2

I grew this Acer from a seedling and have had it about 20 years so I desperately want to save it if I can!

A couple of weeks ago the Spring buds were opening and it looked like it was all coming to life nicely. I began watering it on hot days. It's in a fairly sheltered spot, but can be in full sun for a few hours in the morning.

We had a few very stormy, wet and windy days last week, then a couple of really hot sunny days last weekend. I was busy last weekend and neglected to water it, and on Monday I noticed that all the leaves were drooping, and many look scorched and dried out, and a bit crispy to the touch.

I immediately watered it, thinking it had just got dry over the hot weekend and that it would perk up, but now I'm worried that perhaps it had too much water, or that the damage was caused by the stormy winds last week. The soil is currently quite moist, so I've temporarily removed the small rocks I normally keep on top of the soil to prevent evaporation.

But I don't know what to do now! Should I pull off the dried / scorched leaves and hope that new buds grow (it's still early Spring after all)?

It's been in that pot for about five years and normally does really well so I'm doubtful that it's a drainage problem, but maybe I should try repotting it with fresh potting compost and check the roots?

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

2
  • 1
    Five years is a long time to be in the same size pot - are there roots coming out of the bottom? and what part of the world are you in?
    – Bamboo
    Apr 25 at 17:26
  • I'm in the UK. Roots aren't coming out the bottom, no, but then they probably can't as I think there are pebbles in the bottom for drainage (can't quite remember). I'm worried about trying to repot it now as it's clearly in a stressed state.
    – Burvs
    Apr 26 at 15:42

2 Answers 2

3

It looks like it's drying, to me. There is nothing else you can do but to keep watering it and hope that some part of it is till alive.

As long as the soil in the pot is free-draining, you can thoroughly drench the pot every day in hot summer (less frequently otherwise).

2
  • And yes, pull off all dead leaves for aesthetics. They don't heal themselves. Apr 25 at 19:45
  • If I pull them off, is it possible that I'll still get new buds / leaves this season?
    – Burvs
    Apr 26 at 11:04
2

You've said you're in the UK and that there are no visible roots coming out the bottom of the pot. I think most of what's happened to your tree is down to the weather, specifically, temperature - we had a very warm (for the UK) spell for a week or two, and then temperatures fell and have remained low ever since. You don't say where in the UK you are, but in the East and North, there's been frosts overnight. It's likely the leaves opened out and were growing well, but it got too cold, especially overnight, and that shocked the young leaves. We are at that time of year where the sun is hot if you're in it, but its chilly/cold if you're not, and that is what your tree will also have experienced. Not watering it won't have helped, but wouldn't have completely avoided what's happened. I suggest you wait to see where it puts new leaves out again; it should do if its just temperature that's caused the problem. Keep it watered as necessary, but not wet. You can test the stems to see if they are alive by scraping back a little of the 'skin' covering them with your fingernail - if it's green underneath, it's still alive. Start at the top and work your way down, say a few inches apart, till you find green stems - you can remove any dead parts, but I doubt much of it is actually dead because, whilst its cold, its not cold enough to kill your tree, only cold enough to shrivel the new, tender leaves. Do not use fertiliser while it's in this state either, nor repot. Hopefully it should recover and grow anew in the next couple of weeks.

2
  • Thank you that's really helpful! I'm so worried that's it's dead, but good to know that it might still put out another crop of new leaves. Should I pull off the dead leaves and/or prune it all back a bit do you think? Or just prune back the obviously dead branches?
    – Burvs
    Apr 26 at 19:03
  • 1
    I wouldn't prune any of it off right now unless its obviously completely dead - wait and see what grows and then trim off any dead bits. Don't prune it hard though, at this time of year and up until end of June/early July, Acers 'bleed' if live wood is pruned.
    – Bamboo
    Apr 27 at 12:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.