The Q&A Archives: Japanese maples are scorched

Question: My three Japanese Maples are scorched. I would like to help them recover, but don't know how. I purchased them from Marina Del Rey Nursery in April. I water them from the tap, and from our fountain. The pots seem to have a lot of roots in them, but I was told not to transplant them till the fall when they have lost all their leaves. I was also told that I should use special soil when I do transplant them.
Is the information I received correct?
The trees are on a west facing patio, under an umbrella.
I plan on keeping them in this location as it is our only patio large enough.
what can I do to help them recover and prevent this from happening again?
Thank you for making this feature available.

Answer: Fall is really the best time to transplant your maples. If you're going to keep them in containers, you can use any good potting soil or even a 50-50 mixture of garden soil and potting soil. The leaves of Japanese maples can develop crispy margins if they are exposed to hot afternoon sunshine or if they receive too much nitrogen fertilizer (which shows up as scorched leaves). It sounds as though your trees are getting mostly shade, but you might want to watch and see just how much direct sunlight they are actually receiving. The leaves are also susceptible to wind burn. Maples like moist but not overly wet soils. I feed mine with a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season. This method provides a constant souce of nutrients without the possiblility of overfertilization. You might try this method to avoid root burn.

Hope this information helps you determine just what is causing the leaf scorch in your maples so you can avoid the same problems next summer.

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