japanese maple problem

kristyandbearJuly 8, 2007

We just moved to a house last fall with a japanese maple. It's truly a beautiful plant but the problem is that around the stems of the new growth (mostly there anyway) there is a white fluffy looking substance, but it's not sticky, powdery almost. i took a sample to our local nursery and he had no idea what to make of it either( he asked if we had a dryer vent near it, there is one but it's about 10 yards down wind from the tree), tree appears to be healthy otherwise. but i don't know if this is something that should be treated, and if so how? this tree is very small, about 7 ft tall, it's in our back yard and is in mostly shade all day, gets early morning sun. new growth leaves are very red compared to rest of the tree. i am brand new to growing japanese maples so any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. thanks, kristyandbear

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A picture would really be helpful. We can't be certain of whtat you have without it, and it is difficult to be sure without seeing the plant in person.

However, a common insect that resides on some of the stems of my japanese maples is the wooly aphid. The white fluffy insects feed off of the sap in the young stems by piercing the thin bark. They eventually form a fluffy white "bed" around them which makes it difficult sometimes to see that there is an insect there. Also, if you get near them they often jump away leaving only the fluffy "bed". There are probably many other things it could be but this seems to be the most common in my area. These insects usually don't do much harm to the tree unless there are a large number of them. Insecticides are not recommended for jap. maples, and it would have to be covered with them to be in any danger in my opinion. If so, an insectide soap or oil that wouldn't harm the tree should be used but only during the cool temperatures during early morning or evening to prevent leaf scorch.

Powdery mildew can grow on the leaves of japanese maples among other plants, but I've never seen anything on stems. It is also usually not dangerous to the plant, just unsightly. Most insecticides should take care of this fungus if it was a must.

The wooly adelgid is the horible insect that is wiping out the hemlock population on the east coast, but I've never seen it attack a maple.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 9:23PM
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thanks for the imput, if i can figure out how to get a picture on here, i can do that...i can take one tomorrow when i get out of work.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 11:16PM
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