Japanese Maple Overwatering Symptoms: What You Need to Know

A blooming Japanese maple with its majestic foliage in an autumn landscape is what dreams are made of. In fact, the Japanese maple, or Acer plamatum as it is scientifically called, is one of the most gorgeous trees to have adorned the Earth. The tree is native to Japan and Korea and is revered for its ornamental properties.

Remember those postcards you receive from friends living abroad or see in photo books or magazines? It is the Japanese maple that adds to their beauty and charm. The best part about the Japanese maple is that these trees come in several varieties, shapes, sizes and leaf colors. There is something for everyone.

The tree is so gorgeous and picturesque and it changes color in the fall. It is known for its foliage that is thick and bright and very lively. This is why places with Japanese maples planted all along come alive. It is precisely for this reason that the tree is considered the crown jewel of a garden.

The fact that the plant is so beautiful and dense also makes it a very expensive one. This is why you need to ensure you care for it just right and protect it from any kind of rot or damage.

Japanese Maple Overwatering Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Though the Japanese maple is a sturdy tree that does not have high maintenance needs, you ought to be careful about overwatering because that may lead to a potential rot in the tree.

Here are the Japanese maple overwatering symptoms that you need to be aware of.

Remember the Golden Rule of Watering

When it comes to watering your Japanese maple, less is more. You must wait for the dirt around the tree to be dry, in order to water it. Do not water the plant when you already see the top layer of the soil as moist or wet.

Smaller trees can be watered occasionally while a fully grown Japanese maple can go on for even longer durations without being watered.

Signs of Overwatering a Japanese Maple

The yellowing of the Japanese maple’s foliage is the first and predominant sign of overwatering. If you notice any change in the color of the leaves, this should worry you almost instantaneously. When you notice this, you must immediately assess your watering schedule.

Other Overwatering Symptoms

In addition to the changes in the color of the leaves, there are other symptoms of overwatering that you need to watch out for. These include:

Overwatering and Root Rot

Pythium, fusarium and verticillium are fungal pathogens that are predominantly responsible for causing root rot in the Japanese maple. The key cause of root rot is overwatering.

Wet soil is the breeding ground for these pathogens. They grow and thrive in overly moist soil and stay there until the moisture gets evaporated from the soil.

The worst part about the rot is that once these pathogens get settled in the soil, they don’t even go with the use of fungicide. Therefore, well-drained soil is the only solution to preventing root rot.

Root rot is also difficult to identify and only when the leaves and the trees start betraying some obvious signs that you will be able to suspect a rot. Hence, you should be doubly careful about your watering schedule.

How to Check Root Rot in the Japanese Maple?

When you notice the loss of vigor in the Japanese maple and the change in the color of the leaves, you ought to inspect it for root rot.

Here is how you can do this:

  • Dig up a part of the tree’s soil with your fingers to expose a part of the root.
  • If you see signs of waterlogging or rot, pathogens might be infiltrating the tree.
  • If there are reddish cankers in the root, this is a further indication that the tree is experiencing a rotten root.

How to Prevent Root Rot in the Japanese Maple?

The best way to prevent your Japanese maple from rotting is to ensure that you don’t stress the tree in any way. Though the tree is hardy and adaptable, you still need to provide it with the best growing conditions to enjoy its foliage and beauty.

The most optimum growing conditions for the Japanese maple include:

  • Well-drained, acidic soil with a pH of 7.0 or less.
  • Partial shade and partial sun with bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Occasional fertilization.
  • Occasionally mulching to check root rot or any issues.

If you ensure these conditions for your Japanese maple, you can be assured that the tree will bloom in all its glory.

How to Prevent Overwatering the Japanese Maple?

Sometimes, you may be tempted to overwater the Japanese maple, especially if you have it grown along with other trees. There are some plants and trees that are heavy feeders and require a lot of water and it can be tempting or just natural to also overwater the Japanese maple.

