Brown Tips & Curling Leaves On Japanese Maple Tree

Filed Under: Trees, Diseases and Fungus, Planting, Techniques & Methods · Keywords: Japanese Maple, Brown, Leaves, Curling, Repot, Plant, Larger, Pot, Container · 24945 Views
I have 2 questions regarding my young Japanese Maple tree: 1) why are tips & edges of leaves brown and curling up 2) would like to repot it in a slightly bigger pot - when is best time? We live in VA. Thanks so much for your help!'s a Tamukeyama Dwarf Maple...

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Answer #2 ·'s Answer · Brian is right. Here's a few more tips:

The browning tips of leaves could be caused by consistently wet soil or from leaf scorch caused from too much direct sunlight, heat, or from water on the foliage during the heat of the day.

When growing Japanese Maples in containers you want to keep the soil moist or damp, but not too wet. Too, make sure the container drains well from the bottom. When growing Japanese Maples in contaniers, I usually use a soil mix that is about 1/3 native soil, 1/3 premium potting mix, and 1/3 regular grade potting soil. This, combined with adequate drainage holes in the bottom of the container, should provide good drainage.

All day direct sunlight can cause scorching of the leaves during exceptionally hot summers. If plants are watered during the afternoon hours, and water gets on the foliage, this can cause scorching as well. As Brian already said, Japanese Maples prefer morning sun with afternoon shade or dappled/filtered light all day.

I have several Japanese Maples growing in large containers on my back deck. These are all over 5 years old. I remember back during the first couple of years they had problems with leaf scorch and the tips of leaves turning brown. Younger trees seem to be more susceptible and won't tolerate soil that is too dry or too wet or sunlight that is too hot. Seems that once the trees are more established and mature, leaf scorch or browning isn't as a much a problem.

What to do with your trees now? I would say to monitor watering closely for the rest of this season. Apply a layer of mulch atop the soil for winter and don't water near as much, only if soil becomes dry. Next spring the foliage should come out fine. If your trees are in full sun, I would suggest moving them to a location where they will get some shade during the mid afternoon hours.

Hope this info helped.)

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Answer #1 · Brian Wilson's Answer · There are a couple reasons why the leaves are curling up and turning brown. 1) It could be getting too much sun. It's best to plant Red Japanese Maples in morning sun/afternoon shade or filtered sun throughout the day. 2) It could be getting too much water. Japanese Maples grow very slow and do not require much water during the growing season. If it's already in a pot you should be able to transplant to a larger pot at any time. This might also help with root development, soil drainage, and could help the browning and curling.)

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Ursula Thompson

Ursula Thompson · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks sooo much for your help, Brian! Now I look forward to see my little tree "flourish"... I will keep Gardenality informed as to its progress!

6 years ago ·
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Answer #4 · Phyllis Whigham's Answer · I have a weeping japanese maple and a red burg any type both are curling my weeping one yellowed and now browning and the red one the leaves are curling live in Plano, Texas and have them in containers under patio please I have backed off watering and testing soil . I used recommended soil for weeping and tree shrub for other. Tks)

Additional comments about this answer: · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Since both of these different cultivars are suffering from the same symptoms my guess would be leaf scorch from too much sun in high heat, or too wet or too dry soil. In containers, the soil needs to be kept moist but not constantly soggy. I water my Japanese maples at least one time a day during summer, and always water in the morning and at the base of the tree, being careful not to splash water on the foliage. If the soil is holding too much water and is soggy mnost of the time, you might consider repotting the trees, using a coarser potting soil with sand in it. Adding some small gravel chips to the mix can help. Sometimes putting a layer of gravel or styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of a large pot will help with drainage. Also setting the pots on some bricks or "pot feet" can help. If there's too much sun you might try moving the containers to an area that will provide some afternoon shade or filtered sun.

Here's a link to an article written by a very good friend of mine who is an expert at growing Japanese maples in containers...

Hope this is helpful. Let us know if you need more details or have any other questions.


3 years ago ·
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Answer #3 · Thanh Phung's Answer · Many thanks for your sound advise. In my case, I have 5 different small JM in the large clay pots. Starting out this year, they are fine but last 2-3 weeks I noticed 3 out of 5 trees had curly and burned leaves on them. I think I overwater it and not enough lose soil in the bottom of the pots.)

Additional comments about this answer: · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
If it's from too much water the tips of the leaves will usually start to turn brown indicator that the tips of the roots are starting to rot. If it's too little water the leaves will wilt and then suddenly dry up and start to curl.

4 years ago ·
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