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  #1  
Old April 25th, 2008, 01:57 PM
Judybill42 Judybill42 is offline
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japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

We just noticed our japanese maple bloodgood wilting leaves, we have not fertilized and have not done anything different in that part of the yard. Can we save the tree?
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  #2  
Old April 25th, 2008, 03:03 PM
Gomero Gomero is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

If all the leaves wilt and there is a loss of turgidity in the young twigs, then the tree is gone, there is nothing you can do to save it. I call it the sudden spring wilt since I do not know what causes it. I have lost 4 this spring to that.

Gomero
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Old April 25th, 2008, 03:35 PM
Judybill42 Judybill42 is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Thank you for the reply - I hate to loose this tree as it was a gift .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gomero View Post
If all the leaves wilt and there is a loss of turgidity in the young twigs, then the tree is gone, there is nothing you can do to save it. I call it the sudden spring wilt since I do not know what causes it. I have lost 4 this spring to that.

Gomero
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Old April 25th, 2008, 05:44 PM
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Poetry to Burn Poetry to Burn is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Gomero,

Wow sorry to hear about your loss.


Were they new plants? Do you have a theory?

gil
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Old April 25th, 2008, 06:02 PM
katsura katsura is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Gomero,
I second Gil's message. Sorry for your loss.
I know how bad I feel when I lose a tree (s), and
I know how much you love these maples.
Mike aka "katsura"
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Old April 25th, 2008, 06:40 PM
Judybill42 Judybill42 is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Thanks for the reply - we had this tree maybe 10+ years, it was a gift, we moved it about 3 times to finally get it in the right spot. It is maybe 7 ft tall, not a pretty shape but beautiful never the less. It has done very well all this time and suddenly this past week or so the leaves started wilting. We haven't fertilized the yard and the surrounding area is the same as always. The limbs still seem supple but the leaves are dry and fading color. At first I thought it might be the cool nights but it certainly has survived those in the past. Also we have had rain so it wasn't for a lack of water. We are not sure what to do, perhaps nothing and see what happens. Most of the nurseries around our area do not employ anyone knowledgable about plants, only how to sell them!!!
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Gomero,

Wow sorry to hear about your loss.


Were they new plants? Do you have a theory?

gil
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Old April 26th, 2008, 02:58 AM
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Have you by any chance had heavier than usual rainfall? Would the water table have risen appreciably this past year or so?
I ask because this has happened to me and I have lost a few plants (not just Japanese maples) this past year from drowning.
Drowning causes this type of instant leaf death
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  #8  
Old April 26th, 2008, 02:53 PM
Gomero Gomero is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Mike and Gil,
Thanks for your 'condolences'. The pics below shows how it looks, the plant collapses in a few days. The twigs do not blacken and I have a hard time seeing any black striations when I cut one of the branches. I've checked the roots and see no trace of vine weevil bugs (they had been treated with nematodes anyway).
Jim (Mr. Shep) has said in another thread in this forum that he believes it is a form of verticillium. However I have not found any additional information on it.

One thing that somehow reassures me (if i may say so) is that all the plants that collapsed had been purchased this winter and were still for the most part in their original soil. So my presumption is that whatever it is, it came from the supplier (all the collapsed plants came from the same supplier)

Sam we have had slightly below normal rainfall and my garden is in a slope anyway, so water logging is not an issue even if it downpours

Gomero
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  #9  
Old April 27th, 2008, 06:47 AM
Layne Uyeno Layne Uyeno is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Hi Gomero,

Were these trees purchased via mail order or locally?

Layne
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  #10  
Old April 27th, 2008, 09:09 AM
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M. D. Vaden M. D. Vaden is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

For some reason, this spring I'm getting an amazing number of phone calls from people about wilted looking leaves on Japanese maples.

Like 500% more calls about that one aspect alone.

Most of the callers have trees where the tree leaves are just days or weeks into development. So I've asked most to wait a number of weeks until leaves can grow more.

If it's Verticillium, waiting a few weeks would be inconsequential.

