Pruning a Japanese maple?

Debbi Branka(6)June 3, 2013

This Japanese maple was here when we bought our house almost 4 years ago. It was doing well until last spring when we had late frost and most of them in our neighborhood suffered. It seemed to bounce back fairly well. This spring we had a few late frosts. It looks horrible to me. I don't want to lose it but have no idea how to treat it. Any help? Thanks!

Sent from my phone. Sorry for any typos.

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Japanese maple is a beautiful plant but it must be carefully grown. Full sun to partial shade.... but.... leaves can be burned by the intense afternoon sun....especially if it is near a wall that reflects light onto the lower leaves. Evenly moist soil that is enriched with some peat moss can help.

In dry weather you must then water them...regularly...even well into winter when you don't want the roots to dry out.
So mulching can be important in late spring with a 4-inch layer of organic material.
If they are hit with a dry wind, that can cause increased watering needs.
Leave a 4- 6 inch circle around the tree's base free of mulch so pests don't have a free trip onto the wood.
Old, dry, damaged or dead branches should be cut back in late winter or early spring.
These shrubs are still a maple....and maples should never be pruned when in full-leaf.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:58AM
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Missy, Traverse City, Mi Z5

I have several Japanese Maple and they always bounce back when they have problems. Last year, one of mine looked like yours and it came back just fine this year. I have one that is over 30 years old and it is still gorgeous. I believe that all Japanese Maples need part shade and moist soil.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Debbi Branka(6)

Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 8:53AM
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