Ask a Question forum: Red Maple Tree not leafing

Views: 638, Replies: 19 » Jump to the end
toronto, canada
ap2015
May 10, 2018 11:21 AM CST
I trust someone can help me with a solution to a problem I have had with my red maple tree the last two seasons.

This is a beautiful tree that is just not budding any leaves. Last year a few came out but this year there is none. The year before that it was gorgeous in full bloom.

It appears that the tree has a lot of dead branches and red/white banding.
Added a few images to help.

I hope I can salvage this tree!

Thumb of 2018-05-10/ap2015/9dc7d3
Thumb of 2018-05-10/ap2015/00038b
Thumb of 2018-05-10/ap2015/2054d6
Thumb of 2018-05-10/ap2015/9bb2c9
Thumb of 2018-05-10/ap2015/a24c6d

toronto, canada
ap2015
May 10, 2018 12:44 PM CST
To add to this, I have removed some branches that were 'brittle'

Any help is appreciated. :)
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
May 10, 2018 1:38 PM CST
Welcome!

It looks rather dead. Are there any buds on it at all? If you can find anywhere on it that scraping the surface of a twig with a finger nail shows green instead of brown then some of it may be alive but it doesn't look very hopeful I'm afraid.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 10, 2018 1:41 PM CST
Welcome!

Do a 'scratch test' on the trunk. Scratch the bark with your fingernail. If the tissue under the bark is green at least part of your tree is alive. If you can't scratch it or the tissue under the bark is brown, your tree is dead.

Just looking at your photos, you tree is dead. Before you try again, try to figure out what went wrong with this tree. We can help you but need specifics: in a pot or in the grond, sun exposure, watering schedule, fertilizing schedule.... anything you can add. A photo from a distance will also help. Was this a Japanese Maple?
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

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
Image
quercusnut
May 11, 2018 5:43 AM CST
Yep. That looks like a lot of dead wood. Same thing happened to two of my Japanese maples this year. I don't know why the entire upper part died. We had colder than usual temps this winter but nothing severe enough to kill them. They are now sprouting from the base. They were both dissectums -- Waterfall and Baldsmith. They were both about 3 ft' tall and I've had them about 7 or 8 years.
Baldsmith has put out almost 12" of new growth at the base but right above the graft union so I will still have a Baldsmith with probably a better branch structure suited to where it is growing instead of the one it came with.
Waterfall however is putting out new growth below the graft union but it's still dissectum foliage so who knows what the understock is. But so far it looks nice and I think I'll be very happy with it. I didn't like its original branch structure anyway but I lived with it. I am excited to see what the new tree will be.
So. Keep an eye out to see if your maple sprouts new growth. Be very careful pruning out the dead wood. The new growth will be fragile until it hardens off. Best of luck and enjoy your new tree. Though it may turn out green instead of red.
toronto, canada
ap2015
May 11, 2018 6:28 AM CST
Thank you everyone,

Yes it is a Japanese Maple Tree.
I am bummed because it was the nicest tree in my backyard.

I scratched the bark at a few places and most of them were brown but there was a hint of green at one spot.

This tree is in the ground and was watered once a week (I don't water it on weeks it rains)
It gets ample sunshine in the morning and afternoon and is in the shade in the evenings.
I have never fertilized this tree.

My question is 'how do I start again'. Do I have to cut down the tree and find another sapling or can I salvage what I have and how?
I apologize if this question is too basic. I am new to the game of handling trees (as evidenced with the maple!)
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Dahlias Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
pirl
May 11, 2018 7:25 AM CST
So sorry about your loss. You could hope for the best and plant a clematis nearby. Allow it to climb the tree. That's not a substitute for your JM, I know.
Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
Image
quercusnut
May 11, 2018 8:43 AM CST
ap2015 said:

My question is 'how do I start again'. Do I have to cut down the tree and find another sapling or can I salvage what I have and how?
I apologize if this question is too basic. I am new to the game of handling trees (as evidenced with the maple!)


Did you read my post? Watch for new growth near the base. Usually when a tree sprouts from the base the new growth is more vigorous. If you have patience it shouldn't be too many years before it's as tall as before.
Of course, if it doesn't break new growth then yes, you would have to start over.

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
May 11, 2018 10:06 AM CST
Can you show us a picture of the base of the tree where the trunk meets the soil?

Did you plant the tree, and if so do you know which Japanese maple cultivar it is?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 11, 2018 10:32 AM CST
Is your tree grafted? If so, and the new shoots (assuming the root is alive) come from below the graft, you will have a 'whatever-the-rootstock-is' tree.
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

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
May 11, 2018 10:41 AM CST
Unless you want to deal with misery, i.e. trying to save that which cannot be saved, dig it up and get another.

