Skip Navigation

Species Search:
Ask an Expertthreatened and/or endangered

Japanese Maple

I have a red Japanese Maple that's about 2 years old. Every year it buds out beautifully and then bam. We have a frost that just kills the new leaves but the tree its self does not die. I just have ugly dried up leaves burned from the frost all summer. Do you have any tips on how to maybe make it put out new foliage or something. Your advice would be appreciated. I live in Alabama in the middle of state. Thanks, Robin

Backyard Expert - Cathy Nordstrum

Dear Robin:

Japanese Maples, Acer palmatum, are susceptible to frost damage, especially at the northernmost limits of their range. Obviously native to the Orient, Japanese Maples do best in your area when in a semi-shaded location where they are protected from north winds. I too am in zone 8 and have a neighbor who cares for her Japanese Maple with all the love that she showers on her six-year old grandson! Treated as containerized pets, her Japanese Maples get lots of TLC with snuggly blankets when freezes threaten. It seems to help.

Check with a local nursery to see if your variety is suited to your area; they may have some good advice for you. It is possible that your trees are poster children for the saying: Wrong Plant, Wrong Place. In that case you may wish to move your plants to a better location. Or you may wish to replace your trees with native trees that will not be a bother, such as a Plum or a Dogwood. Good luck!

New Search