Weeping Crimson Queen Japanese Maple with lots of dead branches

(Question)

I live in Toronto and I do not know if my eight year old Weeping Crimson Queen Japanese Maple is dead or alive. We wrap it in burlap over the winter but the ice storm must have affected it. For the very first time this year, the top branch is the only one looking alive, with just a few leaves.  It used to be my pride and joy. I gently fertilized it with organic feed and compost and gave it a lot of water to coax it into more growth. Now I wonder should I continue to do what I do, or is it over for this tree?

 

(Answer)

The tree cannot be completely dead because the leaves are at the top of the tree and the energy to keep them alive flows through the entire trunk.  The ends of this maple’s branches turn brown when they die completely.   If you do not see this, you can do two things to determine which branches are still viable: prune the end of a branch or scrape off a tiny bit of the bark along a branch to look for green.

Don’t give up on the tree yet.  Add compost to the soil in the fall and give the roots another chance to rally and show life next spring.