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Thread: Poor sugar maple foliage-what' s up?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mount Vernon Maine
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    Default Poor sugar maple foliage-what' s up?

    I live in central Maine west of Augusta. I've noticed that all the sugar maples in this area have leaves that are turning brown and drying up, not soft and yellow like they normally do in the fall. Not so much with the red maples, just the sugars. The reds seem to have some color. All the sugars are brown. I see this throughout the local area.

    Is anyone else experiencing this? Any thoughts on what is happening? Is it the result of a drought in 2016 and wet spring in 2017? I noted a ton of seeds this season. Is that a further sign of stress? Any thoughts would be appreciated. I am assuming that all will right itself at some point, but it certainly is disappointing and alarming.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Beaver Falls,NY
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    226

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    Pretty much the same here, green leafs, then brown and drop. Quite a drap fall so far.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Walpole, NH
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    From what I have heard it is pretty much the same across the Northeast. It’s some sort of fungus that affects the leaves.
    Sugaring for 45+ years
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    Default

    It is probably a combination of several things. Drought last year likely triggered high seed production this year (in many tree species across a fairly broad geographic range). Then we had a really wet spring, which caused a good deal of anthracnose and other foliar fungal diseases which caused foliar margin/interveinal necrosis (yellowing/browning along leaf edges and margins) and general yellowing of leaves. Was fairly wet all summer, then boom....no rain and very hot for a few weeks, so a mini-drought. Leaves require energy to make the red pigment (anthocyanin), so with transpiration/photosynthesis stopped due to the dry conditions, and no triggering cold weather to jumpstart the trees into making red pigment, the leaves just go into quiescent mode, turn brown or even drop the leaves green.

    There is a bit more color in the typically wetter areas (where you often find red maples). Now that we have some cold nights, we might get a bit more red...especially if we get some rain soon. Or maybe not....a lot depends upon what happens in the next 7-10 days.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mount Vernon Maine
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    14

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    Thanks to all! At least it sounds like a natural occurrence. Still......fall only comes once.

    So what happens to sap flow in the spring when you enter winter in a drought? If ground moisture is low at the time of hard frost, and frost prohibits groundwater recharge till spring after sap time, is that a problem for sap flow?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Poultney VT
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    Dawsonville,20171001_170340.jpg GA.

    Red Maple
    Last edited by Flat Lander Sugaring; 10-03-2017 at 08:02 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mvhomesteader View Post
    So what happens to sap flow in the spring when you enter winter in a drought? If ground moisture is low at the time of hard frost, and frost prohibits groundwater recharge till spring after sap time, is that a problem for sap flow?
    Typically there are a few times during the winter when there are mild thaws which can result in water loss and then uptake during subsequent freeze periods. If not, then there will likely be a recharge early in the spring after the first (perhaps poor) run. There is a recharge every time the temperature goes back down below freezing in the spring. Generally there is ample water around during that time of year from snowmelt or spring rain.

    There is some evidence that different environmental (mostly weather) and biological factors in the previous growing season can influence sap sugar content, although the effects tend to be rather modest and highly intercorrelated with other factors so it is hard to tease out the effect of a single condition (good or bad).
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lancaster NH
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    50

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    Is this the same fungus that kill forest tent caterpillars, if so it may be a good thing as we had the brown leaves late and hit hard all summer around 2000 feet by forest tent.
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    on a 2 by 7 home made evaporator and sugar shack
    1st gen circa 1966 still learnin stuff

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