Need help with sick japanese maple, please.

Discussion in 'Maples' started by cavalfilter, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. cavalfilter

    cavalfilter Member

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    i don't know much (or anything) about gardening so forgive my global ignorance, but i need help with my japanese maple. it is old, about 5' x 8', i don't what variety, and was transplanted about two years ago. it was doing well until this spring when it has failed to produce any leaves while other JMs have fully bloomed. the base of the tree was covered with ground cover and rocks, and not knowing anything about plant disease i am assuming that is the problem, but i don't know. can anyone offer advice? thanks.

    please see below, reply #4, where i have added new and old PHOTOS of the tree.
    thanks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
  2. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    Just a beginner here, but you might get some more targeted advice if you are able to take some pics of tree, bark, etc. Have you broken off a few twigs - are your getting brown or green?

    good luck
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
  3. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Ditto Paxi with pics are better;howeverer possible under watering...
     
  4. cavalfilter

    cavalfilter Member

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    thanks for the comments so far.

    i have uploaded some very recent pix and a comparison picture from two years ago. not knowing anything else, i believe that the ground around the base of the tree became too soggy b/c it was covered and no good evaporation could occur, so i took up some of the rocks and ground cover today. i am hoping that the tree can recover. some of the peripheral twigs/branches are dead but i don't know about more of the central branches. thanks.
     

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  5. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Are those rocks actually set on top of polythene?
     
  6. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Sam is rigth! polythene for me is the cause,because the water not watering the roots!
    the roots system not have a good transpiration...
     
  7. cavalfilter

    cavalfilter Member

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    yes, the rocks were on the ground cover. the ground cover, however, is a porous material allowing water through. when i pulled it back and off, the ground was moist, so i don't think underwatering is the cause.

    i am actually having an arborist come out tomorrow to render an opinion. i am hoping that the problem is correctable, but i am worried that the damage has been done. i will report back on the arborist's opinion. thanks for the comments so far.
     
  8. STi

    STi Active Member

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    That tree looks dead to me....I hope it can be saved! I had a Ukigumo that had the same dark dried looking buds that never opened...The tree was dead.
     
  9. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    Please do report back. I am curious not only what the arborist says but the whole process: what questions does he/she ask, how they examine the tree/soil, and how the report is prepared. Good Luck - I can see how you would be upset. looks like a beauty
     
  10. cavalfilter

    cavalfilter Member

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    what caused your tree to die?
     
  11. STi

    STi Active Member

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    Wet feet.
     
  12. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Wet feet is one of the commonest causes of death in maples
    They NEED good drainage
    That is why I think the membrane helped cause the problem here
     
  13. cavalfilter

    cavalfilter Member

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    the arborist came by and unfortunately confirmed that the tree is dead. we didn't discuss or conjecture about the etiology a whole lot b/c there was nothing to be done at this point. he thought it was probably the ground cover but didn't definitely say that was the cause. i wondered why it had done well last year when the conditions were similar and he said that once a tree is under stress it can survive on reserves in the trunk and once those are depleted it is all over. he said an oak can live 10 years on such reserves.

    i am really unhappy that the tree died. i wish i had known sooner that it was under stress to take corrective steps but, again, it did perfectly well last season and did not lose its leaves prematurely so i didn't know something was wrong. add to that my baseline ignorance about gardening and you have a lethal combination ... .

    thanks for the input.
     
  14. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Cavalfilter, my condolences for your tree, which was a beautiful specimen.

    Sam, do you really think agricultural fabric kept the feet wet? In what way would that differ from regular heavy mulch?

    I know it renders the soil heavier over a long period, but I don't see what harm a few years of coverage would do.

    -E
     
  15. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Emery
    My first thought when I saw the edge of the fabric was 'that looks like polythene' because it looked rather impermeable. OK ... I know it is just a photograph and I could only see a small edge, but that was my impression
    I have found on the past that some fabrics are much less permeable than others.
    The surface also looked to be very compacted once the stones and fabric were removed, and didn't look as though it would drain very well
    Maybe drainage was affected when the new fence was constructed??
    AND ... I don't really have a great belief in coincidence ......
    Cavalfilter ... my condolences on the loss of a fine tree
     
  16. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I agree that coincidence is unlikely here. Somehow moving the tree, or the
    conditions which followed, killed it. I don't like to disagree with the arborist,
    who I don't doubt is much more expert than I, but I don't think a palmatum
    can look that healthy based on just nourishment in the trunk. A maple is
    not an oak.

    I had understood the original comment to be about polythene, I couldn't tell
    it was porous from the photo either.

    But since I am using fabric quite a lot for the last 2 years (on new plantations with
    the expectation of removing it after 3 or 4 years) I have a vested interest!

    Mine seems pretty porous, crab grass sometimes grows right through it... :(

    -E
     
  17. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    This is what kind of confuses me. On one hand I see (and fully believe) phrases like "maples need constant moisture" and "never let them dry out", but on the other hand I see (and fully believe) that wet feet & overwatering are one the more common causes of maple death. how does one find the right balance? Is it mainly a question drainage?

    -thanks
     
  18. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    It IS possible to have a constant moisture content and still to have good drainage. The secret is constant watering on a well drained soil. Unfortunately, if your soil does not drain well, constant watering will kill the tree ........
     
  19. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    pine bark ,leaves of pinus ,cone ,this are my solutions ;ok grass not dead ,but is easy
    remove with hands;for good dreinage vulcan stone .alex
     
  20. The Chooks

    The Chooks Member

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    Hello,

    I also have what i think is a sick *** maple. We had some very hot days and it doesn't seem to have recovered. It is autumn here, and though it is alive i don't think it is healthy.

    Any help would be appreciated.
     

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  21. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    I shouldnt be giving any advice at my level of knowledge but ...

    1) Wait till it goes fully dormant (looks pretty close)

    2) Don't overwater in an attempt to bring it back.
    3) Cut back any branches that are clearly brittle and dead

    4) Either transplant to a location with better protection from afternoon sun (when fully dormant) or provide shade next season. If you do transpant it then plant it higher, ie on a "half mound" so that it drains better. I can't quite tell from your picture but it does look like the the trunk is a bit sunken. See " how to plant a maple thread"

    5) Water it normally - don't leave it for dead - you'll be surprised what comes back next spring. If nothing comes back next spring then it may be dead, but it certainly looks alive to me. When it has leaves, don't water in midday or leaf burn
    will result.


    gook luck! (any corrections welcome)
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008
  22. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    ditto paxi!only one add :use liquid "acid plants" fertilize for two week...
     
  23. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Alex, are you saying use the liquid fertilizer now, or in spring?

    Just want to clarify. I don't think it's a good idea to give nitrogen to a maple that is going dormant.

    -E
     
  24. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    for after one stress maples have necessity for one little time of fertilize...
     
  25. The Chooks

    The Chooks Member

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    Thanks a lot for your help.

    It is a little sunken, i might try and re plant it in the same position. It only gets morning sun, but i will put some shade cloth up for the summer.
     

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