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Here’s Why Some Minnesota Trees Are Still Hanging Onto Their Leaves

The maple tree in our front yard in northwest Rochester just won’t seem to drop its leaves this fall. Do you have a similar tree in your yard or neighborhood? 


I’m certainly no botanist, but I have noticed that maple tree in our front yard, and how it’s just not dropping its leaves this year. Since we moved into our house back in 2012, that tree has dropped its leaves by now. But not this year.

My brother is experiencing a similar situation with a tree in his front yard up in St. Louis Park. And, I’ve noticed other trees around southeast Minnesota that are stubbornly refusing to drop their leaves too.

So what’s the deal? Well, as I said, I’m no botanist, but a quick check online lead me to THIS article which says the phenomenon is called ‘marcescense.’ And, according to the story, “Basically, that means that things hold onto stuff,” Jim Finley said in the story. Jimis  a Pennsylvania Extension Service forester who is also a professor of forest resources and director of the Center for Private Forests at Penn State, the story noted, so I’m guessing he knows what he’s talking about.

But what causes it? Well, the story said, that’s where things get a little murkier. Nobody actually knows for sure just WHAT causes marcescene. Some say it’s caused by insects. Others say it’s the weather. But, while the cause is still a mystery, the story said it doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with the tree.

Most trees with marcescense, the story said, will eventually lose their leaves gradually as they break and fall off, until new leaves form next spring. (You can read more about it  HERE.) So that’s why some trees are still clinging to their leaves this fall. Uh, I think…

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