Why Are My Tree Leaves Curling Up?

What is the cause of tree leaves curling up? In this post, GM 2 Tree Services, LLC, your trusted tree services in Bristol, answers this question. It’s critical to determine the cause because tree leaves turning yellow or curling up shows that there’s a problem to deal with. 

tree leaves curling up

Why Are the Leaves Curling Up? 

Leaf curl can happen for many reasons, with extreme conditions topping the list. In such cases, the leaves curl up to conserve moisture and create a more favorable microclimate. Here are some other reasons. 


When you see tree leaves curling up, check for pests on the tree and the underside of the leaves. Aphids and Whiteflies, for example, suck the sap out of leaves, and the lack of moisture volume causes them to curl. 

You should deal with the infestation as soon as possible. You may do so by using an insecticide and removing the leaves with the pests on them. Placing sticky traps in the trees makes it easier to see if the bugs return. 


If you don’t see any signs of pests, check the moisture levels in the soil. If the top two inches are moist, the leaves may roll up because they have too much water. Check that the ground is draining as it should, and then let it dry out for a bit. 

Carefully dig around the roots to check for signs of root rot. 

Too Much Sunshine

Tree leaves curling up might indicate that your tree is trying to protect itself from too much sunlight. If it’s a shade-loving species, the leaves will start to curl or turn brown due to excess levels of a chemical produced during photosynthesis.

Watch the newer leaves, too. If they’re smaller than normal, you need to shade the tree or move it. 

Heat Stress

Too much heat causes excessive moisture loss that sends the tree into conservation mode. It’ll roll up the leaves to conserve water, as the smaller surface area prevents some evaporation. 

You should water the plant regularly and consider moving it to a cooler spot. An arborist might also suggest trimming extraneous branches to improve airflow. 

Nitrogen Deficiency

With a nitrogen deficiency, the leaves won’t just curl; they’ll also turn yellow and then brown. They must have this compound for effective photosynthesis, and without it, they can’t produce chlorophyll. 

A tell-tale sign is that the condition develops slowly. The tree starts by focusing its resources on the new leaves, meaning the older ones die off more quickly than normal. 


Did you recently spray weed killer near the tree? Even if you steer clear of the trunk, the roots run far out and can pick up a lot of the poison. The problem with herbicides is that they kill almost anything. 

The good news is that your tree should survive as long as you lay off the poison. Consider looking into organic methods for weed control instead or mulching around the tree to smother weeds. 


Viral infections may cause leaf curl. There is seldom anything you can do in this instance, so speak to your arborist about removing the tree. Sometimes you can save the tree in the early stages by removing the damaged parts, but your main concern should be to prevent the disease from spreading. 

Call GM 2 Tree Services, LLC Today!

If you can’t figure out the cause of tree leaves curling up in your yard, give our GM 2 Tree Services, LLC team a call. By hiring a tree service, you get the best possible service and definitive results before too much damage occurs. Contact us by calling (203) 527-6237.