I planted a japanese weeping maple from Bunnings in September, At the first blush of Spring it came out with some delicate and attractive leaves and we thought it was on its way. Within day, they had all gone.. It has now tried three more times to sprout again and each time they are destroyed. We've tried Neem and Pyrethrin, I've put a copper shield around the base of trunk (not touching) and spray coffee on the ground as it was getting slugs but they stopped. Yesterday we put bird netting up as we thought that might be the problem. Last night we lost our latest foliage. I cant see any sawdust signs so its not a bug inside the tree.. New branches are dying at their ends, about 4-5 cms.
Dont know where to go from here. Thinking of starting next spring with a new and more expensive plant from a nursery but need to find out why I'm having this problem.
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Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @ynotrialb. It's fabulous to have you join us and many thanks for your question.
I'm sorry to hear that you are having issues with your Japanese Weeping Maple. It would assist our members in providing some feedback if you could post some images of the tree. Please also tell us where you have planted it, how much sun it gets, if you have fed the plant with fertiliser, and how often you are watering. This additional information will hopefully lead to the reasoning behind the issues you have been having.
We look forward to hearing more about the conditions surrounding the plant and providing some helpful advice.
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. Please let me know if you need any assistance with sharing some photos of your tree so members can provide help. Looking forward to seeing you bring it back to health.
Thanks for your response.
The tree is planted in a sunny spot; sun most of the day. Watered about twice a week and gave it a good drenching of fertilizer twice within three weeks about a month ago. Soil is new and I think well drained. The white post is for bird netting and only one week old. (This may not be necessary)
We need to know more about your location, soil type (you've mentioned it is new - what's its origin?), depth of top soil, climate, aspect the tree is facing and watering and feeding regimes as well as how you planted it before even beginning to try to diagnose the problem with your Japanese maple.
If you can give us all, or most, of this info between Adam_W and me, we can form some ideas as to what may be happening. The fact it's lost several lots of leaves and appears to be suffering some dieback leads me at least to think the issue relates to where and how it's growing rather than a pest or disease. Look forward to hearing more .....
Thank you @Noelle,
The top 300-400 mm is garden soil from a nursery on top of soil that was already there. Aspect of tree is back garden that gets good north sun for most of the day. Sydney climate not near the sea, I gave it two good drenching's of seaweed water late November then about three weeks later. No other fertilizer. I have posted some more pix. The ones with leaves was two weeks ago. The leaves went essentially within two days then the other two pix were taken.
The tree does not look at all happy in its present situation.
Japanese maples are generally cool climate plants, preferring growing conditions similar to azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias. They are acid-lovers, doing best is rich mountain loams with a pH around 4.5 to 5.5. A cool root run is essential - they are deciduous trees coming from cool to cool-temperate climates. They do well in areas like the Blue Mountains and the Dandenongs (Victoria).
Its present location in an exposed spot where the soil around the roots could become quite hot will not suit it very well. While the top of the tree may be in full sun, the roots need shade. It will quickly drop its leaves if conditions don't suit it.
It looks to also be quite congested, with quite a bit of gnarly dead wood in it that should be cut out.
My advice would be to lift it and transplant it into a large pot (half wine barrel size would be ideal), using a potting mix formulated for rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Position the container where it is shaded during the hottest hours of the day but where it gets good ambient light. Water in with a seaweed solution, and make sure the potting mix is kept evenly moist but not wet. Water when the top 5-10cm of potting mix feels dry. Use the finger test to check - stick your index finger into the mix to the first knuckle - if it comes out dry, water thoroughly. Stand the pot/barrel on bricks to allow excess to drain away freely.
Sadly, I think it is the wrong tree for the spot you have it in. You should look for a standard evergreen that loves a hot position to replace it.
Thank you for your advice and I appreciate your taking the time to answer. I’ll follow your advice and if I may ask a couple more things.
1, Would planting a know rooting but shading plant around the base provide enough shade for keeping the roots cooler?
2. What would be a good substitute for a Japanese style garden centre piece? Is there another relevant compact maple better suited for this location?
Hi again @ynotrialb
To answer your questions:
1. Not sure exactly what you are meaning here ("Would planting a know rooting ...") but no, shading around the base of the plant will not be good enough to keep the roots cool because the bulk of the soil mass around the roots will heat up over summer. The maple needs to be potted into a barrel that is positioned in the shade but with good ambient light - out of direct sun to keep the soil/potting mix cooler.
2. I'd consider a sun-tolerant flowering evergreen like an azalea, camellia or similar that could be trained or 'cloud pruned' Japanese-style. The position and climate are not really suitable for a deciduous tree like a maple.