Why the Top Half of Your Tree Has No Leaves

If the top half of your tree has no leaves, that could mean trouble. No leaves at the top of a tree could mean the tree is dead or dying. Depending on what caused the tree to start shedding its leaves, you may be able to save it. 

You don’t have to determine the problem on your own. An expert tree service company like Professional Tree Service in Gulfport, MS, can identify the cause of missing leaves and determine the best way to treat the problem.

top half of tree has no leaves

Reasons a Tree May Have No Leaves at the Top

Different species of trees may lose their leaves for various reasons. There are a few common reasons that could cause trees to lose their leaves at the top:

Twisty Roots

If the root system starts to twist together like a ball of snakes, they choke each other and prevent nutrients from getting all the way to the top. Commonly called root girdling, it happens most commonly for maple trees, but it can affect other types of trees as well. 

An early sign of root girdling is if the leaves change to fall colors before other trees in the area. 

Fungus Growth

A fungal disease called verticillium wilt could be the reason the top half of your tree has no leaves. It may start on one part of the tree and grow outward, or it could start at the top. There isn’t a treatment to cure verticillium wilt, but you can take measures to prevent it altogether. 

Maintaining the soil and regular pruning can help prevent fungal overgrowth.

Lack of Moisture

It makes sense that a tree that doesn’t get enough water can’t maintain its leaves as it should. Trees can withstand temporary periods of drought, but the longer they go without water, the more damage grows.

You can determine if drought is the problem by examining the leaves. If the edges look brown and crispy, the tree is dying of thirst. 

You can prevent permanent damage by watering your trees during dry months. 

Insects Feasting on Trees

Some insects bore into trees at the crown and cause all kinds of problems. A tree signals there is trouble by losing its leaves at the top as insects eat away at the branches and spread throughout. A professional arborist can help you determine if chemical treatment will help rid your tree of infestation.

Oak Tree Disease

There are some problems that specifically affect oak trees and could cause leaves to fall out at the top. The most common problem is oak wilt disease, which is caused by fungal growth in the spring and summer seasons. Over pruning, often referred to as ‘topping’, is a practice that raises the question, does topping a tree kill it? In the case of oak trees, this can make them vulnerable to fungal infection, and it can indeed be detrimental to the tree’s health.

Leaf scorch is another common cause of leaves falling out at the top of an oak tree. There are many causes of leaf scorch, from drought to bacteria. Without treatment from a professional, leaf scorch can be fatal for oak trees.

One of the first signs of oak tree disease is leaves turning brown and falling from the top down during summer when the tree should thrive.

Dependable Tree Care 

If the top half of your tree has no leaves, you need help from Professional Tree Service in Gulfport, MS. We can examine the tree and determine the cause for it losing its leaves. Sometimes, we can treat the problem, and sometimes the damage is too severe.

We know when to consider a tree dead and we can remove the tree safely before it falls and causes property damage. Call 228-669-9388 to schedule a free estimate and save your trees.

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