Leaf Scorch of Trees and Shrubs

Leaf scorch is caused by a net water loss that occurs when leaf transpiration exceeds water uptake by roots. Leaf scorch is often prevalent in falls after hot, dry norway maplesummers.

The symptoms are browned leaf tissue between veins, at tips or along leaf edges. In severe cases, the entire leaf may become brown and dry. On evergreens, needles brown at the end but may remain green at the point of attachment.

Any factor that decreases moisture in the rootzone, decreases water uptake by roots, or increases leaf transpiration can result in scorch. Some of these environmental or cultural factors include: high light intensity, low humidity, high temperatures, drying winds, root rots, drought, limited rooting area and high soil salts.

norway maple leaf scorch

Tree species subject to leaf scorch include linden, maple, cottonwood, aspen, pine and spruce. Leaf scorch cannot be reversed. Try to determine the cause. Avoid further scorch by supplying adequate moisture. Mulch may help to prevent or reduce leaf scorch.

For more detail, see the CSU Extension fact sheets on leaf scorch and tree roots

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Updated Monday, February 01, 2016