The Q&A Archives: Paperbark Maple Won't Leaf Out

Question: I planted a Paperbark Maple (Acer Griseum) last fall. We're now past the middle of May, and there's no sign that the tree is ready to "leaf" anytime soon. I've scraped back a tiny bit of bark on parts of the tree, and it is quite green just under the bark.

I've read that this tree is "late to leaf", but this seems to be taking that term to an unusual extreme. I don't even see any indication that the leaf buds are ready to burst.

Answer: Acer griseum, the Paperbark Maple, is extremely slow to leaf out each year. In your gardening region you may not see any signs of life until early June, depending upon how warm a winter and spring you've experienced. As the tree matures it will leaf out a few weeks earlier. I think you'll find it's worth the wait - the dark green leaves turn brilliant red in the fall. Since leafing out is genetic, and triggered by environmental conditions, there's really nothing you can do to speed the process.

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