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How to Save a Dying Japanese Maple Tree {5 Quick DIY Steps}

signs of a dying japanese maple tree

Last Updated on March 30, 2021 by Matt Gardener

There are a lot of reasons for growing the Japanese maple tree. Some of these reasons are either for their economic importance, beautification (ornamental), and or erosion control, etc. Amazingly, the Japanese maple tree is of ornamental purpose.

You would not be happy to see your beautiful maple tree dying away helplessly with no hope of survival. It’s not a good thing to experience, trust me, which is why you need to learn how to save a dying Japanese maple tree.

In today’s guide, we’re going to show you how to bring your Japanese maple tree back to life.

How To Save a Dying Japanese Maple Tree

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is popular for its rugged strength. Depending on the varieties, they are naturally small, have bright-red leaves and shrub-like trees.

The Japanese maple tree is between 8 to 15 feet in height for smaller varieties and is grown in containers (vas). While larger varieties can grow up to about 20 to 50 feet high.

Saving a dying Japanese maple tree is not much of a hard task to carry out. First, it requires your time and patience, and of course, your love and care are paramount.

To lose a plant is painful. Nobody likes it. I suppose that includes you.

Here is how you can save a dying Japanese maple tree:

How to Save a Dying Japanese Maple Tree

1. Look out for the presence of any disease attack

Turn over the leaves of your maple plant to check for the presence of insects like aphids. They love to chew on the plant. Sometimes you might not know they hide under the leaves to feed on them.

Turning over the leaves will help you discover their presence and take action immediately. Common plant diseases also affect Japanese maple.

Here are other diseases of a Japanese maple tree:

  • Scale or powdery mildew
  • Wood rot is also called “wet feet”.
  • Leaf scorch. Excess sunlight causes the leaves to burn. It makes leaves tips of your maple curl and turns brown. The solution, remove it from direct sunlight or place taller trees nearby to prevent it from receiving direct sun.

2. Provide an excellent drainage system for your maple tree

Check to find out that water does not stay longer than required around the base of the maple.

Ensure it drains properly within 15 minutes of application as failure to do that will be defeating the first step on how to prevent root rot of Japanese maple tree.

Dig a 6-inch deep hole which must be 2feet from the trunk and then pour a few cups of water into it. Experts recommend you use loamy soil which has enough nutrients and better pore space.

3. Application of Fertilizer

A simple application of fertilizer to your dying Japanese maple tree can cause a significant difference to the entire growth process.

Providing your Japanese maple tree with an extra boost of nutrients through fertilizer, especially at the beginning of the growing season, can help prevent it from dying and also give it the best chance of survival.

Ensure to follow instructions on the right amount of fertilizer to be used as prescribed by the manufacturer.

However, if you are still not clear even after reading the instruction written on it, you should seek an expert’s opinion on the different types and how to apply them to the Japanese maple tree.

According to a publication by the University of Maryland USA, a guaranteed analysis identifies fertilizers (product label) such as 10-6-4 or 5-10-5.

The three numbers represent the percentage by weight of nitrogen (N), phosphate (P205), and potash (K20), respectively, contained in the fertilizer.

This type is called complete fertilizer. The commonly used one for trees and shrubs has a ratio of 3:1:1.

4. Retrieve seeds from the dying maple tree

Once you notice that your maple tree cannot be saved, ensure to collect the seeds (if there are) from the dying tree.

This helps to ensure you achieve one of the most important steps on how to propagate the Japanese maple tree.

In a situation where soil pathogens are the causes, repot your Japanese maple tree if you grow them in containers, or choose a different site for planting.

5. Cut off dead parts

Cutting off the dead parts of your Japanese maple tree will help prevent the disease from spreading to other regions of the tree. It will also help in guarding against the disease spreading over to the entire garden.

However, care must be taken while cutting off the unwanted parts to not damage the tree you trying to save.

Here is how to cut a dying Japanese maple tree successfully without causing further damage;

  • Prune out dead and wilted branches as you identified
  • Leave ½-inch downward-slanting (cut diagonally) stubs for easy drainage of moisture. Slant stub facilitates moisture to drip off quickly, which allows it to heal faster.

Note: You must know that horizontal cuts will not allow moisture to drain. It will cause moisture to clog to the cut region and prevents it from respiration, thereby causing more problems.

Some things you need while saving a dying Japanese maple tree:

  • Potting soil
  • Hand trowel
  • Container
  • Pruning shears
  • Knife
  • Garden spade
  • Fertilizer or compost
  • Sprayer etc.

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Conclusion

Having read these steps, you now realize that saving a dying Japanese maple tree is not much of a Herculean task.

Following the guides provided on how to save a dying Japanese maple tree, you discover you don’t have to hire an expert gardener or a horticulturist to do it for you; you can even do it during your leisure hours.

Here are the guides again:Looking out for the presence of any disease attack

  • Providing a good drainage system for your maple tree
  • Application of Fertilizer
  • Retrieve seeds from the dying maple tree
  • Cutting off dead parts
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