Neglected Japanese Maple: What to Do?

ZumajayJune 3, 2013


Please take a look at my photo. I have neglected my Japanese Maple for a few years now, as you can see, but I am trying to nurse it back to health. Based on the photo, can you give me some tips?

It hasn't been pruned for years...


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It looks like your tree is in the process of dying :-( I'm guessing some droughty summers and the mentioned neglect have contributed to a stressful situation that may have prompted a pretty serious disease issue. Taking in samples of the dead portions to your local cooperative extension service should be able to confirm that.

All you can do at this point is to remove the dead wood. Use pruning saw and pruners that are sterilized after each cut. Limit your pruning to just that - removal of dead wood. Japanese maples seldom need any routine pruning. And keep the tree properly watered this summer - they do not tolerate drying out well

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 1:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd cut all the dead wood, and prune the live parts back hard! They say not to trim more than 1/3, but I'd go back to half, probably eliminating the entire left side and make it a single trunk tree.

If you baby it it will probably die, or look like hell. If you prune it hard, it will fight to survive, and start back budding like mad. You can then leave it alone for a few years and be able to prune it into a normal looking tree.

If it dies, oh well. It was probably going to die anyhow. Shrug it off and go to the nursery and get a new one.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 5:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Samples of dead portions can only be diagnosed as dead!

The preferred sample is a branch with both live and dead tissue on it. Plus an overall image.

That said, I agree with the first post. I suspect it's too late for the tree.
I also agree with the "remove only dead" advice. The tree needs all the photosynthesizing surface it can get.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 1:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I would cut out the dead and pay attention to watering.
Cutting back live wood by half would ruin the branching pattern.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 12:40PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Japanese Maples - first year care
Zone 7a - North Alabama Hello and first real post in...
Kelp treatment effective for sugar maple?
One of our mature sugar maples has been struggling...
Need help with struggling Jap Maple
CHeck out these pictures my Japanese maple isn't doing...
split trunk on new japanese maple
Hi. With the snow and ice from this year our tree ,...
School me on transplanting a med/large Cascading JM
I have a chance to save a JM I know little about. Looks...
Sponsored Products
Bulb Pendant by &Tradition
$185.00 | Lumens
David Bromstad "Beach #2" Artwork
Grandin Road
Wood Floor Lamp: 60 in. Wood Floor Lamp, Maple 2014M
Home Depot
Safavieh Handmade Moroccan Cambridge Silver Wool Rug
Natural rustic linen placemat (set of four)
Origin Crafts
Sweater Rug 3' x 5' - MUSHROOM
$369.00 | Horchow
Slanted and Planted Bowl
$14.99 | Dot & Bo
Anastasia Classic Gold Glass Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™