Acer palmatum dissectum-lace-leaf Japanese Red Maple ~ 14 years old 8 ft...

Asked June 16, 2013, 3:06 PM EDT

Acer palmatum dissectum-lace-leaf Japanese Red Maple ~ 14 years old 8 ft wide, 5 ft tall Problem first noted a few days ago In full to part sun I noticed that the color is very pale and leaves are relatively droopy. It looks sickly. No pestcides or fertilizers applied. Drainage has been fine. Never had a problem. In June, I applied bulk black mulch and soil. I have always received compliments as it is a striking tree. Can you determine if something is wrong with my tree? We have had a lot of rain and wind. Could that be the problem? Should I treat it? If so, how? Thank you.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

The additional soil and mulch that was applied around your Japanese Maple tree in June has apparently suffocated the roots. You should rake as much of the soil and mulch away from the tree, as possible. Maple tree roots are very shallow, so the additional soil and mulch denies them oxygen and water. Mulch should never be allowed to touch the base of a woody tree or shrub and the root flair should be visible. More than two inches of soil or mulch can have a detrimental effect on any tree, but especially a maple tree. You may be able to salvage the tree, but you should act now. The working roots of the tree extend beyond the dripline, so clean out the excess soil/mulch at least to the dripline.