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What to do about Frost Damage on Japanese Maples!


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Late frost can be a nightmare for gardeners, and if you live in Western North Carolina, you're no stranger to this phenomenon. Frost damage can wreak havoc on Japanese Maples, but identifying it can be tricky. Some people mistake frost damage for sunburn, which is why it's important to know what you're dealing with. So, what can you do to prevent frost damage on your Japanese Maples?

Covering your trees with frost cloth or sheets is a simple and effective solution. But be sure not to use plastic, as it can make the problem worse. If you're wondering why only one of your trees is showing signs of frost damage, it may be due to microclimates in your garden. Certain areas may be warmer or colder than others, and filling these areas with cultivars that leaf out a little later can help combat late frosts.

If your tree has already been damaged by frost, don't panic. Wait about a week and then give it a bit of liquid fertilizer to help it push new growth. MrMaple suggests waiting two weeks between each dose of liquid fertilizer. Whatever you do, don't prune your tree. Pruning may damage buds underneath the leaves that are damaged from frost. Instead, allow the leaves to dry up and fall off. If you're still in danger of frost, watering your tree well directly after a frost is your best bet.

By taking these steps, you can prevent frost damage on your Japanese Maples and help them recover if they've already been affected. Don't let frost ruin your garden – take action now to protect your trees!

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Comments

Lauren HARPER - July 21, 2023

IN ARKANSAS. MINE GOT CAUGHT LATE FREEZE, NO NEW LEAVES ON BRANCHES, BUT NEW BRANCHES COMING OUT OF THE BOTTOM (TRUNK) GROUND LEVEL. WHAT IS BEST WAY TO PRUNE OR CUT OLD TRUNK? NOT TO DAMAGE NEW GROWTH…

Scott Newman - July 21, 2023

Hello, I have two maples that I got late winter. They were potted up in February. This spring the leaves came out fine. I went away for a few weeks late April and early may and I left them in someone else’s care so I couldn’t take care of them properly. I told them to place them side of house in shadier spot when it’s not raining but clearly they missed the text and they were in same spot as when I left. I came back and all the leaves were burned/crispy looking. I don’t know what caused it but suspect frost and or sun scorch. One other one I have got sun scorched but not as bad. The two maples in question were younger ones more cutting side of things (acer palmatum ‘Katsura’ and acer palmatum ‘deshojo’) so I am afraid they might have been lost. They were put in a full shade spot after I returned immediately. I asked someone else about what I should do and they said try to remove the dead leaves by pinching them out to help them put out new ones. Then put in dampled shade to help set the tree to put out new leaves. I have done that and tried to maintain the proper watering. I haven’t pruned anything. It’s been a week or two since removing the leaves and not much new growth is coming if any. Is there anything else to do here cause they are newest ones I really don’t want to lose. Is it more of a waiting game now? Thanks, Scott

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