One immediate thing to check, might be to see if the soil is saturated with water. If not, a few week's wait might be the next step.
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Old April 27th, 2008, 09:10 AM
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

with respect of Jim,pics of Gomero are pics of maple that have in the soil Oziorinco or similar insect that live in USA,this is my experience...
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Old April 27th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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whis4ey whis4ey is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Is 'oziorinco' the same thing as the vine weevil?
It certainly looks the same as a grub .....
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Old April 27th, 2008, 01:52 PM
Gomero Gomero is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

All my maples have been treated twice, once in the Fall and then again in the Spring, with nematodes which is the most effective treatment against vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) grubs. In addition the two trees shown in my pic are 3 year olds grafts (which I bought in person from a well known supplier, I never buy mail order) planted in the ground, you would certainly need a heavy infection of grubs to kill them outright. Vine weevil larvae are deadly mainly for small plants in pots.

Gomero
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:46 PM
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Gomero,

Looking at the pictures of the trees you posted, I don't believe you have Verticillium wilt. With Verticillium wilt you should have some dark stems along with the wilting foliage. With Verticillium wilt or Fusarium wilt on Japanese Maples the cambium layer is destroyed and turns brown. A slight cut into the cambium layer can tell you if this is happening, yet this will almost always show as brown or black stems starting at the top of the plant and working down to the root zone with the wilting doing the same.

The trees look like they frosted. Yet, none of the other plants around them look that way, so I gather they have not been frosted. They could have some other root damage, but the only way to tell if that is the case it to pull them up, and I would give them more time before I did that if it were me.

Japanese Maples do not like wet feet (roots) and can get Pseudomonas or Pythium caused by too wet of soil. Once the tree has shown the symptoms of this it is almost impossible to cure. Wet 'feet' can be a problem with plants that were just planted out until they have a chance to spread their roots into the native soil. If Pseudomonas or Pythium are the cause you may see a softening of the stem just as it comes out of the soil and slightly below the soil level. The next thing it will do is mold as the fungus spreads up the stem. Either of these fungus' can be caused by planting the tree too deep in the soil. But they may have been caused during the winter at the nursery by over watering.

There are many other issues that may have caused this wilt. It is really hard to tell for sure without a lab test to really get the answer and even then it may not give good results.

I would give them some more time and don't over water in the mean time. If it is a problem caused by chewing insects, often the plant can overcome this and get a toe hold again.

Good luck!
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Old April 30th, 2008, 01:22 PM
Gomero Gomero is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Shrubs,

Thank you for taking your time on this.

Quote:
Looking at the pictures of the trees you posted, I don't believe you have Verticillium wilt. With Verticillium wilt you should have some dark stems along with the wilting foliage. With Verticillium wilt or Fusarium wilt on Japanese Maples the cambium layer is destroyed and turns brown. A slight cut into the cambium layer can tell you if this is happening, yet this will almost always show as brown or black stems starting at the top of the plant and working down to the root zone with the wilting doing the same.
Verticillium has been discussed in this forum at great lengths, there is even an FAQ entry on the subject.
Your statements above are not fully correct, symptoms caused by Verticillium (Verticillium albo-atrum and Verticillium dahliae) develop anytime during the growing season, although we all know that are most likely to appear in July and August. Symptoms appear chronically (which is the common form), or they may be acute and often lethal. In its lethal form, Verticillium wilt will cause a sudden and total collapse of the plant which is maybe what happened to my plants.
The fungus gains entry to the tree through the root system, it generally spreads upward into the trunk through the sapwood and interferes with water movement and other plant functions. It causes a variety of symptoms that may be accentuated by drought, inadequate nutrition, poor drainage, or other conditions that reduce tree vigor. Wilting, interveinal browning, and leaf drop usually begin on one branch or on a section of the tree and progress throughout the tree.
Verticillium species cause discolored streaks in the sapwood that run parallel to the grain of the wood and commonly extend from the roots into the branches (not the other way around). In a slant cut the discoloration appears as spots or partial to complete rings in one or more growth rings. The discoloration varies with the tree species, in maples it is grayish-green to olive-green. Streaking may or may not be found in affected branches, and observation of the wood in or near the root system may be required. Positive confirmation can be made only by laboratory culture of symptomatic wood samples.

