Residual dead leaves on japanese maples

Asked January 13, 2018, 10:01 AM EST

Most of my japanese maples are still full of dead leaves. They never exfoliated to leave bare branches. Will this affect new growth in the spring? Should I just let them be?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

This is most likely weather related. Some other plants also either dropped leaves very late (December!) or did not drop them at all as they normally do. Temperatures this fall stayed higher than normal late into the season and then we had a sudden cold snap. The trees did not have their gradual hardening off process and the leaves remained on the tree. The leaves stayed attached because abscission tissue had not sufficiently developed. Apparently the unusual weather interfered this year.

The brown leaves should drop on their own at winter's end when new leaves start growing. Unless your tree has other issues they should start growing normally next spring.