The Q&A Archives: Japanese Maple

Question: In spring of 96' I transplanted a laceleaf maple to a semi shaded area with good drainage. The next season it grew like crazy to almost 3 more feet. that fall of 97' the leaves curled up and died. It came back this spring with all new growth at the bottom, none at the top. Yesterday, I looked at it and it was dead. Same thing, curled up leaves. I know it wasn't a frost because we haven't had one in our area yet. It is also in a protected area. Is this a common problem for this tree? They are very expensive.

Answer: Japanese maples seem especially susceptible to leaf scorch, so it's a common problem unless the plant is in a perfect environment. There are many causes - plants that are under stress from transplanting, drought, or heat stress can develop brown leaf margins and wilted,crispy-dry leaves. To help avoid problems, irrigate during dry periods, and wet the entire root zone, but do not overwater. Avoid injury to the roots and trunk. Compacted soil, reflected heat, and excessive salts from fertilizers, all contribute to maple leaf scorch.

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