Japanese Maple Dying

Discussion in 'Acer palmatum cultivars (photos)' started by Kelli, May 20, 2023.

  1. Kelli

    Kelli New Member

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    Franklin, TN

    I have an established Japanese Maple that was beautiful up until a few years ago. It slowly started losing leaves and not regrowing them at the tips of the limbs. This issue gradually moved down the limbs. I believe I have figured out the problem. The base of the tree used to be covered in mulch and ivy. A few years ago I removed the mulch and ivy and planted grass up to the tree. I did not realize the tree’s roots were so shallow, and I assume the grass has been drinking all the water. I am now replacing the grass with mulch. My questions: Is the grass the problem or is it something else? Are the limbs with no leaves dead? Is the tree hopeless? Should I cut the limbs back? I posted two pics (2018) and one after (2023). Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,

    Attached Files:

  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    Hi Kelli and welcome to the maples forum. First of all,you have done the right thing by removing the turf from around the base of the tree.
    Looking at the branches without leaves, they do look dead, but if you use your thumbnail and scratch the bark, you will see either brown or green beneath. If brown then those branches are dead and should be removed.
    Next it is important to check the roots again. I can't see them but IMO they could be girdling the trunk. This happens when a maple is planted too deep and in your case the roots have nowhere to Spread due to the water feature etc etc. A slow death is then the result.
    I would like to see close up photos of the roots and trunk at the base and also the branches.
    This will also help other members when giving your their opinion on what to do to help this tree.
    So if you can post more photos this would help ID the problem.

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