Japanese maple-is it dead?

Asked September 27, 2019, 12:48 PM EDT

I planted this small Japanese maple about 2 years ago. It’s never done great but it’s getting worse. I’m wondering if it’s worth trying to transplant it to a new spot? Or just cut my losses?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Your poor tree is really struggling.
We wouldn't recommend trying to move it. Even if it were to survive the odds of it ever thriving are quite low. It seems to be missing bark in several places and it's gracious form will not fill out given it's prior pruning and leaning difficulties.
We suggest starting over with a healthy, vigorous tree, well placed in the landscape in an area that gives it what that particular plants needs and wants, including the space to grow freely to it's mature size.

Here is our page on trees, their selection, planting and aftercare: https://www.extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/trees-shrubs

and here is a recent blog on Japanese Maples (which can be trickly to keep happy):