Part of Japanese maple dying - disease or pest?

stevation(z5a Utah)September 8, 2008

My Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Atropurureum') in front of my house has a disease or something. I'm worried about it. This one main branch and all the smaller branches that shoot off of it are dying (you can click the image for a larger version). It started with some leaves turning red about a month ago, and now they've shriveled up. Some of the smaller twigs turned black, but the thicker part of the branch is still green.

The rest of the tree looks just fine, as shown in this photo. What should I do? Should I cut off that branch as far down the tree as I can go? How will I know the disease or pest hasn't started attacking other parts of the tree? Is there a pesticide that could help inoculate the rest of the tree against whatever is harming this branch?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are a number of fungal issues or blights that can affect Japanese maples, most of which are rather serious problems that can often mean failure/death of the tree. With sharp pruners or pruning saw cut off the affected branch as close to the main trunk as the branch collar and take this portion into your local cooperative extension office for an accurate diagnosis. Sterilize your pruning tools thoroughly after making this cut.

If it is one of these issues (and from the look, I would lean heavily to verticillium wilt), there is little you can do other than keep the tree in the best possible condition. IOW, there is no magic elixir that will "cure" the problem. Sometimes otherwise healthy trees can outgrow these problems, most often it is just the beginning of the end, unfortunately. Sometimes the progressive decline is very gradual; othertimes it can be extremely rapid.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 8:57PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Need help identifying a mislabeled JM
This Japanese Maple I bought was labeled Aconitifolium....
Central lead?
Had this tree planted in the fall and getting increasingly...
Burlapping maples - any dangers?
We had a very harsh winter last year and I lost a couple...
ysrgrathe PA 6b
Maple sap help
I don't know if this is the right forum for this, but...
paula_b_gardener 5b_ON
split trunk on new japanese maple
Hi. With the snow and ice from this year our tree ,...
Sponsored Products
Safavieh Area Rug: Anatolia Ivory/Gold 8' x 10'
Home Depot
Herman Miller | Nelson™ Platform Bench
Capiz Antique Silver Gray Capiz Seven-Light Chandelier
2 Faced Shatterproof Polished Steel Bathroom Mirror
Cast Aluminum Wet Location White Finish Double Floodlight
$37.80 | Lamps Plus
Majestic Overview III Wall Art
$419.00 | FRONTGATE
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™