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Leaf drop

What are some possible causes for trees, such as young(2-3 years) Oaks, to loose all their leaves except on the ends of the branches? The trees are in Chicagoland.

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  • Bud, I am familiar with both of those. I have been a certified arborist for over 16 years. This is something I haven't seen before. The key to this is that the leaves on the ends pf the branches are not falling off.
    • Hi Chris, sorry I misread your question. So only the leaves at the tips of the branches are holding on? That is odd. Almost opposite of what you'd expect. Any photos?
  • I'd look into the possibilities of oak anthracnose caused by a fungus and bacterial leaf scorch (BLS) BLS will casue random blotching on the lead. The anthracnose will follow the midrib and veins of the leaf. Rake up and burn the leaves if possible as they overwinter on the leaves.
  • But what would cause the loss of all the leaves except the ones on the ends of the branches? Disease and insects usually affect the leaves in the same manner no matter where they are. Girdling roots, borers,etc cause dieback of the ends of the branches first. Maybe someone has experienced the phenomenon I am describing and came up with an answer.
  • Fall. Seriously, perhaps a fungus or insect. I planted a white oak in my backyard and it got a fungus or some insect eating up all the leaves in late summer. Those young leaves are tasty and susceptible to disease as they are more delicate. The next year it happened again but I caught it early and removed the infected leaves before they curled up and died. In the third year it was less and by the fourth year I did not see it. That tree is now 25 feet and very healthy. Doesn't really answer your question, but might give you some hope.
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