The Japanese maple tree, Acer palmatum, typically grows to an outdoor height of approximately 20 feet. A variety of diseases, insects and environmental concerns may damage the renowned leaves or any aspect of the tree.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences warns that verticillium wilt has the ability to kill a Japanese maple tree. This lethal condition, caused by the soil-borne fungus Verticillium labarum, has no known cure aside from complete removal of the tree from the affected soil area. Symptoms include a wilting -- or drooping -- of leaves and branches.
The Japanese maple grows best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8. Varieties of the tree planted in much warmer or colder zones could suffer debilitating injury from extreme temperatures. Leaf scorch, a condition that causes leaves to prematurely brown and fall from the tree, is common in hardiness zones 7B and 8.
Diseases and Insects
The Japanese maple also may suffer attacks from additional diseases like powdery mildew, tar spots, sooty mold, canker, leaf spots and non-parasitic disorders including air pollution and salt spray. Insects that regularly infest a Japanese maple include aphids, borers, cottony maple scales and Japanese beetles. Injury to the roots is also a common problem among Japanese maples.
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