Newly Registered
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Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:19 pm

Japanese Maple Bonsai Dieback: Whether to drastically prune?

I need some advice, ASAP!

Here's the situation:
One of my Japanese maples had all its leaves scorched. The branches are now beginning to die back. Since all the leaves and viable buds were destroyed, the die-back is spreading down the branches into the trunk. Below the level of the die-back, there are a couple of nodes where buds could form. The roots are still healthy. I've placed it inside a plastic tent to protect it from the wind.

So here's what I'm desperate to find out:
(1) Is there any chance of recovery on its own?
(2) Would it help if I cut and sealed the affected branches/trunk off below the level of the die-back? If I could at least save it as a stump, that would be great. Or, would that make it worse?

I'll really appreciate any help I can get.

Here's a picture: [img][/img]

Full Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:18 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

only cut off what is actually dead. I doubt the tent is necessary. If you are near Northridge you can bring it in to me and I'll be happy to look at it. Click on the link in my signature for the nursery address.

Senior Member
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:56 pm
Location: Marin County, CA


bonsaibp is right, all you need to do is cut off the dead parts, new buds should form under the point where you cut it off. I was given a severely damaged japanese maple about a week ago and I cut all the top growth off completely, this plant was around 5 or 6 feet tall and I cut it down to about a foot or a foot and a half. When I cut it I left no leaves whatsoever, and now you can see the first leaves are starting to form. A crucial thing to know about japanese maples is that when you cut them back or prune roots or anything it is good to keep them in almost full shade, with an hour of sun at the most until you start to see progress in the recovery stage. So all you need to do is cut back those dead branches as far as you want and be patient with the plant forming new buds, it could take up to two weeks to see the first small leaves. Water it every day and keep it in the shade. I hope this helps!



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