It looks like it has been grafted & the top is dead but the bit it was grafted onto is thriving. The supplier says it wasn't grafted. The new leaves look very different to the plant I bought and it is Crimson Queen variety which had very purple leaves. I googled it to see if the leaves change colour throughout the seasons but apparently not.

I have bought two, positioned in different places in the garden so it's not wind or sun that's caused this.

Whats happening to it, please?

Update: After looking again (with my glasses on this time) I can now clearly see where it has been grafted, thanks for all your replies. I will return both for a refund.

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  • 1
    Can we get pictures of the stock? Specifically, I want to see if I can identify any graft lines so it will need to have good lighting.
    – Rob
    Aug 10, 2018 at 17:34
  • Send a picture of the trunk coming out of the soil, let's see how deep this tree was planted. Also how long has this plant been in this pot? Did you transplant it or is it still in the same pot from the nursery? What kind of soil? What fertilizer? Have you sprayed any chemicals lately? Let's see the other tree as well...
    – stormy
    Aug 10, 2018 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


Yes this is definitely grafted. I have seen this before with Crimson Queen variety, that is the one with slim red leaves (right?). My friend had one as well, and then also it started to get these green leaves on the base of the trunk, which are of another Acer palmatum variety. They usually graft Acers because the clones or cutting poorly root, so they take the roots from seedlings of another Acer palmatum variety. Another reason to graft is that some varieties have better trunks (or better as stormy calls it: root stocks). This is often seen by apples and other fruit trees. If you inspect in more detail you can see where the graft is placed (some kind of wound).

The supplier is lying if he says it was not grafted. The dead upper part might even be caused by bad grafting. How long did you have this plant before it died?

  • Not long maybe 2 weeks, they have said I can get a refund. I was hoping it wasn't grafted & would maybe return to the plant I bought but maybe not, thanks
    – Kat
    Aug 10, 2018 at 18:43
  • 1
    Okay, I would get the refund if I were you. The Crimson Queen part of the plant will not come back.
    – benn
    Aug 10, 2018 at 18:50
  • It certainly looks like a botched grafting.
    – Rob
    Aug 10, 2018 at 19:12
  • Definitely grafted because its a named variety - these are always grafted, usually onto Acer palmatum or Acer japonicum (green leaves, both) rootstock. You do sometimes get a naturally redleaved variety from growing from seed - but even if it looked like Crimson Queen, it can't be called or sold as that. japanesemaplelovers.com/japanese-maple-seedlings Either the nurseryman is ignorant of these facts, or is being economical with the truth...
    – Bamboo
    Aug 10, 2018 at 19:53
  • Wow, I wish I could come up with such NICEness, "economical with the truth"...btw b.nota, plants are grafted onto sturdier root stock...for sturdier roots, not trunks. grins!
    – stormy
    Aug 10, 2018 at 21:32

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