oak and Maple Tree Behaving Oddly
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2017, 09:52:25 PM »
Red oak acorns take two years to mature. If you look closely at the branches of red oaks in the fall you will see tiny little acorns that will mature the following year. Most likely your squirrels will cut some small branches in the fall that should give you an indication of next years acorn crop. White oak acorns mature in the same year that they were pollinated.

Offline curdog

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Re: Oak and Maple Tree Behaving Oddly
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2017, 10:18:56 PM »
Red oak acorns take two years to mature. If you look closely at the branches of red oaks in the fall you will see tiny little acorns that will mature the following year. Most likely your squirrels will cut some small branches in the fall that should give you an indication of next years acorn crop. White oak acorns mature in the same year that they were pollinated.

Yep, and I unfortunately knew that  :D
Good catch... ;D


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