· Brooks Wilson's Answer
· Hi Nancy,
Tiny holes in the leaves is usually a symptom of beetles. Do Japanese Beetles or any other beetles thrive in your area? Japanese Beetles love to feed on red leaf Japanese Maples.
Check your Japanese Maple for beetles. If none are present they may have already left the tree. If beetles or any other insect is present you may want to spray an insecticide. Liquid Sevin is good for the control of beetles and other insects. Avoid using Neem Oil on Japanese Maples. It's been known to cause damage to the foliage. DO NOT spray the leaves with anything while the hot sun is shining on them. This will cause much damage.
Holes can be burnt into the leaves as well. If water droplets are on the leaves while the afternoon sun is blazing small holes and scald marks can be the outcome. Make sure to always water a Japanese Maple from the base. If an irrigation system is used, make sure to run it early in the morning. This will allow for the foliage to dry before the afternoon sun can do any damage. If a quick shower comes in the afternoon followed by direct sun this can cause the burning and scalding.
All of this being said you have another option. Remove all of the bad looking foliage. If this is done, new leaves will appear within a month or so. There is a specific method to removing the bad looking leaves. Holding the leaf between your index finger and thumb gently pull in a downward motion, down the branch that is. The leaf stem should pop right off of the main branch. This will expose a tiny leaf bud. That bud will turn into a leaf.
You can always let nature take its course and do nothing. The tree will drop it's leaves this Fall and look great again next spring.
Hope this information helps you out.