Asked on Jun 19, 2013

Is Something Wrong with my Mom's Japanese Maple?

Teresa D
by Teresa D
I was up in Indianapolis, IN this past weekend and my momwas showing me her Japanese Maple. Sheis wondering what’s wrong with it. Itold her I would see what I could find out. It has very few leaves and many of the tips look like the end of acigarette with ash. (see picture) Thelimbs still seem viable. They are flexible, not brittle. I was able to knock off some of the “ash-like”ends but many of them were just as flexible as the rest of the limb.
I’m not sure what kind of Japanese maple it is. (coral bark maybe?) She has had it for maybe 6 years and this isthe first year it has done this. Sheoffered that my nephews may have damaged it by running into it with the lawnmower when cutting the grass. See imageof trunk. Any suggestions you mightoffer would be appreciated!
is something wrong with my mom s japanese maple, gardening, Very few leaves and it s June
Very few leaves and it's June!
is something wrong with my mom s japanese maple, gardening, See bottom of tree Maybe this was damage from being rammed with the lawn mower Darn nephews
See bottom of tree. Maybe this was damage from being rammed with the lawn mower? Darn nephews!
is something wrong with my mom s japanese maple, gardening, Tried to get a close up of the leaves for identification
Tried to get a close up of the leaves for identification.
is something wrong with my mom s japanese maple, gardening, See the tips look like the end of a burning cigarette
See the tips look like the end of a burning cigarette.
is something wrong with my mom s japanese maple, gardening, Another view
Another view
  15 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Jun 19, 2013
    I am sorry to say I would be surprised if that poor tree makes it. It doesn't look like a Coral Bark or Bloodgood Japanese Maple. It appears to be a dissectum (lace-leaf), but it is difficult to identify beyond that with the few damaged leaves. It looks like there has been enough damage that the tree can't send enough energy up to the tips to make leaves. Your Mother can cut the dead stuff off, take the grass up around it and mulch so that the nephews don't have to take the mower so close to the tree. Make sure it gets plenty of water and just wait and see. I would not add too much fertilizer, maybe something organic and very mild to stimulate the roots 5-10-8 .

  • Judy Judy on Jun 20, 2013
    Darn those nephews indeed! If it doesn't make it tell them they owe Mom a new tree....

  • Teresa D Teresa D on Jun 21, 2013
    :-( Incidentally, I took one of my japanese maple saplings (?) up there for her. It will be much larger than this one, if Donna was right that that was a lace leaf. Maybe I should tell her to have them plant it there instead of in the backyard.

  • Dorothy Schere Dorothy Schere on Jun 21, 2013
    Try to find out if your state and county has an agricultural extension. I think they are in every state and one of their services is to diagnose plant ailments.

  • Teresa D Teresa D on Jun 24, 2013
    It's interesting that 2 of my nephews just got jobs with landscaping companies. I hope they teach them the proper way to care for landscapes before they turn them loose on anyone else's yard. Thanks for the input guys!

  • Nathy Lavoie Nathy Lavoie on Jun 24, 2013
    What you could also do is make a bed around the tree covered of mulch so they will not mow to close to the tree trunk. But first remove the lawn around the trunk.

  • Evelyn McMullen Evelyn McMullen on Jun 24, 2013
    I had one branch that leafed out, thought the rest was just dead. I just waited and it all eventually came into flower & is beautiful. Hang in there.

  • Tanya Peterson Felsheim Tanya Peterson Felsheim on Jul 08, 2013
    I was going to write this big long thing but this says almost exactly what I was going to say but better!

  • Anna Marie Gustafson Anna Marie Gustafson on Aug 20, 2013
    I had a J. Maple that did not do well after a week of high wind and extreme heat. Crunchy and curling leaves...I removed all the leaves, even the healthy ones and in a few weeks, all new leaves were sprouting...this works many times, and at times, it may not...nothing to lose here it seems...ask a nursery if "deleafing" is something they would recommend.

  • Shelby24019 Shelby24019 on Sep 16, 2013
    I had a Bloodgood maple and it did the same thing. In the end I found out it had died from a fungus in the soil. Learned the hard way, dug that one up and planted new one in the same spot. When the second one started looking sick I took it up, soaked the roots in some diluted peroxide water and replanted it in another place. Still have it.

  • Marian Peppers Marian Peppers on Oct 26, 2013
    Just checked out Tanyas website info. it has very good advice for maintaining the japanese maple. It helped me out as far as being a first time grower.

  • Cindy Lind Cindy Lind on Feb 04, 2014
    its a laceleaf for sure i have one,how sad that your moms got ruined :(

  • Jean McKay Jean McKay on Mar 31, 2014
    I have a green Japanese maple. I agree with others, take out the grass around the tree at least a foot to 2 feet, and turn up the soil, check under the bark for green or brown, fertilize it with a natural fertilizer like cold manure, water it, and let it be, parts of it may take, it has been a very late spring...hang in there but do give it a chance with grass removal..

  • Grace Gleason Grace Gleason on Apr 19, 2014
    Aside from a bad case of lawnmower disease, it's also suffering from poor pruning practices. Someone needs to read up on that before lopping anything else off the poor tree.

  • Nancy Rhodes C Nancy Rhodes C on May 14, 2014
    Regardless of anything, I would take a part of that tree and have it analyzed by the extension center. I had an important American Boxwood that got infected some years ago. I took a good sample of it to our Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. within a week I had a full report. I moved the boxwood as suggested and it is very beautiful today. I found out late about the implosion of our beautiful Parliament House and I wanted a souvenir but they had nothing left. I looked around outside and asked If I could have the boxwood. I named it Doris Day because she was one of the first contributors to the existence of the Parliament House. Actually the boxwood looked as sick as your mother's Japanese maple so I am so grateful to these people that I still have my Doris Day.