Japanese Maple Tree Maintenance Tips

Japanese maple tree maintenance is made less of a challenge when you recognize the Japanese maple's unique susceptibility to harm, such as potential for injury from dry spells as well as dealing with pests and disease. On a less serious note, utilizing tips for keeping up with sun and soil requirements is also a significant aspect of maintenance, particularly in keeping your Japanese maple vigorous in an effort to resist borer pests.

Tree Requirements

The most significant Japanese maple tree maintenance tip you can follow deals with the tree's requirements for health. An improper environment can greatly diminish the health of a tree; keep your Japanese maple tree in partial shade to prevent scorching from direct sunlight and drying winds, as recommended by the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Also, in an effort to avoid water-logging the tree's roots, keep your Japanese maple in the well-drained, acid soil it prefers with mulch placed under the canopy. For tree shape, the University of Florida explains that branches that extend to the ground give Japanese maples a favorable aesthetic quality, but in residential areas, drooping branches may be pruned back.

Disease Maintenance

Another important maintenance tip for Japanese maple trees includes dealing with potential diseases. Keeping your tree vigorous is the first line of defense for resisting problems with diseases, but understanding what to look for and how to treat problems is key. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, Japanese maple trees are susceptible to scorch disease (light brown and dead areas of leaves) caused by hot temperatures, wind, poor root health and lack of water; protect your tree from scorch by providing ample shade and irrigation during dry spells. Nutrient deficiency (yellowing of leaves) is caused most often by a lack of manganese or injury from weed killers; manganese capsules can be inserted into the trunk and injury from toxins can be avoided by keeping herbicide use away from the tree and surrounding soil.

Pest Maintenance

Japanese maple tree maintenance tips include being aware of potential pests. Japanese maples are not often seriously injured by pests, but they can diminish the health of a tree, leaving it susceptible to other problems. Aphids (parasitic bugs) may infest Japanese maples, causing leaf drop and susceptibility to fungal infection. Scales (particularly cottony maple scales), another insect, also infest Japanese maples, causing the appearance of cotton underneath branches, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Apply horticultural oil or insecticides (such as acephate or cyfluthrin for aphids and imidacloprid for scales) as soon as damage is visible, as suggested by the University of Minnesota Extension. Borers are also a pest to be aware of; they bore into the tree and emerge as adults, diminishing the health of the tree. The appearance of borers is an indication of poor tree growth and health; maintain a vigorous Japanese maple to avoid infestation. To control borers, the University of Minnesota Extension explains that there is generally no control for borers other than the preventive measure of maintaining a healthy tree.

Keywords: Japanese maple maintenance, Japanese maple tip, Japanese maple tree

About this Author

Tarah Damask's writing career, beginning in 2003, includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum, and articles for eHow. She has a love for words and is an avid observer. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.