The top of my Japanese maple is dead. Can I cut it off?

Debbie Zellner
by Debbie Zellner
7 year old Japanese maple tree that appears to be healthy but the top is dead.
  8 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on May 07, 2018

    remove the dead branch and the suckers that are growing on the bottom.

  • Ellen Tanioka Ellen Tanioka on May 08, 2018

    Japanese maple trees go dormant at a certain time of year, I was told by local garden shop. Tree may look like it's dead but it is not.

    • Betty Betty on May 08, 2018

      If the tree went dormant, it would be the whole tree. The picture shows the rest of the tree with healthy branches & leaves.

  • Pla7352633 Pla7352633 on May 08, 2018

    We had one planted in a bad place. My husband cut it down. It grew back!

  • Mkl Mkl on May 08, 2018

    I would remove any dead wood and the suckers as mentioned earlier. THe tree could just have some storm damage.

  • Rockyroad Rockyroad on May 08, 2018

    Most Jap Maples are grafted . Red, both upright and weeping like this one , are often grafted onto green understock . Make sure not to prune below the graft . Photo ( a bit unclear) looks like only a few dead branches above the graft , feel free to cut them , no problem !

  • Rose Broadway Rose Broadway on May 08, 2018

    If you live in an area that has frigid winters, as we do in Missouri, it could be damaged from that. We lost bushes and plants this past winter that were years old. Like they aid, cut the dead part off.

  • Diana Hoffman Jenning Diana Hoffman Jenning on May 08, 2018

    Our Japanese Maple is 25 years old and was severely damaged after a hard Spring freeze 3 years ago. We lost all but 5 big branches coming out of the sides. Hubby wanted to remove it thinking it was going to die anyway and it was truly an eyesore. I decided to cut all of the dead wood out (including the top) and cut back the live long branches since I had nothing to lose. It is now back to full bloom and beautiful!

  • Faith Clark Faith Clark on Nov 06, 2018

    My tree looks similar but branches don't look dead, but didn't leaf out. Can I wait til spring to prune just in case it comes out next year or am I dreaming?