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Weak and yellow leave

Japanese Maple Overwatering Symptoms: How To Fix Them?

Japanese maple overwatering symptoms

Growing a healthy Japanese maple is a sign of beauty and can become hard work if you don’t provide the plant with ideal growing conditions. Overwatering is one of the problems that you are most likely to stumble upon when on your way to growing these plants. To solve any problem, it is first necessary to identify the problem, and its cause, and then practice various tips to solve the issue. If your Japanese maple is not growing well, then you should look for the following Japanese maple overwatering symptoms and determine whether your plant is suffering from overwatering or if you need to look for any other possible cause. 

  • Root rot
  • Yellow, weak leaves
  • Signs of Verticillium wilt

Root rot

One of the most prominent signs of overwatering is root rot. When the soil stays damp, it provides a breeding ground for pathogens, such as fusarium, Verticillium, and pythium. Even the fungicides are not able to get rid of them and they stay on the soil until the water evaporates. It is best to prevent root rot in the first place by regulating the frequency and quantity of watering. If you provide proper drainage and extra care to a healthy tree, then it can recover from root rot.

The initial stages of root rot are difficult to identify until the leaves of the tree start displaying signs of stress. To confirm whether it is root rot, the best way is to inspect the roots by exposing some parts of the root by digging soil. Look for brownish and reddish cankers in and near the root or signs of pathogens such as fruiting bodies. Most Japanese maple overwatering symptoms in the roots appear underground, while some may appear in the tree’s crown.

How to prevent root rot?

If you observe Japanese maple overwatering symptoms, then it is best to start caring for your plant. You should try to provide it with ideal conditions. The soil should be well-drained, has a pH of 7.0 or less, and be acidic. The plant grows well in partial and indirect sunlight, with occasional fertilizing and frequent mulching.

Weak and Yellow Leaves

Weak and yellow leaves

A prominent among the Japanese maple overwatering symptoms is weak and yellow leaves. A healthy plant has healthy and green leaves, for the Japanese maple, the foliage is red, burgundy, or purple according to the season. The healthy leaves do not droop or sag and are sprightly.

But when the leaves become yellow,

this means you are overwatering the tree and the roots are depriving oxygen.

Verticillium Wilt

Japanese maple is one of the plants that are affected by a disease in the soil, called Verticillium wilt. The tree is sensitive and weak and if the fungi get into the tree, then there is almost nothing that you can do to save your plant.

The prominent symptoms of Verticillium wilt are yellow or gray foliage and curled and drooping leaves.

Other signs

The other Japanese maple overwatering symptoms is the overall decline in the health of the tree. The leaves wilt and droop and the plant becomes susceptible to other diseases and pests.

How To Fix The Problem Of Japanese Maple Overwatering Symptoms

fix the problem of Japanese maple

Keep the plant healthy

The best way to keep your Japanese maple safe from diseases and pests is to keep it healthy and happy. When the plant is stressed, it becomes susceptible to pests and diseases. Try to meet the ideal growing requirements of the Japanese maple tree to not let the Japanese maple overwatering symptoms appear. Place it in partial shade or dappled sunlight, fertilize it regularly, use compost, and mulch it from time to time to retain soil moisture.

Water when the soil feels dry

Water when the soil feels dry

Watering the Japanese maple consistently doesn’t suggest that you should water it every day. When you plant a Japanese maple, check whether the plant seems happy and the soil feels wet. You should not water it for some days and try growing it in well-draining soil as it strives better in soil that lets water pass through. If you have heavy clay soil, then add sand and organic matter to make it good for a Japanese maple, and in the case of sandy soil mix potting media to improve it. Before watering, always check whether the top inch or two of the soil feels dry to the touch.

Use an appropriate and well-drained soil

If you notice any Japanese maple overwatering symptoms, then it is a good idea to change the soil.

If the soil is waterlogged, then it can prove a good breeding ground for different pests and diseases.

You can fix the overwatering problem by removing the plant from its old container and letting it breathe in some fresh air before you plant them in a new pot.

Repot from time to time

Repot from time to time

One of the best ways to fix Japanese maple overwatering symptoms is to repot the plant from time to time. Tip the plant gently to one side and ease it, then do an inspection of the roots by shaking off excess soil around them. If you see brown or black roots, then remove them by using sterilized pruning shears. When you take out your Japanese maple from a pot, it is good to let it breathe some air before you plant it in a different container with new soil. Add sand or organic matter to amend the soil if it contains much clay. Moisten the soil and put the plant where it gets more light and starts growing and then move it back to its original spot.

Some Additional Tips

When it is frost season, a good way to protect the plant from the cold is to cover it with horticulture fleece. If you see any tiny signs of pests and insects, then take an action immediately before you see any further damage. Strong winds can cause dry leaves, so always protect the Japanese maple from mighty winds. To keep the soil healthy and nutritious, it is good to add compost from time to time.

The glorious and grand Japanese maple trees aren’t that difficult to care for and are high-maintenance. Even beginners in gardening can have Japanese maple trees and fulfill the basic requirements to keep them healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of Japanese maple in stress?

Burning on the tips is the first sign of leaf stress in Japanese maple. The roots can also become sun baked and the leaves can appear as if wind or sun damaged them. Maples are sensitive and thin-barked and would show sun scald usually in the first couple of years after transplanting.

What is the reason for the leaf curl of Japanese maple?

The leaves of Japanese maple may curl and dry because of several reasons. These include wind damage, environmental causes, and high humidity. Bacterial and fungal diseases as well as insect damage can also cause the leaves to curl and dry out.

Is it possible to revive an overwatered Japanese maple?

If your Japanese maple is mature and healthy, then it can recover from root rot with time and proper drainage. Damp soil provides breeding grounds for pathogens, like verticillium, pythium, and fusarium. Fungicides cannot kill these pathogens and they stay on the soil until all the water gets evaporated.

revive an overwatered Japanese maple

Is it better to plant Japanese maples in sun or shade?

The ideal sunlight condition for Japanese maple is dappled shade as the leaves can scorch in hot and dry places in full sun. The scorched leaves develop brown edges and tips and drop from the trees.

Which fertilizers are good for Japanese maple?

A slow or controlled-release type fertilizer is good for these plants.

What may be killing a Japanese maple plant?

 Several leaf spot diseases may cause early defoliation as a result of the disfiguration of leaves. These diseases include Phyllosticta leaf spot, anthracnose, and Pseudomonas tip blight. Many insects also attack Japanese maples, including Japanese beetle.

Where should you plant Japanese maples?

These plants like to grow in full sun in places where the climate is cool, while in dappled afternoon shade in places with warm temperatures. Wind can cause the leaves to dry out and also cause tip scorching, particularly during summers. To protect the Japanese maples from wind, they are frost tolerant.

Is it okay to water the Japanese maple with tap water?

You can use tap water if the pH is close to neutral or acidic. Giving hard water to Japanese maple isn’t good; therefore, it is better to store rainwater in harvesters or tanks to water the maple trees.

If the pH of your water is basic, then you can use pH- tablets to lower the pH of your water and make it usable for Japanese maple trees.

killing a Japanese maple plant

Summing Up

It is a good thing that you can identify Japanese maple overwatering symptoms and get to the cause. When you know that your plant is wilting, having yellow leaves, or rotting roots because of excess watering, then you can set up a proper watering schedule and keep the plant healthy. Never ignore the overwatering symptoms as they can produce disastrous results for the plant and can ultimately kill it.