Dried out leaves on Japanese Maple...HELP!!!

maplebonsaiMay 31, 2005


I just got my new bonsai on last Thursday and already the leaves are all dried out! I got it Thursday morning, watered it Friday before I left work, and came back after memorial day weekend to see my lovely plant have dried out leaves! The color is still green, but all dried out. I left it by the window, but not directly in the window. I just watered it though and removed it from near the window.

Please help!!! Is it dead? What should I do?


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zube100(z8 NWOrygun)

It might be dead. If it lives, it has to be outside or it will die. Maples can't survive indoors. Put it outside in the shade and it might make it. Water it when the soil is almost dry.
Good luck,

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 9:02AM
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The prognosis depends on how dry it got. Maples have dormant buds that will produce new leaves if the primary ones are lost. Maple Bonsai have to live outdoors(semi-shade) in the summer and go through a dormant period(lower than 40o) in the winter. They aren't house plants and have to be grown like outdoor trees, which they are.I bought a tree from Washington state that got lost in transit in a box for two weeks. All the leaves burnt off but there was a little bit of moisture in the rootball so I soaked and potted it up, and it's starting to releaf. Chances are your tree had some moisture left in the roots, the leaves were probably more of a victim of indoor humidity especially if the tree came from a greenhouse.Get some Superthrive, it's a root stimulant,transplant shock reducer available at nurserys and soak your tree pot and all in a ten drop per gallon soloution for an hour or so. Put it outdoors in a protected shady area and keep it moist, but not soaking. If the tree was really healthy, you may want to consider cutting all the dead or dying leaves off, but this has to be done correctly so it would help if you read a little about leaf cutting or got someone that knew how to help before you did it. If the branches and twigs, especially the petioles at the base of the leaves don't shrivel and turn brown it probably will releaf. If you need any more help you can email me directly at morroccos@verizon.net.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 3:03PM
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The tree indeed must be outdoors, and if it is in a bonsai pot you must pay particular attention to watering issues. In many respects a bonsai is more like a pet than a house plant. You would not or cannot leave a dog alone for a weekend without water and not expect to have a major problem when you get homw. The same would be true of a Maple in a bonsi pot.

That being said, put the tree outside in a semi-shaded area where it gets only morning sun. Water it when it starts to dry out but remember at this point water can be your enemy. To much and you will rot the root system, not enough and the tree has no chance of recovery if there is still life in it.

It will abandon all of the dried leaves, so don't look at the old leaves as a sign of life or death, they are Kaput regardless of what happens. What will happen now is that the tree will attempt to activate the dormants buds and produce a new flush of growth. This could take time and you may not see anything happening for at least another two weeks.

Vance Wood.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 8:39AM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

Hello Maplebonsai,

I was wondering if your tree made it after all. Someone gave me bonsai to "nurse" with the same problem. I hope it lives, and I can assist it back to health.
~Natalie, who is very new to bonsai

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 9:54AM
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The same thing has happened to my bosai, I dont think mine is a maple though,I have a lot of big maples in my garden and it dosen't look anything like them. I thought bonsai were kept indoors.. mine would look strange in the garden as its so small. I live in Northern Ireland and its Winter, surley I couldnt put this tiny little tree outdoors.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 2:41PM
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The only bonsai kept indoors are tropical. Everything else needs to live outdoors, though there are certain subtropicals that need protection in winter and/or particular indoor conditions. You can't keep a tree that is naturally cold hardy to your climate (in other words normally lives outside there) in the house because without it's gradual autumn acclimation to cold dormancy in winter and the reverse in spring it will die. Size is irrelevant - all trees start out tiny. Can you post a picture of your tree with good close pix of the leaves or needles on the gallery of this forum (or use e.g. Photobucket and leave a link here) so we can identify it for you?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 9:33PM
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I live in Mn and many years ago I worked for a plant store. There was a local vender who sold his bonsais through us. The evergreen ones had to go through cold storage during winter months. He offered to, for a fee to over winter them in a cold frame green house..winters here are too cold to just put them outdoors. Of course most customers didn't want to bother so he didn't sell too many of those, also most customers didn't know this. He did sell some tropical ones also that didn't need cold dormancy but most people wanted the evergreen type of typical bonsai. He did have a few maples at times too but they need a cold dormancy, but not quite as prolonged or as low a temperature.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 11:47AM
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