Asked on May 27, 2014


Madelyn Upleger
by Madelyn Upleger
I have 3 Japanese Maples, and all 3 have many dead branches in the middle of them. They seem to be trying to grow leaves, but they are pretty much bare. Anyone have ant ideas why this is happening? We did have a bad winter in MI.
  7 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 27, 2014
    It sounds like winter die-back. Cut back the dead branches a little and look for any sign of green (usually just inside the bark). Keep cutting back until you find signs of life. Keep the trees well watered so that they don't undergo any further stress. Do not fertilize until it looks like they are fully on the mend. Good luck!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on May 27, 2014
    I have no idea what to do with a tree, but our Gardenia bushies were wrecked from the cold! We cut them to about 2' or less off the ground and they are trying to come back. With bushes, the limbs will grow back longer and usually taking a few out will make no difference...but with trees I don't know. This is the first time in my 42 years in Georgia that we have had shrubs damaged from is also the first time we have had this much hard freezing weather days in a row!
  • Sue C Sue C on May 27, 2014
    a few years ago a friend of mine went and cut all the dead branches off my Japanese red maple and it blossomed and again full of the tiny helicopters. Now even though the trunk appears not to be in the greatest of shape it has new life and grown maybe 10 feet.
  • Madelyn Upleger Madelyn Upleger on May 28, 2014
    Thanks, @Douglas Hunt . I will check that out. It's such a shame it's right in the middle. I doubt it will grow new branches there, but maybe some will grow over the spot and cover the bare spot!! The one tree is 25 yrs old and was so beautiful. It's the variety that has red leaves, where the sun hits it, and green underneath. Always looked like it had lights inside at sunset!!
  • Madelyn Upleger Madelyn Upleger on May 28, 2014
    Thanks, Jeanette and Sue!!!
  • Madelyn Upleger Madelyn Upleger on Jun 01, 2014
    This was answered the best it could be. I've found many others in my area with the same problem. Does seem to be from the harsh winter we had.
  • Lcr346438 Lcr346438 on Jun 06, 2014
    My J Maple is red on sunny side & green on shade side. It also has a lot of branches in the middle without leaves. We had a really bad long Midwest winter. Hopefully, with any luck & trying the above mentioned remedies it will fill out. thank you for the information.