Silver maple dropping black things

Q: We have a silver maple that is dropping dark black things. It is coming from the limbs that are in the early budding stage. Any ideas?

A: Wow, I had never noticed this before you pointed it out. I think what you’re seeing is frozen leaf buds.

This can happen when we have a few warm days, causing buds to expand, followed by freezing temperatures that kill them. The tree naturally drops the frozen buds.

This being a silver maple, I’m sure there are plenty more buds to replace them.