Old maple tree dropping leaves.

We have a very old, large maple tree in front of our house. It’s like 70 or 80 years old, or more. For the past week or so it’s been dropping leaves. The leaves aren’t changing color, they’re just dropping off, not in huge numbers but more than they should at this time of year. I’m looking down the street, where there are other trees like this, but don’t see other leaves down. What could be the problem?

Moved from GD to GQ at OP request.


I have maples about that age, and I don’t think this is normal. Mine drop leaves, but only a few. Unless it’s during a storm with high winds, and even then, it’s mostly small twig branches with several leaves still attached.

I’d suggest getting a tree expert to look at your tree. Do you have a University Extension Service nearby? Ask them. Unlike someone from a tree nursery, they have no incentive to try to sell you something.

Type of maple? Silver maples don’t like city life.
Recent heatwave or drought? Leaves dropping on sunward side, or everywhere?
Most trees round here are showing heat damage.
Anyone digging in the soil? The Fiber optic people have been known to clip a root or two.
Ridiculous as it sounds for a big old tree, I’d give it a couple hours of water from the hose.
Repeat several times.

Excellent advice. I certainly agree that heat/drought conditions can affect even old established trees, but I would certainly check the other things as well.

Years ago we lost our old maple tree in a severe windstorm, because it had partially rotted inside. We were clueless about that and didn’t realize there was a problem (I was only a child at the time).

A bunch of our maples fell victim to a fungus in the soil. Lots of dead branches, sparse leaves on the living ones. Eventually hired a tree service to come and take them all down.

I’ll be contacting the Forestry Division of my town Monday morning. They can send out an arborist to check out the tree.