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What is wrong with my Japanese Maple tree?

ayalandreayalandre Posts: 5
hello everyone!
i just signed in because my tree is really wilting at the moment and w won’t know what to do! 
We got it last year and was planted in a big pot. The tree received morning sun and most of the time is in the shade.
last year it’s leaves were okay but this year they have wilted a lot.
we ha ds colder than usual winter and it has been raining a bit, then a lot of sun and now it’s going to rain for about another 4 days.
we have watered it a bit for a while and add fertiliser to see if it would help but it hasn’t! 
Could somebody help?
I scratched a bit and it looks green (see photos)
it also looks like it has been binded on the base? (See photos)
it would be great to have it back but I just don’t see what we have done wrong. Should it had been planted directly on the ground? It’s so sad to see

Really looking forward to your replies.

many thanks in advance 


  • ayalandreayalandre Posts: 5
    More photos:

  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,464
    Can I ask what soil you used for it and does the pot drain well? I tend to top dress the soil around mine with a layer of gravel which helps regulate the moisture levels. It's a bit of a leggy specimin for its height. What was the root system like when you potted it up and does it move about in the pot much now?
    If you can keep your head, while those around you are losing theirs, you may not have grasped the seriousness of the situation.
  • ayalandreayalandre Posts: 5
    edited May 2018
    We used standard compost we got at B&Q. The pot had other compost there which we mixed in as well.

    The drainage is not too good. I believe it has a small hole in the bottom. Probably 1.5x the size of a 50p. 

    I am not sure how it’s root system was (to be honest we are both incredibly amateur when it comes to trees/plants :((( ) could you elaborate on that and maybe I can see? We potted it directly and didnt pay much attention to the roots. I believe we didn’t put any gravel down in the bottom either (oh dear....) 

    the tree doesnt move much but it has been windy so the top bit has been moving quite a bit. There is some sticks on the base to help it hold.

    I think we are a little bit out of our depth here... :( 

    the binding bit looks a strange and the top section of the base and the bottom looks of different colour as if they below on different trees. It also looks like it has some sort of paste/glue on it. We got this tree at B&Q. 

    Do do you think it’s okay to move it now? Or should we leave it? We don’t have anything on the top of it, so we will definitely add some gravel. What kind of gravel should we add? 

    i feel a bit silly. It’s the first tree we have ever bought and feel we didn’t do enough to make it happy 
  • FireFire Posts: 19,000
    They can be quite tricky to look after. Don't feel bad.
  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053
    I am slightly confused with this, but I always am with acers. It looks like 'Crimson Queen" but the graft is very high up the stem. This is making it look leggy.

    Assuming that is what it is, then I would say it is too damp and that might be caused by poor drainage. Could you ease it out of the pot sideways to see if it is waterlogged? 

    Crimson Queen does well in sun or dappled shade and your plant looks as if it is in full shade, so give it more light if you can. Also, keep it out of wind. None if them like that.
    SW Scotland
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,464
    Ok it sounds like it might be waterlogged. They don't like to be too wet (or too dry). I use John Innes No2 compost for mine and they do well in that but some people find the john innes ericaceous (acidic soil basically) to be better. Add some grit or crocks to the bottom of the pot to make sure the hole doesn't get plugged up.

    When choosing a pot try to get something wide and V shaped (well more like \_/ ). The one you have is ok for a young plant but isn't very stable for a tall plant because of the narrow base and it will be very tricky to extract the tree when it comes to needing repotting because of the narrower top. You'd basically have to smash it to remove the root ball in a couple of years.

    With this pot I'd make sure the drainage hole is clear and maybe position the pot over a joint in the patio slabs to help water flow out better. You could scrape the loose soil off the top and add a layer of john innes and a top dress of grit. It'll probably be best to nurse it through this year and then repot in the winter when it's dormant. If it's rocking about in the pot a bit then you can wrap string around the neck of the pot and run 2 lines across the top of the pot in a X to wrap the truck and hold it steady. Don't let the string rub the bark though.

    Mosy of these trees are grafted from a piece of specimen tree onto the base of a seed grown tree which is why it looks like 2 halves of different trees. The paste they used was to cover the open wound when they cut the top off the seed grown tree to graft on the new top.
    If you can keep your head, while those around you are losing theirs, you may not have grasped the seriousness of the situation.
  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053
    Fire said:
    They can be quite tricky to look after. Don't feel bad.
    I'll second that. Just another thought that I had was possible damage to the roots when you pushed the three sticks into the root ball. It's all trial and error and if this one fails, try again.
    SW Scotland
  • ayalandreayalandre Posts: 5
    Wow this so amazing!!! I’m so grateful for your replies! Very cool 🙏🏻

    Do do you think it would be okay to repot it now to clear the bottom bit and add some grit?  I might as well get a different pot for it, the shape suggested, if repotting now is suggested.
    is this grit too small or good enough? For top and bottom? 

    This is a silly question but how tall should the pot be? How much the roots should be front the bottom (if any is required) it seems the pot I have got is tall enough. It’s 50cm tall. 

    The sticks where there already, we left them when we repotted it. So im
    not sure if the base roots are damaged 😐

    thank you so so much!!! 
  • Hi I've got 6 acers in pots. I use crocks in the base for drainage and a mix of John Inness 3 and Ericaceous compost. The pot is soaked and then mulched with ordinary garden gravel. I try to use rainwater on them not tap water snd take top 6 inches of compost every year and put fresh in. Give it some granular bone meal in spring and some liquid feed in summer like comfrey or seaweed. They hate cold winds and can get scorched by sun. Mine are at the back of the garden in the shade of an old apple tree.It gets sun for about 4 hours a day. I repot when the roots start to come through the bottom.of the pot.  See attached.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy Posts: 6,754
    Acers in pots can suffer from root rots if they sit in too much water or if the pot is too deep. Young Acers are also susceptible to vine weevil attack as are many other potted plants. These eat the roots and weaken the plants or in extreme cases can cause complete collapse.  The best solution to this is to water on a biological control or there are chemical controls you can use.
    AB Still learning

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