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Japanese Acer Palmatum

Can anyone help I'm struggling to keep a healthy looking Japanese Acer Palmatum. Not sure what I'm doing wrong, it's in a shady spot in my garden, I'm not over watering it. I'll post some photos if anyone can help or has experienced this in the past. The leaves seemed scorched at the top but the new shoots below are looking healthy then turning black and dead.  Many thanks. 


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,279
    Weather this year has been difficult for lots of plants, and acers can get a bit scorched and damaged by wind and sun at the best of times, let alone in the high temps and sun that has been around in the last couple of months in many places.
    Although they like a damper medium to grow in, they also need good drainage - is there good drainage in that pot? You need to make sure the holes don't get clogged up. What have you used for it to grow in?
    You could be overwatering which is causing the new foliage to suffer. Has it been planted deeper than the original soil level? Also - has it recently been repotted? It can be a mistake to pot on into a much bigger pot - they do better if potted on into something just slightly bigger than the size they've been in.
    Can you offer any more info?  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • hkohlmanhkohlman Posts: 3
    Hi FairyGirl, 

    Thank you so much for commenting. It has recently been repotted in the pot as I only purchased it in June. I planted it in compost from our compost heap but I wondering if it's a drainage problem. Not sure if it was planted lower than the original soil level, I'm very new to gardening so potentially yes. 

    Thanks again
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,279
    They like an ericacous type of medium, but if they're in a pot long term, compost isn't enough. A soil based compost is better, not compost alone, is needed, and a bit of leaf mould is beneficial, though not necessary. Keeping the plant at the same level as the pot it was in,  is quite important. If you can check that,and just scrape away a bit of compost if it's too high, that will do. A layer of gravel or bark helps keep moisture in and weeds out too - but make sure you leave a little space round the main stem/trunk  to avois too much moisture sitting against it. Always water directly at the base of the plant - not overhead and over the foliage. 
    I think you may have over potted it. If you can get it into something slightly smaller, I think it would help. The expert advice apparently is that it becomes too difficult for the roots to get out into the quantity of soil in too big a pot, so it benefits them to be potted on in small increments  :)
    Also - if you can put the pot up on some feet, that will help. Anything will do. I use little blocks of wood if I don't have the proper little terracotta types. That means excess water can get away. I see you have it on grass, which means it may not be draining very well. 
    Acers can seem a bit tricky, but they're very rewarding once you get the hang of them!
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • hkohlmanhkohlman Posts: 3
    That's brilliant advice thank you .
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,279
    Good luck with it - come back if you're still struggling with it in another month or so. It's all a big learning curve with this gardening malarkey!
    They like the climate up here in Scotland - lots of rain and neutral to acidic, peaty soil , and they come from woodland areas, so if you bear that in mind, it'll help.  The dark ones do like a bit of sun to help keep their colour, but it's about getting a happy medium for them.
    It can be difficult to replicate their ideal conditions if you have something very different though   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,425
    edited July 2018
    Acers have very fine roots and even the most careful of moving them can cause damage. They often struggle to get enough water in the first year or two after being moved even if put in open ground. Even established ones are showing signs of stress this year. The good news is they will grow a lovely crop of new undamaged leaves next year
    AB Still learning

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