Japanese maple problem

Asked May 17, 2020, 1:45 PM EDT

We moved in late April to a new home. The beautiful red maple looked neglected so I pruned a lot of deadwood, edged & mulched around it. Since then we’ve had a lot of rain but also a couple frosty nights and high winds. Are the dropped leaves a result of that or did I hurt it? I had many of them in the past but never saw one do this (just in the last 2 days)!

Baltimore County Maryland

3 Responses

This looks like symptoms of cold damage and we are receiving photos of Japanese maples like this from all over the state. Many plants were lured out of dormancy and then were hit with frosts and cold temperatures recently. You may also notice leaf drop. Any damaged leaves will eventually drop out. If the tree is otherwise healthy, it will push out new growth this spring/summer. No control is necessary.

We also notice that the tree may be planted too deeply (looks like a telephone pole coming out of the ground) and there is excessive mulch around the base of the trunk. You should be able to see the root flare at the base of the trunk. Remove the mulch and make sure it is no thicker than several inches and away from the base of the trunk. Here is more on planting too deeply and excessive mulch. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/planted-too-deeply

Keep your tree well watered during dry periods and make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and away from the trunk. You can send us more photos this season, if you notice additional symptoms.


Thanks for the prompt reply! This is a great service :)