Are diebacks 'normal' for Japanese Maples?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by vbx, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. vbx

    vbx Member

    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    California
    Have a 7-8 ft bloodgood and every year, it's has diebacks so the tree doesn't seem to be getting larger. It could be due to my watering method.

    Last year, the tree iddn't leaf out until May. This year, after some deep watering, the tree leafed out mid April.

    I'm in Zone 10B. So it may be too hot for the tree? I'm trying to find a tree to plant next to the maple to offer some dapple shade.

    But in the meantime, I've discovered Protekt Silca that is suppose to help the tree against the harsh Sun and Wind.

    So, anyone else having dieback issues on their maple?
     
  2. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,244
    Likes Received:
    733
    Location:
    Normandie, France
    Japanese maples usually lose interior branchlets or branches on a regular basis. The name for the process is "cladoptosis" but most of us just call it "self pruning"! It's one of the reasons that JMs take on such wonderful architectural shapes.

    I don't think 10b is "too hot", especially as 'Bloodgood' -- if it's a real 'Bloodgood', there are many copies around -- does very well with the heat. I've seen it growing in LA, and have a friend in Redwood City who has a very successful one.

    But zones are not the whole story, if you're in the central valley the sun is a major issue, full sun will require quite a lot of water. Maple trees take about 3 years to fully establish even under decent circumstances, this tree may take longer. Offering it some shade would help, but remember planting a large enough tree to offer any is complicated too in full sun, it will need a lot of water too.

    I've heard of Protekt mentioned as a solution but I don't know anyone personally with experience using it. The main problem it sounds like you're having is the young shoots being blasted, and you don't really want to spray anything on young growing shoots.
     
  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    1,456
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    Hi, no real problems with die back in my collection in Hampshire England other than Bihoo, this is definitely a Buyer Beware Japanese Maple, it doesn't matter what you do to protect it, it still has regular quite bad die back every year. As long as you are aware of this then the beautiful bark in the Autumn alongside Sango kaku when leaves have gone makes up for this.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,030
    Likes Received:
    258
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Look up verticillium wilt and maple blight (Pseudomonas) to see if either of those might be involved.
     
  5. vbx

    vbx Member

    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    California
    I doubt its verticillium wilt since it's just the tips of the new growth drying out and dying back along with the leaves.

    Guessing it's too much sun. This is how it looks now after pruning out all the dead tips.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    1,456
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    Hi
    Tbh I think the problem is a 'drying wind' before leafing out rather than just sun damage, looking at the photo re it's position. There is no way of stopping this other than moving it to a more sheltered spot. I have used companion trees etc to shelter my Japanese Maples, this has helped over the years. I have placed Sycamore maples in full sun or more exposed positions rather than Japanese palmatums. There are some very decorative specimens. Esk Sunset is a particular favourite as is Brillantism. Hope this helps.
     
    vbx likes this.
  7. vbx

    vbx Member

    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    California
    edit. the dieback shows in the spring but the cause is in the summer. where the leaves are scorched and no fall colors
     
  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    1,456
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    In the evenings of very hot summer days After the sun has gone down, I have always misted my maples with rain water. This has successfully stopped scorching of the leaves. If you have a large collection it can be time consuming but it has worked well for me. Unfortunately Japanese Maples are a bit precious, though we all do tend to place them in conditions not suited to their natural environment so they react accordingly. In England at the national arboretum in Westonbirt (national maple collection) are nearly all protected with dappled shade unless they are a type that have no problems with full sun. You might be fighting a losing battle with your positioning of your Maple.
     
  9. vbx

    vbx Member

    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    California
    Yes, it is a losing battle. I'll give it one more season. If it still cannot handle the sun after a more deep watering and using silica supplements, I'll just have to dig it up and move it.

    Will just replace it with a autumn blaze maple. For some reason, the red maple does fine in full sun compared to the JM.
     
  10. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    1,456
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    Good idea, Autumn Blaze is a strong tree more suited to Full sun. Another tree I have placed in full sun is Acer Griseum, it has amazing bark that peels, the spring leaves are a rusty colour, Summer is green, but the Autumn colours are an outstanding scarlet that rivals the best of all the reds in nature you can find. I would recommend this tree to everyone. Good luck.
     
  11. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,244
    Likes Received:
    733
    Location:
    Normandie, France
    Important to remember there's sun, and sun. Full sun in Westonbirt or Normandie is not the same as full sun in Kansas or the Central Valley. (@vbx you haven't said where you are, but there's vast variation within CA.) So while a 'Bloodgood' is good in full sun in most of these places -- certainly at Westonbirt -- some places will be pushing the envelope somewhat. Also maybe the specimen is just not that healthy, regardless of disease or lack of it. It will take a very healthy root system to do well in that environment.

    Great place for a specimen maple, if you do decide to pull it there are a number of interesting possibilities for maples. For a red maple I might shy away from the way over-planted 'Autumn Blaze' -- though it's a nice maple -- and try something like A. rubrum 'Fairview Flame', amazing fall colors and being widely planted in Oz, so very sun resistant. There are some excellent Shantung Maple (A. truncatum) cultivars from Texas that are great in the sun, e.g. 'Fire Dragon'. The Paperbark Maple (A. griseum) or it's cousin the Shaggy Bark Maple (A. triflorum) have year round interest and fine fall color, but are slow growing. Still a big Paperbark is as Acerholic says an amazing spectacle, and large specimens are usually available. There are some interesting hybrids of these now in the States, some under the name A. x waxmanii, I think one is called 'Cinnamon Flake'.

    So I hope you'll be able to grow the 'Bloodgood', there's no reason to expect it to fail there really though it may take its time getting established. But if not, there are lots of great options for such a good spot.
     
    vbx likes this.
  12. vbx

    vbx Member

    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    California
    The fairview flame looks interesting. Are the roots aggressive? Are these fast growers? Only reason I am contemplating the Autumn Blaze is because it was free when I ordered my Magnolia tree. So it's just sitting in a pot right now.
     
  13. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,244
    Likes Received:
    733
    Location:
    Normandie, France
    Well, free is a good reason to use the 'Autumn Blaze' in my book. There's no question it's a good tree: there's a reason it's over-planted. But you'll be looking at what ever is there for a long time, so...

    'Fairview Flame' is a good grower, maybe a little less fast than AB though. The roots are the same as any other red maple, which is to say they will look for water, but not as much as a silver maple. If you have sewer pipes running through there, another choice might be wise. The 'Bloodgood' is great from that perspective, or a Paperbark is very safe also.
     

Share This Page