Quote:
I gather they have not been frosted.
I agree

Quote:
Japanese Maples do not like wet feet (roots) and can get Pseudomonas or Pythium caused by too wet of soil. Once the tree has shown the symptoms of this it is almost impossible to cure. Wet 'feet' can be a problem with plants that were just planted out until they have a chance to spread their roots into the native soil. If Pseudomonas or Pythium are the cause you may see a softening of the stem just as it comes out of the soil and slightly below the soil level. The next thing it will do is mold as the fungus spreads up the stem. Either of these fungus' can be caused by planting the tree too deep in the soil. But they may have been caused during the winter at the nursery by over watering.
I have a number of trees with pseudomonas (even one died), but those in this thread did not die of peudomonas. None of my trees have wet feet, on the contrary they suffer from dry feet.

Quote:
It is really hard to tell for sure without a lab test to really get the answer and even then it may not give good results.
I agree. However I have a lead ;o)): all of the (now) 5 wilted maples were bought from the same supplier this winter.

Quote:
I would give them some more time
They are dead

Gomero
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Old May 12th, 2008, 11:35 AM
Big Red Big Red is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judybill42 View Post
We just noticed our japanese maple bloodgood wilting leaves, we have not fertilized and have not done anything different in that part of the yard. Can we save the tree?
It's probably too late now. I just joined. But if not try Phyton27. It is a combination bactericide/fungicide. It has been used on JMs for Pseudomonas, Botrytis, and verticillium with some success depending on the stage. Google them and call them about your problem. Good luck!
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Old May 17th, 2008, 05:52 AM
kaspian kaspian is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

I just had this same kind of sudden spring wilt with a newly planted shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon.'

The plant had experienced some shock in planting, as it arrived from the nursery after 7 days in the hands of UPS to be greeted by a Maine spring with daytime temps only in the 40s or low 50s, night temps in the 30s (though not below freezing) and a frequent drying wind. Nonetheless this plant and two other maples -- A. s. 'Moonrise' and A. trifolium -- seemed to have recovered nicely, and all three were putting out some new leaves.

Now the 'Autumn Moon' has completely and suddenly wilted -- i.e. lost all turgidity and begun looking withered and dead -- while the other two plants, in nearly identical soil and growing conditions, are looking fine. In fact 'Moonrise' is perhaps the most vigorous-looking of the 8 maples I planted this year.

I've ordered a replacement 'Autumn Moon' because I really want to grow this variety and I *thought* I had a perfect spot for it.

Meanwhile I'm surprised by the arrival of many new JM and other maple varieties at the local garden center. I don't see too many of these trees around, but I suppose they're all tucked away in little private landscapes.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 07:08 AM
Miarka Miarka is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

My gift Japanese Maple, planted in September 2007, was beautiful last Sunday and by Monday after a heavy rain, had started to wilt. It now looks completely dead a week later. The leaves have all shriveled and are brown. It may have drowned? We have had a lot of rain here in Eastern Virginia. I hate to dig it up and move it as it is already stressed. Is it possible to save this tree my moving it, if in fact it has had too much water?

