Stressed Japanese Maple Bonsai

captainkazzOctober 7, 2011


About a few weeks ago I bought a Japanese Trident Maple which had to be shipped to me (so it was crammed in a box for 2 days) and re-potted.

The tips of most of the leaves and have gone brown/black and around half of them are almost completely dried out. I check it every day and make sure the soil is moist and it only gets the morning sun. I have been giving it a seaweed fertiliser every week or so and I think I see a few leaves starting to come through

My question is, should I maybe remove the stressed leaves and if so how should I go about doing this, and is there anything else I can do to help the tree recover?

Thank you for your help.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

....... "and repotted" - by whom?

Stop fertilizing. What kind of soil is it in and how deep is the container?

Your problem is probably related to repotting a tree in leaf, soil choice and over-watering, or plasmolysis (fertilizer burn). You don't tell us where you live, so there's no way to guess at how long the tree has yet to grow before its winter rest, but it's a decidedly bad situation when a tree is defoliated late in the year. The tree will lose out on the energy it WOULD have stored had the leaves remained viable, AND it will use almost all it's energy reserves to push a flush of growth that won't start offering a return on the tree's energy investment until the leaves are about 75% mature. This results in a tree that has virtually no energy reserves for the spring flush when it loses its leaves in the fall.

DON'T remove any leaves that even MIGHT be making food. The tree will naturally form an abscission layer at the base of each leaf petiole (stem) and shed leaves when appropriate. As long as the abscission layer isn't complete, the tree might be able to recycle some of the nutrients and bio-compounds in those leaves.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 12:23PM
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I live in Australia so its 1 month into spring here.

I had no choice with repotting, I had to the way it was sent to me. And I used a bonsai mix from my local hardware store. container is about 3 inches deep.

I'm trying my best with watering. Is there a good way to tell if the soil is moist enough that it doesn't need to be watered?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 7:46PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You really should tell people where you live. It makes a huge difference in what advice is appropriate. People here will assume you live in the US every time unless you say different. How about adding "Aust" or something similar to your user info so it shows up in your posts?

Use a wood skewer or chopstick stuck deep into the soil to test moisture levels until you get a feel for how often your plant actually needs water. If it comes out wet or damp - don't water. You can sometimes water on a schedule, but only when using soils that support no (or very little) perched water - I don't think a commercially prepared soil would fit that bill, however. Usually, they're rather water-retentive, so you'll be watering on an 'as needed' basis.

Flush the soil very thoroughly the next time you water, in case what you're dealing with is fertilizer burn. Start fertilizing again when the second generation of leaves starts appearing. Keep the plant in shade & out of wind, at least until it's reestablished in the pot.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 9:21PM
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It's on my profile page but I'm not sure how to add my location to every post?

Thank you I will try the skewer thing until I get used to this soil. I can see new leaves just starting to appear and he's sitting in a shady spot for the moment.

Thanks for your help, I will see how it goes for the next few weeks :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 11:45PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

At the bottom of this page you'll see a link that says Member Pages, click on it and it will take you to a page called Garden Web Members, which will have a list of action choices. Select Edit Your Personal Information ...; then, on the page that comes up, scroll down to between the 4th set of dotted lines where it says Garden Zone, and add any info you want there. You can also review the rest of your info and change/add anything you might wish to.

Best luck with your maple. It's fortunate this is occurring in spring as opposed to fall ..... sounds like it's going to pull through.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 9:22AM
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