This is because this plant does not require a lot of water. You need to only water it occasionally when the top layer of the soil shows signs of dryness. This can mean watering it twice a week initially and then restricting the watering as the tree grows old.

However, when the weather is hot (especially hot summer months), you need to water these trees at least once every day to ensure that the tree doesn’t suffer from drought stress.

Best Ways to Care for Japanese Maple

The Japanese maple is not a fussy tree and is mostly forgiving about things. However, as a plant parent, you should still care about the basics to ensure that your Japanese maple continues to bloom and spread good chi.

Shield Them against Strong Winds

The Japanese maple is known for its thick foliage. Though it is not necessary to plant it in an enclosed space, you need to make sure that the tree is not subject to severe wind on a regular basis. If you don’t protect the tree from strong winds, the leaves will run the risk of drying out.

Well-Drained Soil Is Its Key Requirement

The soil is the foundation of any plant and, therefore, needs to be cared for tremendously. The better the soil, the better are the plants growing in it. The same goes for the Japanese maple tree. The key requirement of such a tree is well-drained, moist soil.

Soil with mild alkaline properties is ideal for the Japanese maple. Some gardeners even use acidic soil for the Japanese maple. You can go with either as long as you ensure that the soil is not highly alkaline in nature. The high content of salt soils is another no-no for the Japanese maple.

You can go for a variety of soil mixtures for the Japanese maple, be it soil heavy in clay content or sand or loam. Besides, you need to ensure that the soil is laden with compost because the Japanese maple is a heavy feeder.

Protect Them from Spring Frosts

The herald of spring may lead to some damage to the Japanese maple. Frost can be dangerous for the Japanese maple, especially for young trees. Hence, make sure you cover them or put a shield between the frost and the Japanese maple.

What Is the Best Time to Plant the Japanese Maple?

Do not get fooled by its splendor and think that this is a difficult tree to plant and care for. In fact, the Japanese maple is a hardy tree that can be grown easily following the basics and taking care of it following some simple rules.

The Japanese maple is slightly sensitive to extreme weather and extreme summers or winters may not be the best time to plant these trees. Therefore, you are better off avoiding the harsh summer months.

You can, however, plant the Japanese maple in early spring or fall provided you pay close attention to your climate depending on where you are based. For instance, frosty weather is not great to plant and care for young trees in particular.

The good news is that the Japanese maple can be transplanted quite easily so if you feel that the weather conditions are not conducive and you need to change the tree’s environs, you can easily do so and even change containers.

Where to Plant the Japanese Maple?

The Japanese maple is usually planted and grown for the beauty it adds to any landscape. Based on this, you can plant it directly on the ground or even in a container. It totally depends on your reasons for getting this tree in your home.

However, make sure you don’t plant these trees in a place that receives direct, harsh sun rays. This may be counterproductive. Instead, opt for a place that receives bright, indirect sun because this will help your Japanese maple bloom.

  • If the soil around the tree is consistently moist and wet, it is a clear indication that the tree is being overwatered.
  • When your Japanese maple trees turn brittle despite being green, you must be overwatering the tree.
  • The younger leaves of the Japanese maple, turning brown or yellow, without fully developing is a sign that the tree is being overwatered.

Additional Growing Tips for the Japanese Maple

Here are some other growing and caring tips for full-grown Japanese maple trees that one needs to know.

  • Prune your Japanese maple trees in the dormant season i.e. November to January to keep them in their graceful shape and to allow them to grow to their full glory.
  • Cover your Japanese maple with a horticulture fleece to protect it during the harsh winter months and frost.
  • Look out for the signs of scale insect damage in the tree and once you notice those signs, take immediate measures to weed them out.

The Final Word

The Japanese maple is a majestic tree that is known for its foliage and unparalleled charm. The best part about growing this tree is that it is sturdy despite its infinite splendor.

For this tree to thrive, you need to ensure that the basics are taken care of. This means meeting optimum sunlight, watering and fertilizing need

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