Idk what this Japanese maple wants :(

I bought this tree in early spring. I had it where it is now where it gets sun until about 1p. It started looking as you see now, so I moved it to where it basically only got sun for a couple of hours. It didn’t seem to like that, so I moved it back. I think I just wasn’t watering it enough at first. Some buds started forming on it recently. One of them leafed out and the leaves immediately shriveled up and died. :frowning: Now I’m thinking it’s getting too much sun or did they just die because it’s summer and it shouldn’t be leafing out? I’m at a loss. My plan was to repot this into a grow box with an akadama/pumice mix, but now idk if I should until it shows that it’s healthier.

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Hi, looks like leaf scorch. What is the average temperature past month? Has it been sunny and windy?
You surely better to wait for spring just before buds open with repoting.
Maples are better on semi-shaded spot during the summer. I did place mine this year under other plants facing South where it gets maybe 20-40% of direct sun light through the gaps in between leaves of above placed plants - I’ve never seen it happier without a single dry spot as it tends to have due to sun/wind scorch usually. Also japanese maples specifically but not only prefer watering early mornings only. If shaded this is enough for them for the day unless extremely hot/dry conditions appear.
It won’t look better this year if you change the conditions to this tree if this is the case of it’s drying leaves but try to apply it next season after repoting.
Good luck :slight_smile:

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I thought it could be sun scorch as well which is why I moved it to more shade. It wasn’t that hot when it first happened though, but the sun here in SC can be brutal. It goes from feeling like spring to summer in like a week. I knew that this season was a loss for it, but just trying to figure out what to do for next season. Thanks for the reply!

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Put it under another tree, on the ground. Typically JM are understory strees. It needs shade, like @CoffeeCherry said. I’m in Texas and mine do this sometimes. I just had one go from happy to scorched over the weekend of the 4th. It will lose 70% of the foliage, but that’s ok. I’ll move it to a more protected spot of the yard. It will remain somewhat summer dormant and then leaf back out in a month or so. I have been through this before with my larger maples like the one you have pictured.
Mine remain in larger pots like the one you have or larger. They are not likely to ever make it to a bonsai container. They are yard trees. They live around the pool and on the deck, under the shade of other big trees, just FYI. I have started taking cuttings from them and we will see what happens. Most Japanese maples are not strong enough to survive on their own roots, which is why they are almost all grafted.
Good luck!

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Is that why most maple bonsai are trident maples? The two I have are grafts for sure. Pretty bad ones too lol.

Short answer is yes. The lacey leaf varieties in all colors of the rainbow are seldom root stock. Some varieties are strong enough to grow for awhile but peter out over time. That’s why I have left them as yard trees and I’ll play with some cuttings or cultivars that have been proven to be able to thrive on their own roots in a local climate. Those verities are usually trademarked. There is one here in Texas called Shantung that I am currently messing with but the internodes are too long to be quality bonsai. Pretty yard tree tho.

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I have found that my maples get scorched pretty easy if they dont have a top dressing to keep moist. But all mine are in very free draining soil (1:1:1 akadam:lava:pumice with some pine bark)

Since ive been using the top dressing, the soil stays more moist on hot days. That soil looks to be all organic though, so I would use caution on top dressing because it might stay too moist -until you get it in better soil.

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Yeah, I got them earlier this year and then started to get back into bonsai. I was watering it frequently though to ensure that it had enough…at least I tried to. I’ve moved it back under the porch for now where it only gets a couple of hours of sunlight when the sun rises. We’ll see how it goes. :confused: I know someone mentioned that these don’t make great bonsai, but I’ve got it, so I’m gonna give it a shot anyways. :man_shrugging: