Leaf Scorch

What is Leaf Scorch?RSH leaf scorch

Leaf Scorch, also known as Leaf Burn, is a naturally occurring problem in trees and shrubs that is caused when sufficient water does not reach the leaves of the tree. Leaf Scorch appears as a drying out of the exterior of the leaf, often looking burned or singed. The inside of the leaf may still appear green (or the correct color depending upon the tree) at first, but as the problem continues the interior will get smaller. Leaf Scorch is often called a tree disease, however it is not caused by a fungi, although bacteria can play a role in developing a Leaf Scorch problem.


What Causes Leaf Scorch?

Leaf Scorch can be caused by a number of different things:

    • Dry soil
    • Water is lost by the tree quicker than it can be replaced
    • Roots have died off because of excavation, compaction, or disease.
    • Fungus or Bacteria have clogged the “arteries” (water conducting vessels called xylem) of the tree

Dry conditions and drought are prime causes for Leaf Scorch, which in the Chicago-land area are the months of July, August, and September.


What trees can get Leaf Scorch?

Almost any tree can get Leaf Scorch if weather conditions are bad enough, conditions such as low soil moisture, dry winds, and high temperatures. The trees in Illinois and Indiana that have a higher chance of a Leaf Scorch problem are:

    • Sugar Maple
    • Norway Maple
    • Beech
    • Ash
    • Oak
    • Linden
    • Japanese Red Maples
    • Dogwoods (growing in full sun)

Evergreens also are susceptible, such as Pine, Spruce and Hemlock.


How Do I Treat Leaf Scorch Myself?

There are a few horticultural management practices that will help trees affected with non-bacterial Leaf Scorch. WhenRSH scorch tree insect disease 2 you notice a tree with Leaf Scorch, the first step property owners can take is to apply water to the tree. Also, mulching around the base of the tree with 3” of mulch will help the soil retain rain moisture and therefore help prevent the problem.  However, the mulch ring should be larger (8’) than what is typical for aesthetic purposes.


What Can Suburban Landscaping Do For Leaf Scorch?

Depending upon the cause of the Leaf Scorch, we can do a few different things to help your trees. We can inject water into the soil watering the deep roots. We can mulch around the base of the tree to help retain soil moisture. If the tree has Leaf Scorch because of a bacteria, we can treat inject and antibiotic into the tree. We also can apply an insecticide to help control insects that may be carrying the bacteria. Another service that we can offer which aids in the recovery of Leaf Scorch is fertilizing the tree.


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