Shrivelled Japanese Maple Leaves

Discussion in 'Maples' started by montario, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. montario

    montario Member

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    Location:
    Caledon, Ontario, Canada
    I have only been living in my current residence in Caledon, Ontario for a few weeks. The previous owners had planted a red japanese maple that must be at least 6 years old (I'm not sure of the exact variety, and I know very little about japanese maples altogether). I have noticed that the leaves on some of the branches are completely shrivelled and dry, but do not fall off the branch. On other branches, it looks like the tips of the leaves are starting to get dry and shrivelled and perhaps slowly moving up the entire leaf. Being in southern ontario, we have not had any extreme temperatures, basically just 22 degrees celcius in the day and plenty of rain. One friend of mine who is a hobby gardener had said she heard that this disease was going around Ontario and suggested I cut off the sickened branches. I did cut the branches this morning that looked the most shrivelled, but I'm worrying about killing it.

    Does anyone have any information about what may be causing this?
     
  2. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Is it small enough that it could have been planted recently?

    Any stumps nearby or evidence that a tree near it was removed, increasing sunlight?

    ....
     
  3. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I would leave it alone. Many maples suffer leaf scorch in late summer, especially if there has been a lot of wind. You tree does not sound out of the ordinary to me. Again, I would wait before taking ANY action as drastic as cutting back.

    Regards,
     
  4. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    I live in Vancouver and my Japanese maple tree has shrivelled leaves too. It's about 10 years old, in a 30cm pot and about 40cm tall. (I'm experimenting with bonsai.) The tree is in a courtyard on the southside of the building with morning sun (shaded by a building). I thought that the roots were drying out and acouple of years ago transplanted the tree to a glazed pot from the terracotta pot. I don't think that my tree gets a lot of wind. Could it really be leaf scorch? I've attached a photo of the leaves taken a few weeks ago.
     

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  5. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    growing,

    Therea re a number of things that can brown the tip of the leaves, as you're seeing. Reflected heat will scorch a maple pronto! You said you're in a courtyard, correct? Also too much fertilizer can cause the tips to look 'scorched', as can a soil that is too acid or too alkaline. Finally, tap water can cause leaf burn if it has a lot of chlorine, fluoride, or other harsh added chemicals. In short, there are a number of things that can affect JM leaves as illustrated by your photo. You're in the best position to diagnose the cause.
     
  6. montario

    montario Member

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    The tree probably wasn't planted recently as it's over 10 feet high...there are no other stumps nearby.

    I suppose it could be from direct sunlight or wind, but it just seems odd to me that it only affects certain branches and the others look completely healthy. We are on well water here so it is not any excess fluoride or other added chemicals. I'll try to take a picture later.

    Thanks!
     
  7. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Location:
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    My parents live on Long Island, NY. This spring, my dad was saddened to tell me that their 30-some -year-old Japanese maple looked as though it was dying. A neighbor who is in the landscaping biz told Dad that there is some kind of disease killing off these trees...and that Dad's had in fact lived longer than most because of the good care he has given it through the years. I will try to ferret out more info on this subject.
     
  8. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Spoke further to my dad---it's maple blight. Don't know if it's Japanese-specific or affects maples in general. Apparently the ability of the tree to absorb water is impaired. Dad says that the bark is now falling off the tree. Sadly, I think that this condition is terminal and irreversible once begun.
     
  9. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    The name of this disease is 'verticillium wilt', There is no cure,and the soil will remain contaminated with it for decades. If they replace the tree, they need to plant something not susceptible to verticillium wilt.

    Tragic that it had to happen to such a nice specimen...
     
  10. 42go

    42go Member

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    Location:
    Simi Valley, Ca
    I am new to this forum as well, have had maples for some time in the Simi Valley area just north of LA. Most years I get leaf wilt as well. I was talking to several nurserymen on a recent trip and asked about this problem.
    As I looked back to when this wilt was happening, it is usually in mid summer, heat is a problem here, but it does cool at night so soil temps are cooler. I have been fertilizing on a regular basis and this seemed to come within the time frame of using MiracleGrow water-on fertilizer. How much does this stand to be my main problem? I have never considered this to be a source till a nurseryman said he does very little fertilizing of his maples....I was suprised but then it seems to correlate with my problem.
    These pictures are of a larger "waterfall" and a 4 year "Autumn Moon".
     

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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2008
  11. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    You should never use Miracle Gro or other high-nitrogen fertilizers on your Japanese Maples. Organic fertilizers, like fish emulsion, should be applied in the spring along with good compost. JMs are very sensitive to nitrogen salts in the soil, which is what Miracle Gro and other similar commercial fertilizers are made from.

    I had a 90 year old lady who owns a huge nursery in Washinton tell me NEVER to fertilize an A.s. 'Aureum Full Moon'. EVER!! Only some fresh compost in the spring.
     
  12. 42go

    42go Member

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    Thanks for your reply.....I had been getting the leaf burn each year but assumed it was the heat and salts in the water supply out here.....now from both you and other growers I definitely have found the answer...
    again thanks
     
  13. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    But my japanese maple gets rainwater or tap water thats been sitting for at least 24 hours. Occasionally (especially in the summer) it would get watered by immersion then left to drain.
     

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