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my potted Japanese maple has some yellow twigs with no or dead leaves. The rest of the tree is thriving. What is the issue that's causing the yellow branches? Should I prune them asap as I see them? It's spring here in Australia, by the way.

Here are two photos: 1. enter image description here 2. enter image description here

Here are two photos of the whole plant:

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  • Can you add a photo of the whole plant including the pot please? How long has it been in the same pot?
    – Bamboo
    Oct 6, 2021 at 11:56
  • @Bamboo done! :-) Eastern facing balcony by the way
    – MapleCarer
    Oct 7, 2021 at 5:08
  • @Bamboo it has been in the same pot for the past two or three years
    – MapleCarer
    Oct 7, 2021 at 5:09

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At this stage, there are no obvious signs of infection such as dieback or infestation on your tree, just what look like possible problems with water shortage at times causing some new leaves to shrivel and die. There are a couple of yellowed stems - these are likely to die back and turn pale or brown in colour, at which point you can remove them, but now is not the time to cut into live wood on an Acer. Spring and early summer are times when the sap flow is high and there is a risk of bleeding if the tree is pruned then. Significant pruning should be left till autumn/winter.

If you have never forgotten to water when you should, then it may be the tree needs a larger pot, especially after 2/3 years, during which time the root material will have increased. This will make it more difficult to keep up with watering, because there's not enough soil available to hang on to moisture for long, since it's now full of root material. Alternatively, try watering more often, if repotting is too difficult whilst the tree is in active growth and in full leaf,and pot it up into something larger in autumn.

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  • Thank you for your response. I think I have been watering it sufficiently. I will repot it in the autumn, and will leave the pruning of the dying twigs to that time of year.
    – MapleCarer
    Oct 8, 2021 at 10:00

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