Do oak trees lose their leaves? At Rockoff Tree Solutions, your trusted arborist in Boerne, TX, we often field calls from panicked residents about leaf drop. Many new property owners believe that the dead leaves signify environmental stress or disease. 

However, depending on the time of year, it can be a perfectly natural process. Read on to learn more about when it’s normal to see brown leaves on your trees. 

Oaks Lose Their Leaves Annually

Your oaks should drop their leaves in January and February. They do so because they are entering their dormant phase. They do this to save their strength for the growing season; however, as the weather starts to warm again, they spring back into action. 

The answer to “Do oak trees lose their leaves?” is different for live oaks. Live oaks may grow new leaves while shedding dead ones, but the regrowth is not as vigorous as it is in the spring. Both types enter a dormant phase, although live oaks are more active during theirs. 

When Should You Worry? 

Your next question is, undoubtedly, “Do oak trees lose their leaves at any other time of the year?” The answer is that they should not.

If they do, you may be dealing with diseased trees. To be sure, contact an arborist specializing in sustainable tree care services.  

We recommend seeking professional help as soon as possible, as it is easy to misdiagnose an illness. With speedy treatment, we might be able to save your tree. If you leave it for too long, the disease may spread. 

Oak Wilt

Oak wilt disrupts the tree’s internal water-conducting system. By attacking the xylem, the wilt spreads throughout the entire system from roots to the canopy. As the xylem dies off because of disease, the tree begins to die of thirst. 

Fungal Leaf Spotting

Fungal leaf spotting occurs in warm, humid conditions. The organism releases wind-borne spores that settle on leaves after the rain. As the fungus spreads, the leaves develop a spotted texture. The black or brown spots have a yellow outline, making them hard to miss. 

Eventually, the fungus will cover the entire leaf surface, killing it and causing it to drop. The danger here is that if the tree loses too many leaves, it will not be able to generate enough energy through photosynthesis. 


Several insects like to snack on, live in, and lay their eggs in oaks. The following list includes some of the worst offenders: 

  • Longhorn beetles
  • Oak leafrollers
  • Shot-hole borers
  • Flat-headed tree borers

The danger here is that an infestation will cause significant damage. The insects may also carry disease, or their actions may leave the oak more vulnerable to disease. 

Root Rot

Oaks drink a lot of water but do not like their roots to be wet constantly. Over-watering leaves the tree prone to disease, fungus, and rotting roots. If the rot damages more than a quarter of the root system, the tree is likely to die because it cannot access the nutrients it requires. 

Other Warning Signs

If you notice any of the following signs, your tree is in distress:

  • Losing leaves outside of the right season
  • A thinning canopy
  • Color changes to leave outside of the right season 

Contact professional arborists to check what the issue is and determine a strategy to correct it. 

Call Rockoff Tree Solutions for Professional Advice Today!

Now that you know the answer to “Do oak trees lose their leaves?” you know if your trees are in trouble. If you suspect that it’s oak wilt disease or something similar, contact our experts at Rockoff Tree Solutions at 830-955-0304 to schedule service today!