Leaves are falling to the ground and it’s only the middle of summer: Your Stories

Your Stories

SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR)- NewsChannel 9 has received dozens of phone calls and emails to the Your Stories team about leaves falling off of trees across local neighborhoods. Perhaps even in your own yard.

Storm Team Meteorologist Lindsay Raychel reached out to SUNY ESF Distinguished Teaching Professor, Don Leopold, who says a disease that’s impacting certain trees causing their leaves to fall is rare for this time of year.

Leopold says, “There’s a group of diseases called anthracnose, it’s a leaf disease caused by different fungi and tar spot disease it’s another fungus cause. They’re driven by the weather conditions.” 

Leopold says, “So if it’s wet and warm it’s usually not a problem. If it’s warm and dry, there’s usually not problems.”

It was the combination of wet and cool weather months ago that is impacting the Norway Maples. It’s a common disease that doesn’t usually show up this early in the year. 

Leopold says, “You don’t normally notice it until September, October. So, this is the earliest I think in 35 years that people have been emailing me and contacting me about, and it’s across the board, it’s not just Syracuse. It’s all over the state, it’s all over the Northeast.”

Leopold says, “The disease can’t be eliminated, it’s going to run its course. So, what happens is the tree will lose its leaves this year. It looks like it’s dying. Almost always they don’t die.”
 
The Norway Maples typically turn a pretty yellow near Halloween. You won’t see that this fall because of the disease impacting them.

Leopold says, “So if the tree doesn’t have leaves then it doesn’t have any fall color.”

The other maples, the Sugar Maples that have the beautiful bright reds, do seem to be in good shape though.

Don says, “So the reds are typically red maple and red maples are susceptible to the disease, but I haven’t noticed any. I have a big red maple in my yard, in fact three, and those look fine.” 

Leaving us with plenty of other brilliant colors to see in October.

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