Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves?

Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves

Ash trees tend to keep their foliage almost ever-green. And the foliage does not defoliate prematurely. However, if yours is behaving abnormally, you need to know the reason in order to prevent the causes. So, I guess you might be searching for why is my ash tree dropping leaves.

Basically, several fungal and bacterial infections weaken the foliage of the ash tree. Therefore, the leaves fall prematurely, and new growth is stale. To help you prevent the bummer, I am here to lay down the prevention tips as well. 

Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves?

To be honest, it is natural for the ash tree to drop leaves in order to promote new foliage growth. But if the foliage dies prematurely and falls continuously, there are issues as described below –

Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves

1.Ash Anthracnose Disease

Due to bad water drainage systems and heavy irrigation or rainfall, several fungi infect the ash tree, which causes Anthracnose disease in the twigs and leaves.

Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves

As a result, dead areas and black or brown spots grow on the foliage. Eventually, the leaves start dropping off and wilting. To know more about these symptoms, here is a video you can look for:

The fungus spends the winter in the leaves on the ground or in the twigs. Then, they start thriving in the warmer or spring season and reach the healthy branches through droplets or water. As the disease grows, the premature trees and their leaves die prematurely, and defoliation occurs. 

Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves

Ash trees lose leaves in summer in minimal amounts as usual. But if the defoliation and symptoms of decay are consistent, it means the disease has grown over time.

Note that the heat can only slow down the progression of the infection a little bit. But it does not cure the disease, thus, the defoliation issues tend to grow.

Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves

Even after the acutely suffered leaves fall, the branches might not grow healthy foliage. But wilted or lifeless leaves may appear. This is because the twigs and branches are deformed due to the disease and do not have enough nutrients to fight back.

2. Ash Yellows

Ash yellow is the most common ash tree disease caused by microorganisms or bacteria-like organisms. If the tree does not get enough bactericide, these bacteria move from tree to leaf.  And once their infection spreads, the foliage and branches do not grow properly. 

Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves

Due to the disease, the foliage can only grow and spread for an inch or less. But the sign of a healthy ash leaf or twig is to show new growth up to 6 to 8 inches. Gradually, these infected leaves turn pale yellow and drop. To get more insights into its impacts, feel free to watch it:

3.Verticillium Wilt

Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves

Verticillium wilt is also a fungal infection caused by the fungus living in the soil. Dehydrated ash trees mainly show the symptoms of this disease on the leaves

The foliage loses its rigidity and wilts as a defense mechanism against water loss. And the leaves appear burnt around the edges. Ultimately, they defoliate prematurely. 

How to Prevent Ash Tree Defoliation?

Why Is My Ash Tree Dropping Leaves

Nurturing the ash trees properly with organic and chemical methods can prevent the leaves from dropping prematurely. You can follow the guidelines below to keep the branches ever-green –

  • First, you need to figure out when ash trees lose their leaves. In general, during summer, they tend to do so. Avoid applying any solution during that period. Otherwise, the foliage can become weak and drop. 
  • During June to August and spring seasons, apply bactericides and insecticides to prevent bacterial or fungal diseases that cause leaves to drop.
  • Remove the infected foliage in the fall so that it cannot spread to the whole twigs and tree.
  • Prune the intertwined branches and the disease-affected leaves. 
  • Improve the soil condition by providing enough water during the drought season. And keep a water drainage system during the rainy season to avoid over-moist soil.


Whether you are a plant enthusiast or not, the ash tree defoliation may frustrate you. Because nobody likes to clean off the debris and clusters the premature leaves drop. So, you ask, “Why is my ash tree dropping leaves?”

Well, it can be due to poor soil conditions, drainage systems, and the fungal diseases that I described above. I’d recommend contacting an arborist if the infections are severe. They can come up with solutions to save the foliage without destroying other parts!

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

Is Defoliation Severe in Green Ashes?

Yes, green ash trees are more vulnerable to fungal or bacterial infections. So, their leaves wilt, turn pale and defoliate more than the other species. 

Does Sunlight Trigger the Defoliation of Ash Tree Leaves?

No. In fact, enough sunlight can slow down the organisms from infecting the ash tree leaves. However, during drought season, direct sunlight can burn the leaves.

Can The Anthracnose Kill the Mature Ash Tree?

Anthracnose disease only affects the leaves and branches. The mature tree can decline over time due to repeated infections of the disease. 

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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