The Q&A Archives: Leaf Damage on Japanese Maple

Question: Received a Japanese Red Maple as a gift. After several months it has developed tiny holes on almost all of its leaves. Also the edges of the leaves are turning brown and curling. Suspecting insect damage, I've sprayed. Is there anything else that I should be doing?

Answer: Based on your description, it is impossible to give an exact diagnosis of the problem. However, a common reason for leaf browning and curling leaf edges is sun/heat and/or drought stress. The Japanese maples as a group tend to do best planted in partial or dappled shade and away from heat-reflective surfaces such as pavement and buildings. These treees also prefer a moist yet well drained soil (not soggy) with ample organic matter worked in. Newly planted trees should be carefully watered throughout their first year up until the ground freezes for the winter. A good deep soaking once a week or so, combined with several inches of mulch, should be sufficient by now since the tree has been there for several months. (Use your finger to check the soil moisture an inch or two below the surface. If it's dry, the tree needs water.) You might want to consult with a professional arborist or your County Extension (tel. 788-1338) for a more definite diagnosis of the problem and suggested remedies, if any. Good luck with your tree!

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