Everything looks pretty dreary and dead right now, but in just a few short weeks it will all have a green fresh tint. Take the time to look at the trees in your yard to see what's happening.
A sudden cold snap can short-circuit that process. Not only does the leaf color go directly from green to brown, the leaves stay attached because abscission tissue hadn't sufficiently developed.
We believe this is what happened with our Japanese Maple last fall. We had quite an early cold snap in October. This picture was taken two days ago with the leaves still in tact. We will simply wait and watch and hope the tree survives and new spring growth will push the dead leaves off of the tree.
If you have a tree like this in your yard, just allow nature to run its course. We will be keeping a close watch on our two year old tree this spring to make sure all is well.