Japanese maples can add a splash of beautiful color to every yard. The red and purple leaves look great whether you have a large tree planted in the middle of your front yard or you have a collection of small, potted maples around your patio. Here’s how to keep them healthy as summer turns to fall.
The summer heat isn’t over yet.
If your home is on the border between the 9A and 9B hardiness zones, then your Japanese maples may have had a difficult summer. High temperatures and too much sunlight can overload the plant. If you have your maples in large pots and containers, keep them away from straight southern exposure for now; the relative shadiness of the east and north sides of your house are still the best places for them. If your tree is planted in the yard and you can’t shade it, make sure you protect the roots and base of the truck with a few inches of mulch. This will also help fight back the drought.
Diagnose leaf damage carefully.
If something is wrong with a plant, the general rule is that it’s been watered too much or it’s been watered too little. Plants can have the same withered leaves and yellow patches either way. But, unless you’ve been watering your Japanese maples frequently, the usual Texas culprit is too little water. So make sure both planted and potted maples have a good layer of mulch to hold in water.
But some leaf damage isn’t a sign of drying out. If you see irregular patches of crispy leaves, that could be sun damage. If most of the problem is concentrated on the southern side of a planted tree, it’s almost certainly the sun, so don’t increase your watering schedule just yet. While potted plants can just be relocated, on planted trees all you can do is remove the damaged leaves.
For more tips on how to care for your Japanese maples, or to add more varieties to your yard, go to Chambersville Tree Farm.