Extreme weather patterns contribute to Chicago’s distressed maple tree population

Extreme weather patterns contribute to Chicago’s distressed maple tree population
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Many of Chicago's maple trees are suffering from "maple decline" according to local tree experts.

Autumn is here, but most trees in Chicago aren't quite ready to change colors yet. Maple trees, however, are already starting to turn yellow and red. Christopher Kingzette, district manager of the Davey Tree Expert Company in Burr Ridge, said that's bad news for the trees.

"In an urban forest that we have around here, we kind of pick and choose what trees we want to live in a given environment, and unfortunately that environment doesn't always cooperate with the needs of that tree,” Christopher Kingzette told WBBM Newsradio.

If your maple tree is already changing color, its branches are breaking, or if its signature pointed leaves are smaller or fewer than usual, the tree could be at risk.

He said maple trees don't like dry weather or too much rain, both of which Chicago has experienced in recent years. Kingzette said the best way to save your maple is to get an expert to check it out and set up a treatment plan.

"We take a very natural thing, something that's lived in the world for thousands of years, and we try to take it from where it thought it could live, and introduce it to an environment it doesn't quite know,” Kingzette explained.