Ask a Question forum: Can I revive this dead Japanese Maple?

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Name: Sabi
Nothern California (Zone 9a)
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sabigrows
Apr 26, 2018 11:05 AM CST
Last night my boyfriend and I took a Japanese Maple from our friend's house since they weren't caring for it. As you can see, it has no leaves. I read a little bit about the Japanese Maple and it says that they lose their leaves in the fall, and then in spring they appear again, but if they don't appear, it's likely the winter froze the seeds (or something along those lines?) and it won't bloom again until next spring.

I also read that in order to see if it's still alive, cut the suspected dead branch and if it's green it's likely to recover but if it's tan or dry, it's dead. I cut one small branch on the top off and a few fatter ones, and it was clearly dead.

Is there ANY hope in saving it? I don't know how long my friends had it, I honestly have never seen it before over there so I was surprised.



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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 26, 2018 11:17 AM CST
There are a couple ways to tell if a woody plant is alive. One is by 'snapping' a branch. A dead branch will break off but a live branch will bend.

The second is the scratch test. Scratch the bark with your fingernail. If it doesn't scratch (haed as a rock) its dead. If it scratches and the underlying tissue is brown, its dead. If the underlying tissue is green its still alive.

Good lucK!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Apr 26, 2018 11:17 AM CST
I would keep cutting it until you find live green wood. If it's all brown and dead looking, it's a goner. I hope you can find some green wood. If so, just keep it watered but not overwatered and watch it carefully. I wouldn't repot it or feed it right now even if you find live wood.
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Name: Sabi
Nothern California (Zone 9a)
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sabigrows
Apr 26, 2018 11:30 AM CST
DaisyI said:There are a couple ways to tell if a woody plant is alive. One is by 'snapping' a branch. A dead branch will break off but a live branch will bend.

The second is the scratch test. Scratch the bark with your fingernail. If it doesn't scratch (haed as a rock) its dead. If it scratches and the underlying tissue is brown, its dead. If the underlying tissue is green its still alive.

Good lucK!


It's DEFINITELY dead Sad Ah, wish I had gotten her sooner!
Name: Sabi
Nothern California (Zone 9a)
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sabigrows
Apr 26, 2018 11:30 AM CST
plantmanager said:I would keep cutting it until you find live green wood. If it's all brown and dead looking, it's a goner. I hope you can find some green wood. If so, just keep it watered but not overwatered and watch it carefully. I wouldn't repot it or feed it right now even if you find live wood.


She's definitely a goner, I'm bummed!
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Birds Dragonflies Ferns Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 26, 2018 11:36 AM CST
I have found Japanese maples to be VERY resilient. If this were my project, I'd move it to a shaded spot, out of the wind but with good air circulation, and keep it well watered. I would not prune it. Just let it be. If there are still viable parts, the tree will eventually start putting out little green shoots, usually along the main trunk and larger branches, but sometimes at the twig ends. You just never know. Once you've figured out which parts are alive and which are truly dead, then I'd cut out the dead parts. Mulch it well over winter and see what happens next spring. Good luck.
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Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 26, 2018 7:42 PM CST
Make sure to do the scrape/scratch test very low on the tree. Not just the branches. Then you will know.

😀

Mindi

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