Fall foliage seems to be ahead of schedule this year throughout Minnesota, but experts suspect that might not be why maple trees all over the Twin Cities have been changing color and dropping leaves early, the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis reported. Alan Branhagen, director of operations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, told the newspaper that he suspects this could be a warning sign that there are many sick maple trees in the state.
“It’s becoming epidemic,” he told the newspaper regarding the distressed, yellow-leafed maples, some already with bare branches.
The Davey Tree Expert Company has also received many phone calls about this concern, certified arborist and district manager Travis McDonald told the newspaper. He said many of the maple trees in distress are suffering from root girdling, a condition in which roots grow around another root or the trunk, eventually strangling the tree.
Maples are prone to root girdling because they have fast-growing, shallow root systems. According to the newspaper, the condition is becoming more common because most trees sold at nurseries and garden centers are now grown in containers, resulting in roots that have already begun to spiral before the tree is purchased and planted.
Read more about the maple tree concerns in Minnesota here.