Thanks
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Old March 8th, 2010, 08:34 AM
luvtheshade luvtheshade is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Although it is too late to save my Bloodgood Japanese Maple, I am wondering about the possibility of 'suspect' nematodes? Just before the sudden and complete collapse of my tree, I had treated my entire garden with nematodes for the control of vine weevil.
My Japanese Maple was 13 years old and had been of a good size when purchased (about 7' tall and in a wooden crate planter about 3 cubic feet). It died very suddenly with symptoms appearing in June (crispy curled leaves on about 1/4 of the growth on one side). The tree was very vigorous and had been so for all of the years it was in my garden. By last year it had reached a size of about 13' tall by 12' wide and was absolutely stunning and completely healthy. The previous winter conditions had been unremarkable for our area, and in any case, spring growth was healthy with no sign of winter die back. I'd not changed any of the practices in my garden except for the nematode application.
I am wondering if nematode culture can be improperly or carelessly done (ie: inadvertently culture unwanted nematodes or other pathogens if care is not taken to completely isolate the required nematode for culture?).
Just a thought - and I wondered if anyone else has this correlation in the sudden collapse of an otherwise and previously very healthy Japanese Maple.
Inspection of the cambium layer of my dead tree failed to reveal any of the darkening that would suggest Verticillium Wilt - and other plants that might fall victim to this disease are growing in the same area without problems.
This question isn't being asked in order to 'point the finger' - my object is to look for the possibility of an identifiable culprit that might be avoided, should it exist. I am just wondering if care in the selection of a nematode source has ever been suggested by 'experts' in the matter?
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Old March 10th, 2010, 06:57 PM
mattlwfowler mattlwfowler is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

I have had similar sudden collapses in spring a few times before, usually with newly ordered plants. I have noticed that the attack occurs right at the base of the plant, where the stem tissue changes to root tissue. At first the leaves wilt with no sign of damage anywhere else in the tree. However, by the time the leaves have browned or blackened you can see the dark tissue working up the stem from the root flare. In several cases the green portion of the trunk is swollen from cell expansion but the root tissue is slightly smaller in diameter. I don't know if this type of collapse is the quick decline form of verticillium, phytopthera syringae, or some form of fusarium. I have now been carefully treating all of my small maples with fungicide near the base to see if this helps.
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Old December 4th, 2010, 04:36 PM
John Hosie John Hosie is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Don't know if this is still a problem for people, but I have had it in the past. I found that, at least for part of the problem, it seemed to be directly related to where the tree was ordered from. Some eBay sellers products were reliable. Others were not.

One of the first I purchased from is in North Carolina. He had great variety, so I bought 1 and 2 year grafts from him 3-4 years in a row. The trouble I had with him is that the survival rate was not good. I finally stopped buying from him this past summer when I decided I was going to start taking statistics on what survived. He had 60% survival. I consider that unacceptable - even though they do tend to be low priced trees.

A second one I've bought from is in Oregon. His products tend to be unique, and he has a much larger variety both in Maples and in conifers. His conifers have been 100% survival. Maples have been closer to 80%. This means survival through the first 3 months. But his attitude stinks - and he doesn't always send you what you ordered. When you tell him he's messed up, he sometimes won't send you what you ordered. So I've cut back from him - primarily because I found someone else who sells nice, cheap conifers that may be small, but they are nice.

I had good results from an eBay seller in (I think) Ohio, and another in Pennsylvania. Survival for both was over 90%, and the products were decent - though not as diverse as I might like.

Finally, I had great results from a second seller in Oregon - acer1987 or something like that. 100% survival the first year, and over 95% after two years. I even had a Toyama Nishiki from them "munched" by a deer last year in December. It ripped off almost the entire graft - leaving only about an inch of wood with no noticible buds. Well, by June it was growing and producing leaves. It now has a 9 inch branch, and I'm ready for it to start branching out next spring.

The net result is that you have to consider the source of your trees, how recent the purchase was, and what other factors might be involved. For instance, the guy from NC that I had bad results from has in all his sales listings on eBay that he pre-fertilizes with a 3 month fertilizer, so you don't have to. It seems to me that I've had a pre-mixed soil I used for re-potting that contained fertilizer, so it was possible that the combination of the two fertilizer sources put the trees in undue stress. So I'm going to try a few again from him in the spring, keeping his fertilizing in mind when I transplant to a larger pot.

Anyway, that is my $.02.
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Old May 27th, 2012, 11:22 AM
Bubbasweet Bubbasweet is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

I just had this happen to me in North vancouver. Anyone know what is going on? It has been quite windy and cold. I have been watering it and was perfectly healthy and suddenly every leaf dries up? See photos. I did top up the soild with some from the hardware store with those white specs in it. Other than that I have not done anything different?? Strange. What should I do?


http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/113/tree1i.jpg

http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/9118/tree2f.jpg
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Old May 27th, 2012, 12:12 PM
John Hosie John Hosie is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

Bubbasweet,
I have seen this so many times... and somehow I continue to get it.

