I moved my Japanese Maple tree from a pot and planted it in my garden over a year ago. Since the leaves shriveled and died the tree seems to also have dried out and is not producing new buds, has it died completely or can it be saved? I have posted pics below.

dying Japanese Acer

root of Acer

  • More info please - what part of the world are you in, when did the tree last have leaves, did the leaves fall off a year ago, with no growth since, or did the leaves drop in autumn/fall - don't even know if its winter where you are currently...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 16:38
  • That picture does not look like a dead tree to me.
    – Escoce
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 16:51
  • 2
    scratch a small piece of bark off. If there is a bit of green between the bark and the cambium something is alive
    – kevinskio
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 18:30
  • Brittle branchlets are also a common sign of deadness. Looks like "winter" in California. I'd wait for spring before doing anything drastic. What's your drought situation? That's killing plenty of trees out there. Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 20:25
  • I'd be interested to know if your lawn gets care
    – J. Musser
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 12:57

2 Answers 2


From the bark color, I will guess that the tree has completely died. Do a scratch test, but I'm pretty sure it's dead at least from the ground up. I'm guessing it died from a root infection. Check the roots. I would expect the bark to be black/dark and peeling.

Next time, try not to let the soil stay wet right after planting. Slightly moist to the touch, but not wet, for a month or so of growth. This will allow the roots to adjust to the heavier garden soil without harm.


Break a branch off the tree. If the inside is a brown color, it's dead. If it's a whiteish-green it's alive. Please remember, unless you live in a coastal warm state, deciduous plants and trees looks dead in the winter time. Do not think it's dead until you break a branch. It may surprise you this spring.

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