Question: I noticed that my maple is starting to have dry or dead tips on the branches, is this normal? what can i do to prevent it from getting worse? Its March 3 and the temp, outside is about 45 degree. And should i prune?

Answer: The unusual weather last fall and winter and the oscillating temperatures are stressing many plants and as a result we are seeing winter damage to branch tips and in some cases more extensive than just the tips. I would wait until after your last expected frost date and the weather is settled before you prune the dead tips because they offer a bit of protection to the remaining wood. Remove only wood that is truly dead -- discolored, dry and brittle enough to snap in your hand, no green inside. Then in May or June when the tree has fully leafed out you can tidy it up a bit more if necessary to restore a more or less symmetrical look. There is not much you can do except make sure it is mulched with two to three inches of organic mulch year round, not overfertilized, and watered in dry spells so the soil stays evenly moist like a wrung out sponge. Protection from winter wind and hot summer sun can also help, but that would mean having planting it in a sheltered site. I hope your tree is okay.

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