The Q&A Archives: Crispy Leaves On Maple

Question: My Japanese (bloodgood) maple has crispy leaves from top to bottom. It is a young tree. The branches or twigs are nice and purple and healthy looking. Do the leaves fall off in autumn? Do I keep watering it now?

Answer: Japanese maples are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves in the autumn. It's not usual for the leaves to turn crispy while they're still on the tree, though. Generally they turn from deep red to scarlet and then fall off on their own. Japanese maples need shelter from winds and constant heat, so a partly shady garden spot suits them well. They are sensitive to salt build up in the soil, and you can correct the problem by flooding the soil once or twice each season to leach out irritating salts. Trees and shrubs generally need about one-inch of water per week during periods of active growth, so continue to water your tree regularly until fall rains take over. Watch it carefully next spring to make sure new leaves appear. With the crispy leaves you describe, the tree may have been stressed by excessive heat or sunshine this past summer.

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