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Fuzzy tips on acer?

My poor acer is still struggling to recover after the drought last year. I had to cut almost half of it out in spring as that much was just dead.

This year it has tried to grow a good 10" all over, and did produce good leaves initially, but they all crisped and died in the end (black crisping. Too dry? Too wet?).

Anyhoo, I'm now seeing this on the ends of some of the new growth. What's going on with my poor tree now?

I get a strong crosswind, but I was careful to plant it where it's got a large garage on the windy side to shelter it. It does get a lot of sun but until last year it was growing beautifully. Soil is sandy and drains well.

If it makes any difference, the variety is Orange Dream. It's about 4ft tall and wide now.


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,587
    Japanese maples are woodland edge and glade plants.  That means most of them don't do well in full sun, they like a rich, humous soil (all that woodland leaf mold) and shelter from winds which in their natural habitat are filtered by bigger trees and don't come howling round a garage.

    Sandy soil is too free draining so I suggest you try and move it this autumn to somewhere ore sheltered and that you beef up the soil with plenty of moisture retentive compost and leaf mold.  If you can't do that, provide a windbreak to filter the wind coming round that garage and give it a very good long drink and then a thick mulch of well-rotetd garden compost and manure. 

    Repeat the mulch every spring and autumn and never let it go thirsty during hot or dry spells during the growing season like we've had this year.   If that happens next year, you'll need to water it generously at least once or twice a week during a heatwave. 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you.

    I do have a more sheltered spot elsewhere now, close to an 8ft silver birch (which I'm keeping to that height, so it's got a lot of sideways growth) after the drought last year killed off my kerria.  So I can move it.  I've been watering well; the problem last year was that I didn't start that until soon enough, with not realising quickly enough that the drought wasn't going to stop anytime soon.  I've been on top of it this year with that in mind.

    Mulch-wise: I'll have plenty of bark chippings this week but they do come with fresh quail poo!  Is well rotted a strict necessity?  My chicken poo isn't rotted down enough to use yet.  Failing that I can soon get some older garden waste, plenty of that around too but I'd rather use the bark if I can (because I'll need somewhere to put it and my compost bins are full of the chicken poo).
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,587
    Fresh poo is too strong in chemicals that can burn plants so definitely needs to be set aside to rot down till there is no smell, just lovely composted manure.  The mulch needs to be some well-rotted matter in agood thick layer before you apply the chipped bark which is better for keeping down weeds and reducing moisture loss than it is for improving sandy soil.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Also, should I wait until the leaves have dropped before I move it?
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,587
    Yes, it's best done when dormant but while the soil is still warm.  Water well before and after and keep an eye on it if the winter proves dry and especially next spring.  It will need moisture to get its roots settled and growing again.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • dappledshadedappledshade Top of the Hill, North London Posts: 982
    edited October 2019
    100% agree with Obelixx.
    My acers in previous gardens always developed crispy leafy tips it they got too much sun and/or wind.
    Last year’s summer was particularly harsh on moisture and dappled shade lovers.
    They hate going dry, so thick layer of well rotted mulch is essential.
    I have a variety similar to yours, in my new garden. It’s planted under an olive that is very tall and gets sun all day, but the acer is in dappled shade and has a warm, northwest facing wooden fence behind it.
    Definitely don’t move it until it’s dormant, but when the ground is still warm and there is no frost. 
    No harm sticking some mycorrhizal fungi powder on the roots when you do, to help it settle into its new spot.
    Hope it works - they’re lovely trees.

  • Brilliant, thank you both.  I'll use the garden waste then, I've got loads of that and I am about to have a bit of a clear up of some of it.

    It is a beautiful tree, or was going to be until last year - I lost about a third of it.  But actually, it'll be even better in the new spot because it's closer to the house so I'll get to enjoy it more!
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,587
    Good luck with moving it.  I hope it recovers and thrives.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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