Small trees have a tendency die from what ever causes than large or even middle sized trees.
You can try to save it if there is enough green to consider that , but odds are it will die anyway.
toronto, canada
ap2015
May 11, 2018 10:45 AM CST
quercusnut said:

Did you read my post? Watch for new growth near the base. Usually when a tree sprouts from the base the new growth is more vigorous. If you have patience it shouldn't be too many years before it's as tall as before.
Of course, if it doesn't break new growth then yes, you would have to start over.



Hi quercusnut,

Yes I did. :)
I am going to follow through your recommendations. Be patient, wait for new growth and then prune the tree accordingly.
I heard from a couple people I spoke with that they need to be burlap'd in the winter. I will start doing that starting this winter


Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
May 11, 2018 10:59 AM CST
I have a 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple which, at least at one time, was considered the hardiest cultivar. I have always wrapped it for winter with a burlap cylinder stuffed with fallen leaves from other trees, or the trimmings of ornamental grasses. It is really outside of its hardiness zone here but it has survived several years that way, although the first winter the top died so it is now more of a bush from the new base growth.

Although you're in a somewhat milder winter area there in To than I am here in eastern Ontario, it wouldn't hurt to burlap yours if you get another, or if that one survives, especially if it's not 'Bloodgood' or one of the newer more hardy ones. I think it was unusually cold for Toronto during part of this last winter?

The reason I asked about a picture of the base is to ensure that it was not planted too deep which can result in a tree declining over the years.. If it was, and you plant a replacement, you would need to be careful not to do that again.
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Birds Dragonflies Ferns Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
May 11, 2018 11:07 AM CST
I find Japanese maples to be very resilient. I'd give it love and support this season and see if it rebounds. If you get no new growth at all, then it is likely dead. You may, however, be surprised to find new growth. Best of luck!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
toronto, canada
ap2015
May 11, 2018 11:13 AM CST
Thank you for all your responses.
Such a great group.

I will take a photo of the base of the tree tonight.
I have attached a photo of my backyard (the JM is in the middle of the two Junipers)
Perhaps that shows a little bit of the base when blown up.

The tree was already planted when I got there a couple years ago.
My understanding is that the previous owner was a landscaper and planted these in.


Thumb of 2018-05-11/ap2015/2830fe

[Last edited by ap2015 - May 11, 2018 11:14 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1705980 (15)
Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
Image
quercusnut
May 11, 2018 11:26 AM CST
RpR said:Unless you want to deal with misery, i.e. trying to save that which cannot be saved, dig it up and get another.

Small trees have a tendency die from what ever causes than large or even middle sized trees.
You can try to save it if there is enough green to consider that , but odds are it will die anyway.


Completely disagree. In fact younger, smaller trees have a better chance of resprouting and making a new desirable tree than old ones. If it resprouts odds are it will live to be a new healthy tree as good as or better than the original.
That doesn't mean it might not be susceptible to future damage whatever the cause may be.

Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
May 11, 2018 12:27 PM CST
quercusnut said:

Completely disagree. In fact younger, smaller trees have a better chance of resprouting and making a new desirable tree than old ones. If it resprouts odds are it will live to be a new healthy tree as good as or better than the original.
That doesn't mean it might not be susceptible to future damage whatever the cause may be.

One bad year, maybe, if you have some idea of what may be wrong.
If an established larger tree loses a small section , cut it out and odds are at least fifty-fifty it will survive, but then that also means you may have to treat it if you know what the problem may be.
Small trees that lose part one year, and they lose even more the next year , GENERALLY, show the tree is dying.
Odds are efforts will some times seem to maybe be working, then it gets worse, then one year it is dead.

If she wishes to try to save it it is a good learning exercise but I doubt from her, description that it will not die.


Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
May 11, 2018 12:33 PM CST
Just FYI all and FWIW, Toronto would be equivalent to around zone 5b/6a USDA equivalent:

http://planthardiness.gc.ca/im...
[Last edited by sooby - May 11, 2018 12:33 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1706074 (18)
Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
Image
quercusnut
May 11, 2018 1:55 PM CST
All I know is my own experience. I've had poorly performing, nearly dead trees, oaks, maples, etc. come back better than before and become beautiful trees after being cut to the ground. YMMV.
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Birds Dragonflies Ferns Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
May 11, 2018 3:28 PM CST
POIU
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by touchofsky and is called "Catmint and Geranium"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.