Maple Tree Not Doing Well


We moved into our house a year ago and the backyard had a maple tree planted there.

This is the first time were paying attention to it and it doesn’t appear to be healthy. Leaves are dropping, it had a lot of buds that all fell and did not bloom into leaves.

Is there anything we can do to help this tree along? Would be ashame if it didnt make it!



Thank you for reaching out to the Toronto Master Gardeners.

There are many reasons why a maple tree might not be doing well, especially in an urban environment. This previously posted answer on our website gives a brief summary of the range of issues that can affect maple trees. Stressors range from pests, diseases, and root girdling to environmental conditions like unusual spring weather, compacted soil, lack of water, poor soil nutrients, and not enough sunlight. I have also had squirrels “mining” my maple trees for small branches to build their nests! A licensed arborist will help you identify the problems affecting your tree this summer and can provide you with a plan to help maintain its health in the future.

In the meantime, begin by ensuring that your tree has adequate water. An hour of watering per week under the canopy of your tree (not just at the base of the trunk) should be adequate. Watering in the morning avoids further diseases caused by night-time watering.  You can also inspect your tree for signs of pests and diseases. This article from Michigan State University specifically describes maple petiole borers, Caulocampus acericaulis, that can cause leaf drop in the spring. Maple anthracnose can also cause damage to maple trees in the spring and again Michigan State University reports on this disease in this article.

To return to your question, the shade and beauty provided by a maple tree is a lovely addition to any backyard. Thank you for noticing that your tree is under stress so that any necessary treatment and precautions can be taken now. All the best success with this project.