Laceleaf Japanese Maple Problem
We have a four year old laceleaf JM. It had been wonderful until now. I live in suburbs of Philly, PA. The leaves of the maple are all in and red, but are extremely droopy. They are not withering and dropping off, but are just way droopy. Looks like it needs a drink. I gave it an very, very slow 3 hour drink. It doesn't look any better. It has been pretty dry here so I thought it might be thirsty. It is well mulced and I don't have anything planted under it. Around it (some perennials and a few annuals) but not under it. It gets morning sun and is in shade from about 4pm on.
Any ideas of what is wrong? We had a laceleaf in the front of our house about 5 years ago (southwest exposure). We had it one year and the following spring it came up and when the leaves started coming in, they shriveled and died. We had the nursery where we bought it take a look and they said it was diseased and not to put another maple there. They replaced it for us w/something else (great nursery!) The maple we have now was purchased from a different place and is in the back of our house. It is not doing the same thing as the maple that died. It has been looking great and growing. We do prune the lower branches in the fall because we like how it looks seeing the trunk. The bottom of the trunk looks like the bark has split but it doesn't seem soft, as it would if it were rotted. I thought it may have split from growing. The trunk is about as thick as my forearm (I'm female).
Any help anyone can give w/be appreciated. Thanks.