Leaf Scar on Trees: What Phoenix Residents Should Know

Did you visit your yard one morning and find your favorite specimen marred by mysterious blemishes? Should you worry about these marks when picking trees for your new landscaping project?

As a trusted certified arborist in Phoenix, our team at Tree Workers of Phoenix knows the ins and outs of leaf scar issues and how to address them. Keep reading as we highlight the crucial details and help you understand the nitty-gritty of these arboreal imperfections.

Natural Leaf Scars

Just like humans have marks to show for their scrapes and adventures, trees behave in a similar fashion. A leaf scar commonly refers to the spots left behind from fallen leaves.

Each leaf has a petiole that connects it to the main stem. As it ages and loses efficiency in food production, it naturally falls off and leaves an open wound. The area will heal over time and create a scab that’s helpful for tree identification. 

It is a natural part of plant physiology that shouldn’t worry you. If you find it a little unsightly, some specimens have smoother aesthetics and leave behind scars you’d almost miss if you blinked.

In some cases, leaf scars also refer to damaged leaves that have healed — for example, a hole that’s repaired itself, even if the edges still look ragged.

Marks From Environmental Stressors

Aside from falling leaves, leaf scars typically occur because of the following.

Weather Damage

Our trees in Phoenix are no strangers to the harshest of suns. If you have varieties that haven’t quite acclimated to our broiling temperatures, they might suffer from sunburnt leaves.

The area also experiences the occasional dust storms or even ice storms at higher elevations. These weather events can damage soft leaf tissue and bruise delicate bark.


The animal kingdom doesn’t always play nice with our arboreal friends. Insects like aphids and leaf miners will chew through those leafy greens like a hot knife through butter and leave them scarred.

Bigger critters like squirrels and birds may also join the feast; they’ll make their home in the canopy and pluck, peck, and pilfer their way through the foliage.


Many types of fungi, bacteria, and viruses attack trees and cause unsightly symptoms. Leaf rust browns foliage and impacts its ability to photosynthesize. Some infections create unsightly cankers or tumor-like growths on the leaf body.

Unfavorable Soil Conditions

Too much or a lack of certain substances in the surrounding soil can create leaf scar issues over time. Manganese deficiency creates yellowed leaves with green veins, while sodium toxicity gives leaves a brown, “burnt” appearance. 

Poor aeration is another culprit. Lack of oxygen impacts every part of the specimen and may eventually cause its demise.

What Should You Do?

Trees generally recover on their own when they sustain mechanical leaf damage. They naturally drop the affected leaf and direct their energy to fresher, more robust leaves.

Some cases require human intervention. Tailor-fit strategies like soil amendments and pest treatments can help swing the balance back in favor of your leafy companions.

Consult an Arboriculture Expert  

Scar identification is the first step to determining whether you’re dealing with a natural part of a tree’s life cycle or an arboreal SOS. Why risk the consequences of a misdiagnosis when Tree Workers of Phoenix has you covered?

Our urban forestry and landscaping crew will accurately assess your specimen and craft a tailored solution. We account for everything from the environmental impact to long-term tree health for your peace of mind — your living landscape is secure with us.

Dial 602-320-2797 to address your leaf scar concerns or read more of our blog to learn why trees stop growing.   


Tree Workers of Phoenix has been in business since 1994 and is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and International Society of
Arboriculture (ISA).


18402 N. 19th Ave. #115

Phoenix, AZ 85023

Phone: 602-320-2797

Email : rickthetreeexpert@gmail.com

Hours of Operation :

Monday - Sunday : 9:00am-5:00pm


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