On Wednesday, Sep. 6, Open Space Coordinator Wendy Hill issued this statement on the condition of many of the maple trees in Lyme:

“Many residents have noticed that the leaves of the maple trees in Lyme are turning brown, shriveling and dropping early this year. Because of the unusually wet summer we had, these trees are being hit particularly hard by a fungal disease called anthracnose. It thrives when the weather is wet or cold for an extended period of time.  

“Anthracnose diseases occur on maple, sycamore, dogwood and other tree species throughout Connecticut every year, although the severity can vary from year to year. It usually causes a barely noticeable browning and early drop of leaves. In 2022, because of the hot dry weather, anthracnose had very little effect on our maple trees and we had the most beautiful fall colors we’ve had in years.

“So, the effects from anthracnose can range from minor – resulting in only a spotting of leaves – to severe – resulting in the early curling and shriveling of leaves, and the dieback of twigs and branches. Although it is disturbing to see the trees lose their leaves so early in the year, anthracnose diseases rarely kill a mature and otherwise healthy host tree. In most cases, the leaves will grow back in the spring and the tree will thrive.

“For more information, see this fact sheet from the CT Agricultural Experiment Center.”