Dying Japanese maple

Asked July 8, 2019, 3:54 PM EDT

I have a Japenese maple in my front yard that has shriveling leaves. The tree is only 13 years old.

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9 Responses

Some many causes can impact a tree that we will need more information to help you. Please send focused close-up and wide photos of the tree attached to a reply.
Your other option is to contact a tree service company and arrange for a certified arborist on staff to look at the tree. Usually, there is no charge except for work done. You can contact an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) near you at : www.treesaregood.org

Ellen

This tree looks like it is past recovery. We cannot say from the photos what is killing it. No disease or insect issue is visible.

Many trees have died recently from too-wet soils, both from the abnormally high rainfall (2 times normal) resulting in flooding and soggy soils that have continued this spring. Most plants will not tolerate soggy soils for any extended period of time, because their roots need oxygen and the water pushes the oxygen out of the soils.

Ellen

Why did it die so suddenly? Could I have done anything? Is it safe to replant in the same location?

Why did it die so suddenly? Could I have done anything? Is it safe to replant in the same location?

Often a stressed/declining tree will limp through the winter because there are no demands on it then--it's cool, damp and the tree is dormant. In spring, it will leaf out and bloom, too, in a last gasp to perpetuate itself. But it will not be able to handle the stress of high heat and droughts of summer (yes, we have already had some very dry spells), and it will seem to die overnight.

You could not have done anything to save it by the time it showed distress.

Yes, you can replant in the same location, but if you are aware of the soil staying soggy there for long periods, choose plants that tolerate saturated soils. We always recommend native plants for their benefit to the environment. There are many beautiful ones.

Ellen

What trees would you recommend to replace my maple? I don't want one that gets too tall. I dwarf species of some type, I think.

Redbuds, American dogwoods (disease resistant Cherokee varieties, styrax japonica, crabapple (many varieties, be sure it is the right height and disease resistant) are all good choices.


Ellen