Japanese Maple Tree

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Ajay Nanda, Jul 20, 2021.

  1. Ajay Nanda

    Ajay Nanda New Member

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    Hello
    We have a beautiful Japanese Maple tree in our front lawn. This season the leaves are brown and yellow. I can see some green/ white patches on the shoots/ trunk of the tree.. I am enclosing the pictures. I would really appreciate if you can guide us what needs to be done so that we can protect this tree.

    Thanks
     

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  2. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    The general spotting on the bark looks normal to me. Some or all may be harmless spots of lichen that has no deleterious effects on the tree. Personally I like the aged esthetic that comes with lichen growing on my trees' bark.

    There is this one area in your second photo that is where there was some serious bark damage (or maybe past desiccation of the tree) probably longer than a year ago. Regrowth over that damage is now occurring. The new growth occurs under the bark so the old bark that was over the damage is now lifting off. There is no need for you to do anything. You can gently flick off the bits of lifted bark but they will fall away on their own as the regrowth proceeds over the next few years.

    IMHO, the greatest threat to maples in cold climates is bright winter sun. The hot sun warms the sun-exposed areas and causes moisture to be drawn from the tree through the lenticels. But unlike during the growing season, this moisture does not get replaced due to the water in the wood (or certainly in the ground) being frozen. Thus, the cambium on the sunny side tends to get dried and ultimately killed. Drying winds in winter can also do this to trees. This photographed area may be the result of something like this. The remedy is to somehow keep the tree sheltered from bright-sun/wind during the winter.
     
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  3. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    In addition to what 0soyoung has said, which is sound advice, it would be helpful to see a picture of the whole tree and to know whether the branch with the damaged bark was the only one with dis-coloured leaves or if it was more widespread. And if other branches have similar damage. (I also agree the spots look like harmless lichen.)

    A picture of the base of the tree would also be informative, often problems in the tree canopy can be traced back to issues in the root zone. If there has been any disturbance in this area, such as construction or landscaping, it could lead to similar problems to those pictured.
     
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  4. Ajay Nanda

    Ajay Nanda New Member

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    Thanks

    So need to put any herbicides on the leaves
    Enclosing some more pictures of the whole tree.
     

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  5. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Take it that the concrete path/walkway as always been there through out it's development over the years or is this a recent addition?
     
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  6. Ajay Nanda

    Ajay Nanda New Member

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    The concrete path/walkway was built in 2010
     
  7. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    OK, we can rule out recent construction of the path/walkway. Has it ever been cleaned with harsh chemicals or detergents? Runoff would have a negative impact on the maple.

    One thing I do not like to see are the flowers planted close to the trunk all around. I don't think this is a big enough factor to cause the damage shown, but it is certainly not helping matters.

    To address the concerns raised by @0soyoung above, is the tree exposed to strong winter sun? For example if it were on the south side of the house. Also was the last winter more severe than what is normal in your area?
     
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  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Those shallow roots will not like that paving. My rule of thumb is nothing covering the roots below the outer canopy. Remember maple roots don't travel down deep to get water like many other trees. They are spreading out beneath all that concrete looking for oxygen, water and nutrients.
    You have two choices IMO. Remove the tree and plant something else in that position and then have a maple in a pot that you can keep to a nice size and then root prune it every two years and re pot with a fresh well draining growing medium.


    D
     
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  9. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    What I can see is something that can be a common scenario. The right combination of extreme heat with high winds and lack of moisture. In BC, many japanese maples have suffered the same leaf damage from the heat wave 3 weeks ago. Some varieties end up with dried curled leaves every year as they are just planted in the wrong location. Also, as Derek had mentioned, planting among solid pavement will almost always lead to issues of the tree root system drying out more quickly. The heat in the pavement from the summer sun will over heat the ground below and Japanese maples have very shallow roots.

    That location would need a constant 24 hour deep drip system for the roots in order to get moisture into the tree as there is no way the tree can feed itself fully (imo)
     
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  10. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Well, that is an interesting point of view from @Acerholic and @Otto Bjornson and different from what i have experienced. I have found that Japanese maples enjoy running large roots along the underside of paving.

    When we were kids, at times when the ground was too dry to dig for worms for fishing, our trusty standby was to lift up some paving slabs and we invariably found worms right on the surface with their burrows running against the underside of the pavers in soil that never completely dried out.
     
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  11. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    that is true @maf regarding moisture directly under pavers as they always retain the moisture via the condensation from the previous days heat. But dig a wee bit deeper and it is completely dry. We did have a sangu kaku planted in our court yard for many years and we were always surprised how well it survived. When we decided to dig it out and redo the court yard we then realized that all the fibrous roots had attached to the under side of the pavers. Long story short, we had to uplift an almost 2 metre radius of pavers to remove all the root leggings and then repack with sand, etc.

    So yes, technically they can survive as long as the roots are shallow enough to attach. If pavers are place over an existing tree that is fairly large it may turn out a little different as the roots are too deep to attach to the pavers by then.
     
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  12. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I guess it would depend somewhat on the type of soil underneath the paving and the water table in the local area...
     
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  13. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    for sure! and then you would likely have a healthy tree with good water access conditions for the root system
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  14. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    That's also what I think.

    To me, the tree is choking, not enough "free" soil to absorb water, too much concrete that will act like a "plancha" (Spanish BBQ), keep the heat during the day and the night while Acer palm/oenum much prefer to have cool feet.

    I'm sure there are many posts here about how important it is to keep the surface soil permeable (Japanese maple roots are close to the surface compared to other deciduous) and the deeper soil oxygenated. Here, it's a counter-ecxample of how a Japanese maple can live a long, healthy life.

    Trees, maples, don't like to grow under concrete slabs. They need to breathe. Not only the size of what is their "lungs" is ridiculously tiny, but it's squatted by "flowers" that will take every tenth of an inch of rain that can fall.

    Your tree is surviving so far, OK, but it won't last long if you keep emprisoning it like that, it's already showing signs it's giving up, it wants fresh air, oxygen. It's not a foot-bound Chinese girl from the 19th century...
     
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