The problem has to do with water not getting to the leaves. There are six things I've seen that have caused this.

1) Over-watering!!! Believe it or not, the roots need to breath. Over-watering can either make the roots unable to breath, or can get a fungus or bacteria attacking the roots. By the time you see the symptoms, it is too late. In pots, it usually comes from bad drainage in the pots - where there is a "built in" dish under the pot. It often causes water to collect there, and this is what kills the trees. Fungi and bacteria both love it. Plastic pots from WalMart or Home Depot - where they're good and cheap - are usually at fault. Not only do they allow the water to pool at the bottom, but the plastic, unlike terra cotta, doesn't breath at all.

2) Under-watering. Funny thing. Japanese Maples suffer on both sides of the watering equation. They need enough, but not too much. I have the vast majority of my JMs in pots, so this happens more often to me than I'd like. I also tried some terra cotta orchid pots, that have a few slits near the bottom on the sides. These dry out very quickly in the winter.

3) Chemical - too much fertilizer is the worst of these, but by far not the only one. Can also happen if you salt the driveway or walkway, and the JM is nearby. In the spring rains or when watering, if there was a lot of salt in the winter, it will leach into the soil and kill the tree.

4) Bark Girdling - A good 20 years ago we had a couple of beautiful JMs in the front yard. Both suddenly died - with no apparent reason. Well, in the post-mortem, we found that the bark had a borer underneath that had circumnavigated the tree - just under the bark. It killed them both. Never saw the borer. It apparently had happened sometime in the fall or winter, but it wasn't until spring, just after the leaves came out, that the problem showed up for us.

5) Early spring sun on the bark...Happened to a neighbor's tree several years back. We had a warm spell in February. The bark on the tree had direct exposure to the sun, and the warmth and the sunshine combined caused the bark to wake up from the winter hibernation too soon. A cold spell followed, and it killed the bark. So in Spring, the leaves came out, but died before they came all the way out.

6) Graft problems - the graft point on some of the fancy cultivars can be a problem. Sometimes a small crack will develop, and water will leak into the crack, causing fungus/bacterial infection. When this has happened, the scion (top part) died off. However, the rootstock often survives, and can come back to life and grow a new tree from that point. There sometimes are problems with grafts having to do with tissue incompatibility - where the grafter used a rootstock that wasn't compatible with the scion. The graft often takes and the tree looks good. But a year or so after the graft was first made, it starts to wilt. Again, the rootstock will often survive. This may be caused, as well, by an infection that the roots are resistant to, but the graft lacks the genetics to withstand it. The infection starts in the roots, but they combat it and live, but the scion lacks the ability to resist and is quickly overcome - usually with bark blackening from the graft upward.

7) Black Rot - I don't know what it really is. It may be fungal, viral, or bacterial. I don't know. I've seen this on the Seriyu, Shishigashira, Butterfly, and on the Coral Bark Maple. The bark starts turning black somewhere near the top of the tree. If you leave it alone, sometimes the tree will recover on its own. But more often than not, it will just infect the rest of the tree and kill it off. The only way to effectively stop it has been merciless pruning - cutting back well below the infection point, disinfecting, and sealing the wound. Make sure you cut just above a branch intersection, or a "bud nub". This minimizes the amount of essentially dead wood that the tree will get rid of anyway, and reduces the chance of re-infection. Make sure you also clean and disinfect your tools before and after each cut - to avoid transmission.

