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Acer palmatum atropurpurem - dying or ??

Good afternoon! My Acer is looking very sad.  It was planted 2 years ago and was ok for the 1st year but started going "downhill" after that.  Is it diseased and in terminal decline?  Many thanks.


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645
    Hard to tell in winter when it's dormant and bare.  Wait till bud burst in spring tosee where, or if, new leaves are fomring.   There may be a bit owinter frost dameg you need to snip out, cutting back to just above the nearest healthy bud or there may be considerable die back in which case you'll need to assess whether it is worth trying to save or not.

    Did you water it during the long, hot, dry spell last summer?  It won't have liked being scorched and thirsty. 
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Definitely not, in my (limited experience)!  There are lots of healthy buds.

    You should remove the dead stuff ... so the white branches with no healthy buds, take those back to 1cm-2cm of the nearest healthy branch.  This should be a case of snipping a few ends off, nothing major.  
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,364
    It does have some healthy buds, but also some of the main branches are diseased.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • Many thanks for the speedy and informative replies.  I shall cut back the dead branches and see what the Spring brings.  Tx again.
  • BijdezeeBijdezee Posts: 1,484
    edited February 2019
    I have exactly the same Acer, so your post made me go and have a good look at it. I noticed that mine also seems to have a couple of the same patches on it but less pronounced. On mine I was able to scratch it off a bit, is it the same on yours? If not, I think I would cut back to healthy wood on one of the areas then check the offcut to see if the damage is all the way through.

    My feeling is that it is some weather damage and that the plant will be ok. Having to prune an Acer is not ideal as it can ruin the natural shape but if carefully done it is better than having to replace it. They are not cheap. 
  • Unfortunately it doesn't scratch off.  So I will dust off the secateurs and see if that solves the problem.
  • barry 788 said:
    Unfortunately it doesn't scratch off.  So I will dust off the secateurs and see if that solves the problem.
    What did you do in the end?

    In my own garden I just discovered something that looks very very similar on a fairly young 2-3’ Acer shaina that I moved to a fairly shaded spot.

    The dieback was mid branch rather than from the base of the branch and I removed the whole limb in the end.

    It was looking healthy in October and I moved it but it has gone downhill all of a sudden. 

    I’m wondering about digging it up and replacing with a lot of better soil or even putting back in a pot to see if I can nurse it back to better health.

  • I have cut back the dead/diseased parts and keep my fingers crossed.
  • I posted another thread with some pictures of what mine was showing ... at the point of your cut did you see those same black streaks running through the tissue at the cut point?
  • No, there were no streaks at the cut point.
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