I have written extensively about Tropical Storm Irene and the damage it inflicted on our gardens and our trees. Most of the trees here on the RI coast lost their leaves. The salt spray turned them from green to crispy brown, and a few days later, we saw abscission: the leaves just fell off the way they do in the fall – only this was late summer.
This was not a death sentence for our deciduous trees, because at that point in the growing season, they had stored enough nutrients and didn’t depend on their leaves so much. So I assumed that the branches would remain bare until next spring.
I was surprised one morning about three weeks later, to see new, green leaves emerging on the neighbor’s Norway maple. The Japanese maple nearby still clung to its dead brown leaves, but there were new, red ones coming out on this tree, too. I started looking around at other trees and shrubs, and many of them were also putting out new foliage.
These young leaves don’t seem to be showing any autumn color, though, and my guess is they’ll probably just fall.
I came across some very useful information on how to help trees prepare for and survive hurricanes. It’s put out by the University of Florida Extension, and you can access it here.