Hi Everyone, I am hoping you can help me with my Japanese Maple (Crimson Queen) problem. The leaves are dropping like crazy. Almost like it is going bald... I don't see anything on the branches or trunk. I gave it a deep watering yesterday. Feeling clueless..help!
It might help if you could post some pictures. A little more information would also help. Are the leaves crisping up & dying before falling off, or just falling? Any other symptoms showing up on the leaves before they fall? How much sun is it getting? Did you just plant it this year or has it been in the ground for years? How have you been watering it? Fertilizing it? What type of soil do you have?
How much sun is it getting? JM's particularly the ones with the dissected leaves don't really like a lot of sun if it's hot, so if you've had a lot of hot weather and it's getting a pinch too much sun that could cause what you're seeing here. There could be other possibilities too, but it looks like what happens to mine if they are getting a bit too much sun and we have a hot spell. The good news is mine have always come back fine the following year after stuff like this, but they almost always get a bit ratty looking by the end of summer.
We have been getting alot of rain, so I haven't been watering as much...
Yes, it looks like it usually would at the end of the summer..
Can't really tell what is going on with the wood..but I live in the city so there isn't much that would be gnawing on it..
Maybe I should try watering more, or could that cause problems?
If you've been getting a lot of rain then it probably doesn't need more water. Even if you water properly, heat can make them look ratty especially if they're getting a little more sun than would be ideal. Several of mine get ratty looking pretty much every summer--in a hot summer they'll get that way earlier in the summer but some years they'll hold out until closer to fall if the weather's a little cooler.
I've found some cultivars are more resistant to getting ratty than others...'Butterfly' is my champ, it typically looks good all the way until it's supposed to lose its leaves. 'Shirazz' on the other hand usually looks ratty by May no matter how nice our weather has been. If I hadn't spent so much on it I'd probably throw it out :) We've had a decent summer so far and Shirazz is the only one right now that looks yucky.
The Crimson Queen is supposed to be one of the more heat-tolerant of the Japanese Maples, so I'm wondering (since you mentioned you've been getting a lot of rain), how exposed is it to wind? It sure looks to me like sunburn on the leaves, but I could be wrong. Do you also check the soil when/before you water? Check in a couple different spots around the root base, several inches out from the trunk, and 4-5 inches down. If it's dry down there, then it'll need water. They do like consistently moist, but not wet, conditions. Is it getting full sun? While they can tolerate a lot of sun, they really can get 'too much'. Do you have it mulched as well? Even if it is mulched, and the root system is holding water well, the leaves **still** can get sunburned, but it should come back just fine.