We have got a Japanese maple plant in the back garden in a pot that has suddenly seemed to have died. There are absolutely no leaves on it at all now. I asked my dad who said this is perfectly normal, but I find it strange because there's been no frost or anything.

Anyway, now another one of our plants (not sure what it's called), which had been really thriving up until a few days ago has also died suddenly. All the leaves and flowers are look charred, black and shriveled up. Another plant in a pot is also starting to die.

The reason I am concerned about ruling out possible poisoning is because the plants are all along our back fence which our neighbours next door were not happy about us putting up and have stopped speaking to us as a result. The soil had been treated with manure as well. Our climbing roses are fine, but they are not right next to the fence.

I still can't get over how quickly the plant died. It was almost overnight. What do you think is the cause?

  • 2
    There isn't much information to go on here. Can you post pictures of your Japanese maple plant and the other two plants? Without knowing what plant it is, where you are (to know what the weather conditions are like), how the plant looks, you can't expect an answer... at best, you'll get some vague guesses. Since it's fall, most people will assume it's entirely normal. Please post pictures of 1) the entire plants (all 3 of them), 2) the leaves (whatever is remaining) 3) any charred/abnormal parts of the plant. Nov 13, 2011 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


My guess is that there was a frost and you didn't notice. (You can have frost damage when the forecast was only 4 or 5 C, especially if you are in a bit of dip or valley.) If the plants that are ok are on a south-facing wall, or are against the house, for example, they might escape frost damage while the more exposed plants were hit by it. Also some plants (tomatoes, say) take way more damage from frost than others. Generally flowering plants are more tender than trees. I have seen black curled leaves from frost, as well as an excellent imitation of being totally dried out and needing desparately to be watered.

The good news is that if it is frost, and the plant is hardy outdoors, it wil be fine come the spring, it's just that this year's leaves and flowers are done for.

One thing to do is to look over your fence in all directions. Do other folks have Japanese maples that are untouched? How about a park or school nearby? If so, it's possible the neighbours took the plant dispute too far. I hope that's not the case.

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