I've had this Japanese Maple now for over 3 years

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I've clipped some of the lower branches of this Japanese Maple about a month ago. This is how it's growing now. Is it supposed to do this? These branches are basically bare. Did I clip to soon? Also the leaves are not looking too great, it looks like a bug is eating on them. Japanese Beetles perhaps, haven't seen many though.
i ve had this japanese maple now for over 3 years, gardening
i ve had this japanese maple now for over 3 years, gardening
  16 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Sep 24, 2013
    Those branches are new growth with only those few leaves on them and that's all there has ever been? What is around the base of your tree?

  • Peg Peg on Sep 24, 2013
    I would trim all branches back to give it more fullness & strength. Trimming makes a huge difference with all trees & shrubs. Mulch should be around the base of tree.

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 24, 2013
    Thank you Peg. We have one of those rubber rounds surrounding the tree, I thought that kind of served as mulch?

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 24, 2013
    No Douglas, actually it has been a very slow grower and these branches shot up after I put Miracle Grow stakes around the dripline, but I don't understand why no leaves? And I have one of those round rubber things you can buy at Lowes to put around the base, I thought it was to use as mulch?

  • Jean Connor Jean Connor on Sep 24, 2013
    I believe you need to remove the rubber ring and let the roots get air through the soil and also you should only put 1 or 2 inches of any soil or mulch around tree base of tree out to width of the tree top grass is ok just not a build up of soil or mulch remove old and only add 1 or 2 inches for decoration

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 24, 2013
    Thank you Jean, I'll try that.

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 24, 2013
    Rhonda, I took two more pictures as you can see. The bare branches do not look dead, although at the top of a couple of them, where they were starting to bud out, it was dead, most of them look ok. No black lesions that I can see. I'm not sure if there were leaves on them before or not as I was not here for a month. Possible it got some frost damage during the spring, I did lose a tree in our backyard because of it, but this tree looks a whole lot healthier then the other tree did and (not the same type of tree).

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 24, 2013
    So do I need to cut those branches back now?

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Sep 24, 2013
    I see new bud growth on those stems. If you cut it now, you run the risk of pushing even more new growth and a possible cold damage on tender new growth. It won't be long until the tree drops all the leaves anyway. My advise is to leave it as is and see what comes out in the spring and go from there.

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 24, 2013
    Thank you Rhonda, you've been very helpful!

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 24, 2013
    Thanks Donna, I kind of planned on doing that, it seems to make the most sense.

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 24, 2013
    Thanks again Rhonda

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Sep 25, 2013
    I would definitely get rid of the rubber ring and replace with real mulch (which should not touch the trunk), and no more fertilizer spikes.

  • Darlene F Darlene F on Sep 25, 2013
    All trimming should be done in late fall when there are no leaves (it is sleeping then) Jap Maples are very slow growing. and the green leaves instead of red mean it is not getting enough sun.. I would move this either late fall or early early spring to a more sunny place. (p.s. My husband is a nurseryman)

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 25, 2013
    That's the second comment to get rid of it. Done and thank you Douglas!

  • Sandy Bowlin Sandy Bowlin on Sep 25, 2013
    Mine unfortunately isn't, but I will try to get it moved. Thank you Darlene!