Is this Japanese Maple dead?

Janet5May 10, 2014

Should our little tree have leaves yet this spring? We planted it last year and it did well, but we had a really cold winter. I'm not sure if it's dead or just a late bloomer. It's not brittle, and, I'm not sure if you can see it from this picture, but there is some green at the bottom. Any advice/info you can give is appreciated. Thank you!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

give it a few more weeks.. and see if it buds out...

i have a couple that look the same... i am trying real hard to be optimistic ... lol ...

if you have a warranty.. use it ...


    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 2:30PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The green at the bottom looks like algae or lichen. Not a problem but unrelated to weather the tree is alive or not. If it's not brittle it sounds OK. Give it some more time.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 2:40PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

After this winter I am issuing my own zone ratings for trees. Here in zone 6 with my -10ish lows this year I have some damage to my Japanese maples.

Best of luck to you. In about a month it should be obvious what is not rebudding. I'll have to remember June is not a great time to plant replacements.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 10:57PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

It doesn't look promising. If June/July and no signs of life, yank it. Do wait though until then. You may have "advantageous buds" arise from where the green is at the base... that's what you're hoping for.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:29AM
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Buds should be present NOW, even if a bit too early to leaf out. JM buds are formed in fall and should continue to develop through winter and swell in spring. You can check to see if any viable buds are present by looking at the stems and seeing the paired growth nodes - these are where the buds should be. Gently rub one off and see if the tissue is green and healthy or brown and dry.

Brown and dry is not good :-(

Any adventitious buds appearing from the base will most likely be rootstock, not the named form grafted on top. And that may or may NOT be what you want :-)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:21PM
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