Regarding grafts, in general, I've had some pretty odd things happen. One in particular worth mentioning happened when my low-graft Toyama Nishiki became a snack for deer. Though JMs are resistant to deer, that doesn't stop them from taking a first bite. This one was bitten off about 1/8 inch abover the graft. I was heartbroken, but since there was still some grafted tissue alive, I just nursed the tree. Over the next couple of months, the rootstock decided to leaf out - just above ground. I let it be, figuring it could grow into a gree on its own. But then the most unexpected thing happened. The small part of the scion still attached - maybe about an inch of bark on 1/2 of the tree, and 1/8 inch above it, started to sprout leaves of its own. I let them be for several weeks, and eventually plucked off the new rootstock growth once these leaves were established. Now it is a very pretty small tree - three years since its recovery. Though it was a 2 year graft to start with, it has spread out nicely, and it has outpaced the growth on my high graft that is about the same age. I figure that letting the rootstock leaves stay for a while gave enough extra strength to the tree so the grafted portion could grow leaves, too.
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Old May 27th, 2012, 12:20 PM
Bubbasweet Bubbasweet is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

One thing I remember I did 2 weeks ago is topped each of my 3 trees with this cheap soil from the hardware store. I thought it was just regular soil but when I got it home I noticed that It had those white small stones in it but I wonder if it was slow release fertiliser and if this 1 inch or so I added this tree freaking out is a reaction to it.

Drainage seems fine. I removed all that top soil with the white stuff and I am going to get good soil from dycoffs and replace..

Let me know what you think. Can that slow release furiliser do this to a healthy tree?


Is there any way I can flush it out? Or what to do to neutrilize and flush out that crap?

Will the tree live? Body seem healthy and green.

What a dumb move.
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Old May 27th, 2012, 08:20 PM
John Hosie John Hosie is offline
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Re: japanese maple tree sudden leaf wilt

It is really tough to tell exactly what went on from a distance. Even up close, a lot of the time all I can do is speculate, as I'm too cheap to do any real testing. But many of the things I've mentioned came from suggestions I've found on the web - and you know that whatever you read on the internet is true, right? ;^) I think it best that you wait for others to weigh in on what they think.

Trees I've purchased from eBay have often been recently re-potted and the soil they use is fertilized. So the addition of fertilizer is generally a bad idea in that case.

It is usually best to check how wet the soil is before watering. In the case of a tree, this would usually mean several inches below the surface. If the soil is wet, you don't want to add water. This is especially important in cooler months when the tree metabolism is slower, so water is not used as quickly.

The white stuff in the soil was likely Perlite - a frequent addition to potting soil. It is unlikely to be the problem. But something I have had as a problem is using "wet bagged soil" that has ended up growing its own microbial "soup". This activates when you pour it out on the ground, because the soup that had been lacking oxygen in the plastic bag now has an ample amount. So the microbe count goes up, the chemical composition changes, and there is even heat generated in some cases - kind of like what happens when you stirr up a compost pile.

If you've ever kept tropical fish, you might have noticed how a new tank goes through various phases as the water adapts to the microbial bloom. It is usually based on the nitrogen cycle, and you go through phases where one type of nitrogen-based compound after another go through peaks and valleys. Some of these compounds are relatively harmless, but there is one phase where a great deal of ammonia is created. This will burn tree roots.

I don't know how to "flush it out". But I would like to know what you mean by "topping". The bark on tree roots has a chemical that makes them "taste bad" to most bugs in the soil. But the bark, above ground, lacks this protection. If you brought the soil level up so it covered a part of the bark, and kept watering, between the two it might have been bad.

What type of soil do you have? We have clay here....which means that when you dig a hole to plant a tree, unless you make sure there will be sufficient drainage, all you do is plant the tree in a bucket, and every time you water it, you fill it up.

By the way, I am not a nursery professional. I am a Systems Engineer who happens to enjoy various garden plants - Iris, Daylilies, JM's, and dwarf conifers, to name a few. I've also recently taken up Bonsai as a hobby. So my 30+ years of working with trees, shrubs, and perennials is all from an amateur's perspective. I have lots of JMs - over 100. But this is a matter of building up stock as an investment in retirement. So what I guess I'm saying is that it is a good idea to check with a nursery professional. Many nurseries even have a guarantee of viability of their stock...
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