Do Japanese Maples Lose Their Leaves

Japanese maples (Acer Palmatum cultivars) are lovely trees that will brighten your property with red, lacy leaves. They love to be planted in locations with afternoon shade and well-draining soil because they can grow up to 25 feet tall. However, as they are not native to the country, you could wonder, do maple trees lose their leaves like other trees we have around the yard?

Knowing this is challenging if you’ve never seen leaves from a Japanese maple fall before. Seasonal growth affects these trees, and Japanese maples leaves do fall. You’ll often find this in November and December after the fall.

However, there are other instances where growing conditions are not ideal, and you could see them losing leaves during other months. In our guide, you can learn when should your Japanese maple tree leaves start falling. By the end, you’ll also learn why Japanese maple loses leaves in summer rather than Autumn.

Japanese Maples Tree

Why Do Japanese Maples Drop Their Leaves?

After fall, Japanese maples lose leaves. Some foliage should fall off between seasons, but your tree should never be bald. Check your tree’s soil for moisture if you notice leaves dropping in summer or spring. (Learn Where Do Japanese Beetles Go At Night)

Japanese maples can endure moderate drought, but their leaves will fall if the weather is too harsh. Check its base for pests or disease if your tree has enough water and is still losing foliage.

What Climate Do Japanese Maple Trees Like?

In most cases, this type of maple grows best in zones 5 through 9, although you may also plant it in colder climates. Japanese maples prefer partial shade and moderate temps. If you have hard winters, grow your maple in full light. In warm climes, when planting, offer your maple shade and water.

Why Is Japanese Maple Losing Leaves In Summer?

Japanese maples can tolerate droughts to a certain extent. Although it should be able to withstand the heat, your maple will lose leaves if it does not receive enough hydration. We typically advise watering your maple three to four times weekly to prevent leaf drop during the sweltering summer months.

When Do Japanese Maple Leaves Grow Back?

After your maples’ leaves have dropped, you can anticipate their regrowth in the early spring.

This is the ideal circumstance for a Japanese maple whose leaves dropped throughout the winter, not an unusual one.

If your tree had a difficult summer, you should see some foliage return before fall, but not all of it until the following spring. Your Japanese maple should be cut down at this point if it remains naked throughout the spring and into the summer.

How To Revive Dying Japanese Maple Tree?

If your maple starts dying, you usually have a short opportunity to save it. But, first, check and hydrate your maple’s soil.

Too much mulch or soil on Japanese maple roots will kill them. Next, use garden shears to remove any dead limbs impeding healthy ones. Finally, allow your tree’s energy to go where needed, not to dead or dying areas. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Maple Tree Helicopters)

Should I Fertilize Japanese Maple?

In general, do not fertilize your maple if it starts to die in the fall or winter. It will overproduce, as a result, begin its winter slumber, and become even more weakened.

It is advised to add fertilizer if your Japanese maple displays signs of dying in the spring or summer. This will offer your maple a burst of nutrients and strengthen it before the fall and winter seasons, even though it might not completely rescue your tree.

Japanese Maples Lose Leaves

Will My Japanese Maples Lose Leaves In Winter?

They do indeed drop. Japanese maples are deciduous trees, and the name “deciduous” means “fall off a plant” in the original language.

This shows that every year, their leaves fall from the trees. For example, the Japanese maple’s leaves change color to yellow in late November or early December and then fall in October and November.

In February and March, buds and fresh-new leaves appear.

Because of the harsh and dry winters, these trees lose their leaves. Therefore, to preserve energy over the winter, they shed their leaves rather than expending additional energy to protect them.

How To Care For Japanese Maple In The Winter?

During the winter, you’ll want to keep your tree as protected from the elements as possible.

Techniques to protect your plant include:

  • Before the winter freezes, water your trees to prevent water loss from the cold
  • To insulate and safeguard the roots, spread up to 4 inches of mulch over them. Keep mulch away from the plant trunk by around 3 inches.
    Burlap wrapping will protect your tree from chilly winds and heavy snowfall.
  • To avoid over-watering, only apply water when the soil is almost completely dry.

Some signs showing winter damage include:

  • Broken branches from heavy snow or ice loads
  • Dead stems or buds are yellow or tan from cold temperatures
  • Frozen roots (common when the tree is growing in an above-ground container).
  • Sun-scalded leaves or cracked bark from cold weather and bright sunshine

How Can I Tell Japanese Maples Have Been Overwatered?

Even while Japanese maples prefer moist soil in their first few years of growth, over-watering can cause the leaves’ tips to become brown or black.

If root rot has been caused by the overwatering, this may show a wider issue. Check with your finger to see if the soil around the plant is not excessively wet.

Sun blisters are another circumstance that can cause leaves to appear burned, as this type of plant does best when planting in partial shade.

To avoid scorching leaves, you should also keep water off the leaves and only water the tree’s base.

Japanese Maple Tree Dying

Is My Japanese Maple Tree Dead?

Even in the spring and summer, the Japanese maple tree (Acer palmatum) can exhibit vibrant red or bronze foliage.

The deciduous tree can grow up to 25 feet tall and thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8.

It thrives in an area with afternoon shade, and rich, loamy soil drains well.

Japanese maples require watering in dry conditions or if they face hot weather since they are sensitive to dry circumstances. You might save the tree if it deteriorates. (Read Red Maple Tree Growth Rate)


The Japanese maple tree may not be dying if the leaves on the tree dry, curl, or seem yellow or burned around the edges.

It can mean that the tree isn’t receiving enough water. Check the top 1 to 2 inches of soil for moisture if the tree needs extra water.

It might also mean the tree is too close to the sun for comfort. This is a plausible explanation if all the leaf burns occur on the tree’s south side. The tree can still be in good health if the dead leaves drop from the tree.


If you believe all or a portion of the tree is dead, you can find out by looking underneath the bark.

Remove a small sliver of bark from each tree trunk with a knife if they appear dead or dying.

If the wood beneath the bark has a greenish cast, the tissue is still alive and will probably heal.

That tree branch is dead if the wood is tan or dry. If the tree’s other parts are still healthy, prune any dead limbs.

Spring Growth

Japanese maples appear dead until new growth emerges in the spring because they lose their leaves every fall.

After several weeks of spring, if the tree is still without leaves in June, it is probably dead and can be cut down.

Check beneath the bark if the tree gets new leaves in the spring, but parts of its branches are still naked.

A late spring freeze may have killed the buds on a branch still alive but devoid of leaves; new buds will form the following spring.

Maintenance of Japanese Maple Trees

Keep your Japanese maple trees healthy to prevent limb dieback and possible tree mortality.

In dry conditions, deep watering is required every one to two weeks as the tree will die when the roots dry out.

To reduce exposure to the healthy sections of the tree, prune dead or diseased branches as soon as you see them.

Plant Japanese maples in an area shielded from strong winds and full sun to avoid sunburn or broken branches.

Do Japanese Maples Lose Their Leaves

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