Coral Bark Japanese Maple getting brown leaves

Asked May 30, 2018, 9:19 PM EDT

About a month ago I planted a Coral Bark Japanese Maple in full sun. It had been doing great until about a week ago. I water every few days. Now leaves are turning brown. It did turn warm recently and I watered a little extra so wondering if it’s getting too much water?

Piatt County Illinois

3 Responses

From your photo, I see that you have done a good job of mulching and pulling the mulch away from the base of the newly planted tree. Also, I see that your tree is showing the classic sign of leaf scorch - the browning of leaf edges. This is a sign of either too little water or too much water.
Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku', or Coral Bark Japanese Maple like a moist, well drained, organic soil. In other words, this tree likes moisture, but not wet roots. A moist soil means moist to the touch and not WET. Your best soil moisture tester to determine whether you soil is dry, moist or wet is your index finger.
I am a little worried that you may have over-watered your tree. Remember - a newly planted tree needs a total of 1 inch of water per week including any rainfall. Your mulching is great as long as it it not applied at a depth greater than 4 inches.
Please take a moment to pull back your mulch and see how wet or dry the soil is near your tree. If it is wet to the touch, do not water for a week, then recheck it in a week. Here is a link to a publication from the University of Nebraska that describes care of newly planted trees.

Great thank you for the reply. I did pull back the mulch and it appeared wet, not just moist. I’ll refrain from watering for a week and will see how it looks. Thanks again!

You’re welcome. If you have further questions, you can reach me at: dgucker@illinois.edu