· Brent Wilson's Answer
· If the leaves are gradually turning brown on the tips and moving inward, this could be an indicator of too much water. On the other hand, when a relatively young or newly planted Japanese maple goes too long without water and the soil around the roots dries completely out, especially in very hot and dry weather, sometimes the foliage will droop and then suddenly turn brown all over the tree. Sometimes watering foliage during the day can cause leaves to scorch as well.
In any event, you can always use the finger method to check for soil moisture around the root system.
If the soil is very wet or moist, and you haven't watered recently, you probably have a soil drainage problem. In this case, the root ball of the tree will have to be raised up. In doing so, you will need to lift the root ball and plant it in a "raised mound" of soil. The roots can then go down to the water table to drink but not be standing in it. Japanese maples, like dogwoods, azaleas, and rhododendrons, just don't like wet feet.
If the soil is too dry give the plant a deep slow soaking and then water a little more frequently until the tree is good and established. You might want to consider a layer of shredded wood mulch to help retain moisture. Japanese maples usually take several years or more to become well established. Especially the slower growing 'Red Dragon.'
Hope this info helped.)