Damaged Sango Kaku, what should I do now?
Hey guys! Second post ever on these forums. I came seeking advice. My first post was over in the Bamboo forum. Now, it's the Japanese Maple's turn.
So, I live in downtown Portland, Oregon. I live on the side of a hill where my balcony faces East. My balcony gets direct sunlight from sunrise until 1-2PM. I bought my Sango Kaku from Home Depot about 2 years ago now. I love it. She's my baby.
However, around the end of June and beginning of July I went through some traumatic life events and my Maple went unwatered for two weeks, maybe even three. This is after previous issues I had with aphids and ants and that was one big ordeal, but once I killed the ants, the aphids were easy to get rid of. The tree returned to really good health until this drought it went through.
Literally every single leaf turned brown and crispy. I panicked, watered and fertilized the hell out of it. I later learned that I should not have fertilized it. But I continued watering it for about two weeks hoping the leaves would regain life and turn green again. They didn't. So I scratched the bark a little and it was green and alive underneath so I had hope the tree was still alive.
So I tried an experiment and removed all the dead leaves but only on the bottom portion of the tree just in case that was something I shouldn't do. I continued to water like normal and low and behold...perfectly healthy leaves began to grow. So then I removed the remainder of the leaves and actually mixed all of them into the top 2-3" of the soil to create like a mulch. This was maybe two weeks ago now, however, no new leaves emerging as quick as the ones beneath showed up. The leaves on the bottom are developing great.
So I'm very happy that I didn't kill the tree but I'm wondering where I should go from here? Should I trim branches? Should I wait longer? Should I fertilize it? Any Japanese Maple experts out there have any advice for a novice like me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks much. :)
Here's my tree...