Our small Japanese Maple (Bloodgood?)in ground for the third year leafed out...

Asked June 10, 2014, 4:18 PM EDT

Our small Japanese Maple (Bloodgood?)in ground for the third year leafed out fine this spring but within a few weeks the leaves began to deteriorate with brownish spots (beginning at stem) and eventually engulfing the whole leaf. All leaves now look dead. I can see no insects and no other blemishes on the trunk or branches. I suspect anthracnose (according to my Jap. Maple book)but have no way to verify that. My book says it should be destroyed and burned. Can you think of any other disease that could be affecting it which can be treated. No other diseases described in my book seem to apply. It was beautiful last year. It is planted near other trees/bushes but seems to have enough openess for air flow and should get enough sun. Two other Jap.Maples some distance away seem just fine and healthy. Do not want them to catch whatever this is.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Japanese maple can be susceptible to anthracnose but cannot say for sure that is the reason for the decline. These trees can be susceptible to many environmental stresses such as drought, poor drainage, too much moisture, temperature extremes, too much mulch, planting too deeply, etc. When stressed by environmental and site problems the tree can be susceptible to insects and disease problems.
Japanese maples grow best in moist high organic matter in well drained soil and likes protection from sweeping winds. Foliage is susceptible to late spring frosts as it leafs out early. Ideally likes dappled shade.
At this point, scratch the branches with your fingernail and look for green tissue. If you see it, wait and see if the tree sends out new leaves. If you notice additional symptoms, send us photos so we can see what you may be dealing with.