Bloodgood Japanese Maple Die-Off

farmboy1(5)May 29, 2013

I inherited the above tree when I bought my house 3.5 years ago, so I'm not sure of it's age or history.

It has primary northern and eastern exposure, with shelter from the harsh western sun and winds.

The first spring, a large section had died off, so I cut that section off. An existing branch grew into a central leader in the past couple of years.

This spring, a large part of the newly grown leader didn't leaf out after budding. There have been some new shoots of growth near the center.

The soil is mulched, and did receive extra watering last year as well.

The question now is whether I continue to prune off the dead sections and hope it grows reliably, or I replace it with something else that is a bit more hardy.

Comments welcome on how to maintain the tree and prevent die-off, or another ornamental to replace it with.


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Unfortunately, your tree is likely doomed. Japanese maples are prone to a number of fungal pathogens that develop into root rots and significant branch dieback is typically an indicator of that. Often this shows up as a failure to leaf out in spring but can also happen with a very rapid decline in the middle of the growing season. Death may not be immediate but it is progressive and typically inevitable.

Depending on the exact problem, it is not prudent to replant with another maple. The Bloodgood was also far too close to the house. You could replace with something like a dogwood or any sort of dwarf or slow growing conifer but pay close attention to spacing - no closer than half the mature canopy spread.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Thanks Gardengal!

I've heard from some people (though not on this board) that Japanese maples can be, ah, difficult.

I'll try to find info on possible replacements on other forums, 20 feet away is a Viburnum Acerifolium and a Red Buckeye (thanks to this lively group).


This post was edited by farmboy1 on Wed, May 29, 13 at 15:15

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 3:03PM
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