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Diseased Horse Chestnut Trees

diseased leaves

For the third summer in a row, the leaves of the city’s horse chestnut trees are covered in brown spots and turning brown. In another few weeks they’ll shrivel up, die, and fall prematurely. According to one source, this is caused by the larvae of a leafminer moth. Others say it’s the heatwave or even salt (although there’s not enough snow in Paris to need lots of salt). Supposedly the trees won’t die, but it sure looks butt ugly. 

Update July 2021: the confirmed leafminer attack on horse chestnut trees (marronniers) continues throughout the city of Paris as well as the forests surrounding the Ile-de-France. Entire parks, like the Domaine de Versailles and the Parc de St-Cloud (pictured below), show the ravages by mid-July. There is no way to cure them all, so the trees are slowly replaced when possible in smaller parks and gardens in the city, but for the larger forests where this isn’t feasible, we will likely continue to see the leaves of the horse chestnuts do their annual early browning-shriveling-dying cycle indefinitely.

diseased horse chestnut tree


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  • Thanks for the information. I was trying to figure out why the beautiful horse chestnut trees on our road turn autumnal by mid-July every year and a quick Google search lead me here. Mystery solved.

  • If it makes you feel any better, the horsechestnut trees here in Michigan look the same. There is some kind of disease they’ve been suceptible to, which does’nt kill them but makes them look like crap by the end of the season. Michigan and Paris, so similar…..