The Q&A Archives: Japanese Red Maple

Question: I have a Red Maple that received lots of ice last winter. This year it is putting on leaves, but they are only on side shoot limbs. The trunk of the tree has no leaves, does this mean the tree is probably dead, or could it go ahead and grow? If so what should I be doing for the tree? Thanks

Answer: It's possible the top of the tree died over the winter months. Try scraping the bark on the bare branches. Use your fingernail to remove a little of the bark and look for green tissue just below the bark. Green means its alive and there's still hope it will leaf out; brown tissue means it is dead and can be pruned away. If most of the branches are dead the tree may not recover. The green shoots indicate the roots are still alive, but depending upon the size and age of the tree and where the shoots are emerging, it might be best to simply replace the tree. Wish I had better news for you!

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