I have an old Japanese Red Leaf Maple tree which only half leafed out this...
I have an old Japanese Red Leaf Maple tree which only half leafed out this year. I'm thinking I should have the soil tested for any possible diseases? Also, perhaps I should call an arborist to take a look at it? Please advise. If soil testing is necessary how do I go about this? Would pruning be necessary?
We cannot say why your tree is declining from your description. Send us digital photos of the tree so we can see what you may be dealing with. In general Japanese maples are very susceptible to environmental stressors such as drought, poor drainage, soil compaction, planting too deeply, etc.
At this point, all you can do is scratch the branches with your fingernail and look for green tissue. If you see it, the branch may still be viable. Otherwise the branch is dead and you will have to prune or consider removal.
A soil test does not test for diseases and will not reveal why your tree is declining. Soil test results give pH. liming, and nutrient deficiencies.
You do have the option of a site visit by a certified arborist http://www.treesaregood.org/