Leaf Tatter Alert

Heavy winds on May 17th and 18th when the new leaves of some trees are very thin and tender has caused some tearing and racking of the tissue of the leaves.  Some leaves get torn off and others lose a piece or two of the leaf, which results in leaf litter on the ground.

Within 24 to 72 hours, places on the leaves that are slightly torn or cracked start to have some cells of the leaf tissue dry out and turn brown.  After a few more days, the dead brown areas fall off the leaf, leaving what looks like feeding holes from insects.

This unsightly condition is called leaf tatter.  Leaf tatter can cause a little stress on the tree, but usually not excessive stress, but it certainly can make it look pretty bad.  Often people think their tree is dying, but this is not the case.

My recommendation is to give your tree a mild fertilization with Miracle Grow at a rate of 1 T of the green crystals per gallon of water.  Apply 2 gal. for small trees under 2″ trunk diameter, 5 gals for trees 2″-4″ and 10-15 gallons for larger trees.  A healthy tree will put out some more new growth, and if heavy winds do not affect this new growth before it thickens and matures, the new growth should appear normal.  Good luck with your leaf tattered tree!