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What’s the matter with the Red Maple trees?

Red maple is lush with green leaves in summer.

If you live in the Fremont or Greenwood districts or in one of the other areas of the city where the streets are lined with ‘October Glory’ (Acer rubrum) red maples, you may have noticed that many of the trees are quite bare, and appear to be dying.  The good news is that this is not deadly and the bad news is only temporary – this is a result of either anthracnose, or an anthracnose-like fungus that is attacking the flower clusters, seeds and young leaves as they emerge. Typically this type of fungus is most prevalent when night time temperatures are cool, and the weather is moist.  Once night time temperatures warm up a bit, and the weather dries out, the trees should leaf out normally.

Since this type of fungus is rarely fatal, SDOT does not plan to take any measures to treat the trees with fungicide.  If you have questions about Seattle’s street trees, you can contact SDOT Urban Forestry at or by calling (206) 684-TREE (8733)


Red maple in fall is ablaze with red leaves.

Red maple attacked by fungus.