My father has a mature Japanese maple in his front yard which until this year...

Asked May 8, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT

My father has a mature Japanese maple in his front yard which until this year has been the picture of good health. This spring, 2/3 of the tree appears dead (the other 1/3 has leafed out and looks normal. Are there typical diseases associated with Japanese maple that can cause this, or is this possibly the result of a particularly hard winter? We are assuming it cannot recover from this...

Prince George's County Maryland trees and shrubs japanese maples winter burn

1 Response

There is a good possibility that your father's Japanese maple tree is suffering from 'winter burn'. Many species of trees and shrubs suffered similarly as a result of the severe winter we just experienced. Since we have having a late spring, as well, it may be appropriate for him to wait a couple of weeks and see how the tree responds. Any dead wood could be pruned out at that time. He could also give the affected branches the 'thumbnail' test. Scratch off a little bark and examine the underlying tissue. If it is green, it is still alive. If it is brown, it is dead and could be pruned out.
LS