The Q&A Archives: Crimson King

Question: I purchased and planted a Crimson King Maple in October of 2000. It appears to be alive, however, it has not flowered and there are no leaves. When it is scratched with my nail (trunk & branches) it is green. Other Crimson King Maples in the neighborhood have leaves at this time. What could be the problem?

Answer: I'm sorry for the delay in answering your question. It's our busiest time of year, so we're a little backed up!

I hope by now that your tree has leafed out. If it hasn't it probably isn't alive, despite the results of your "scratch test." It could be that you planted your tree just a little too late for it to develop enough of a root system to keep it from being heaved around by alternate freeze/thaw cycles in the soil. Frost heaving can damage roots to the point of killing a tree. If you have to plant a tree in the fall, the best way to avoid this problem is to plant in early fall, water the plants deeply and regularly so they develop a strong root system, and then mulch the soil with a few inches of bark mulch as soon as the ground freezes. The mulch will keep the ground frozen, preventing a freeze/thaw cycle and frost heaving.

At any rate, I hope this isn't the case, and that your tree is on it's way to catching up with the rest of the 'Crimson Kings' in the neighborhood!

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