Knowledge Builders

do japanese maple trees lose their leaves in the winter

by Dr. Esther Jaskolski MD Published 5 months ago Updated 1 month ago

Do all Japanese maples lose their leaves? Yes! Japanese maples are deciduous trees. During October and November maples provide a lovely show of fall color. Then in late November, or December, the leaves drop.

How do I help this Japanese maple survive winter damage?

How Do You Protect Japanese Maple Trees from Winter Damage?

  • Location Matters. When you bring the tree home to plant it, think carefully before selecting a location. ...
  • Water During the Fall Months. Water your Japanese maple tree properly during the fall season. ...
  • Apply Mulch. ...
  • Wrap in Burlap. ...
  • Hold off on Fertilizing and Pruning. ...

Can I prune a Japanese maple in the winter?

The best time to prune a Japanese maple is in the winter when the maple is dormant, so the tree doesn't quickly regrow along cuts. Sap seeps from maples when they are cut at other times of year, and pruning in the winter avoids this sticky situation.

Do Japanese maples need a lot of Sun?

While some can tolerate full sun, Japanese maples prefer dappled or afternoon shade, especially when young. Shade does have its limits though–they need some sun for best foliage color and to promote the more loose and open structure for which they are prized. Protection from strong winds.

When should I prune my Dwarf Japanese maple?

  • Avoid pruning the tree in weather hotter than 80 °F (27 °C), especially if the tree is located in full sun. ...
  • Light pruning can be done at any point in the year except spring. The spring is when the maple has the most sap.
  • Try pruning your maple about twice a year—once in winter and once in summer, preferably.


How do you take care of a Japanese maple in the winter?

Tips For Winterizing Japanese Maple Trees1) Choose sites out of the wind as much as possible. ... 2) Do not fertilize into late summer. ... 3) Water heavily just prior to freeze-up. ... 4) Mulch to insulate the roots with a 3-4 inch-deep pile of mulch built around the base of the tree.More items...

Will Japanese maple lose its leaves in winter?

Generally, Japanese maple trees will shed their foliage during the late fall into winter to prepare for their dormant growing season. From what we found, drought is a major cause of leaves dropping during the spring and summer months, so check your maple's soil regularly.

What does a Japanese maple look like in the winter?

Your Japanese maple may have sunscald of its foliage. The leaves turn brown after they are scalded by bright sunshine in cold weather. Sunscald can also crack open the bark when the temperatures plunge after sunset. Tree bark sometimes splits vertically at the point where the roots meet the stem.

Do Japanese maple trees go dormant?

Japanese maples are deciduous plants, which means that they are not evergreens. Come winter, they drop their leaves and go into a resting period until spring. This resting, or dormant, period is a chance for them to re-charge their batteries, if you will.

Why are my leaves falling off my Japanese maple?

Japanese maple losing leaves in summer Foliage loss in summer happens due to drought. Japanese Maple tree loves to be in moist soil, it requires abundant water to thrive. If the soil is dry, the tree loses leaves to keep up with the loss of water. This is because the loss of water occurs via foliage.

Do Japanese maple trees drop leaves in the fall?

Do all Japanese maples lose their leaves? Yes! Japanese maples are deciduous trees. During October and November maples provide a lovely show of fall color. Then in late November, or December, the leaves drop.

How often do you water a Japanese maple tree?

Plan to water heavily twice a week during normal weather and three or even four times weekly in periods of drought. Whether your tree is young or mature, it will grow best in soil kept consistently moist by regular watering and mulching.

How do you know when a Japanese maple is dying?

A dying Japanese maple is often because of fungal diseases pathogens that thrive in overly damp soils. Saturated soil promotes the conditions for root rot which cause dying Japanese maples. Too much wind, sun and not enough water also causes maples to have brown, wilted leaves and a dying appearance.

How cold is too cold for a Japanese maple?

Generally, Japanese maples thrive in areas where the average minimum temperature remains above -10 degrees F (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6), but some can tolerate temperatures as low as -30 F (Zone 4).

How do you know when a Japanese maple is dormant?

Consider a Japanese maple to be dormant from leaf drop in the fall until just before the leaf buds swell in the spring.

How cold can a Japanese maple tree get?

Typically maples can handle down to -15° F without much trouble, but when Japanese maples are young they may need some protection. The harsh effects from wind and ice are the two most important factors to keep in mind when protecting your trees.

How to winterize maple trees?

1) Choose sites out of the wind as much as possible. You can minimize weather problems by picking a good planting site with stable temperatures.

How to prevent water loss in winter?

3) Water heavily just prior to freeze-up. If autumn rains have been insufficient, give your plants a deep soaking to supply water to the entire root system before the ground freezes. Deep soaking will help to guard against water loss in winter.

Does snow damage Japanese maple trees?

Snow falling in the colder climates can both protect and endanger plants. A good snow cover will insulate the soil similar to a mulch. However snow accumulating on Japanese maple branches will weigh them down, risking breakage.

Do maple trees need water?

Maples do not need much water in the winter since they are dormant . There can be the tendency to overwater your maples in the winter and this can lead to root rot problems. Winterizing your trees in cold climates can help ensure your tree’s survival through a harsh winter as well as help your tree get off to a great start in the spring.

Why do trees shed their leaves in spring?

Trees may also wait until spring to shed their leaves, thus providing a fresh source of nutrient-rich organic matter to the root zone where soils are otherwise poor.

What is the abscission zone of a tree?

In deciduous trees, this includes the development of an abscission zone of cells where the branches connect to the base of leaf stems (peti oles). A layer of cells essentially seals off the branches to protect them from water loss, and then the leaves are shed from the tree.

Why won't my Japanese maple leaf out?

Colder than normal winter temperatures or bitterly cold winter winds can cause die back and winter burn. This can mean that your Japanese maple won’t leaf out. Your best course is to prune out dead or damaged branches. But be careful because some branches and shoots look dead but aren’t.

Where are the nutrients stored in the leaves?

The nutrients that leaves produce during the summer are stored in the roots. In spring, the nutrients rise into the tree via sap. If your tree has a problem getting the nutrients back up to the branches, the problem could be Verticillium wilt, an infection in the xylem layer that blocks sap.

Can you save a Japanese maple tree with verticillium?

Unfortunately, you cannot save a tree with Verticillium. Remove it and plant only trees resistant to the fungus. Water stress can also be a reason for leaves not growing on Japanese maples. Remember that these trees need water not just in summer, but in dry springs and falls as well.

Why do Japanese maples lose their leaves?

Check the moisture level in the soil surrounding your Japanese elm tree. Although Japanese maples can withstand mild droughts, excessive dryness can cause your maple to lose its leaves. Dig a small hole near the base of your tree.

What is a Japanese maple tree?

Japanese maple trees are small ornamental trees that seldom grow taller than 20 feet. Favored by homeowners for their attractive foliage, Japanese maples have multiple branches that produce serrated leaves. In the autumn, these leaves turn vibrant shades of orange, red and yellow, creating a focal point in the landscape.

How to get rid of a tree with rotting leaves?

Apply the insecticide on a calm day when the new leaf buds begin opening. Remove the fallen leaves from the ground around your tree. These dropped leaves can rot and form a favorable environment for mildew and pest infestations. Keep the area clean around your tree by clearing up the leaves and branches as they fall.

How to tell if Japanese elm has bladder galls?

Check the moisture level in the soil surrounding your Japanese elm tree. Examine the leaves on your Japanese maple tree. Look for small, round, red structures that resemble tiny warts. This is a symptom of bladder galls that signal the presence of a small mite called Vasates quadripedes, a pest that commonly affects maple trees.

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