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The top leaves on my acer are losing colour and browing at the edges.  Is it infected with something or is it due to weather - too windy?  too sunny?  The leaves bwlow the top ones are growing fine and nice and green.  Its in the pot below which has just started showing strange patterns on it so not sure if this indicates some fungal infection? 



I think it is just autumning, perhaps the top most ones because of wind damage.


Jean Genie

I agree with Blairs. I have an Orange Dream as well and some of the leaves are on the turn and the top does look like wind burn. I wouldn't worry too much as the leaves will be gone soon . As for the pot - it's just lichen and moss I think.

Acers don't like too much direct sun.    My south-facing garden has no shady areas, so my acer leaves usually end up brown on the tips.   But they fall off anyway and new ones will grow next year, so I don't worry about it.

My Acer was turned green but growing  strong


Caz W

Don't worry Trucker, my 5 year old acer looks like that at the beginning of Autumn (and its terracotta pot gets greener too!) but has lovely new leaves in the Spring.

Hi I have an acer that I planted this year, it is really small and quite young. The soil is high in clay so I made sure that I mixed sand and compost around the roots to try and improve drainage. All the new growth has now died. leaving bare stalks sticking out of the plant. The original foliage looks fine. Is this just something that happens with plants getting used to the new surroundings or is this something I need to solve? any ideas?

Acers need ericaceous compost

Acid, humous rich soil kes. Best to take plant out and start again. You can get ericaceous compost (that's soil you need) from your garden centre. Don't mix your,soil or sand with it. Didn't plant too deep either. You can mulch too, if you want to, with acid bark chips. Out of direct sun. Protect from strong winds. Just before new growth next spring cut back to buds but not too far back.
Alina W

Sorry folks - acers DON'T need ericaceous compost - that's a myth. They will do absolutely fine in neutral compost - check the RHS cultivation notes here. But they don't like being waterlogged, which might be the cause of the leaf drop - or it may just be autumn.

As for the leaf loss - the

My soil is neutral but acers do not do as well in that as they,do in a pot,of ericaceous compost. A friend has acid soil and grows superb acers. I think the Japanese varieties prefer acid soil but I also grow Acer flamingo. This loves my neutral soil. Earlier in the year I,posted about hard pruning this every spring.....this results in beautiful juvenile foliage of pink, cream, salmon, and light green 6' or 7' high and 9' across at the moment. (Hey, I know I have gone off the subject so forgive me). Here in Cornwall most of the county has acid soil ....I'm on the coast so,neutral will struggle to find better or bigger Japanese acers
Caz W

Thanks for the RHS link Alina. I didn't realise that the roots of maples in pots are vulnerable to frost over winter.  It suggests wrapping containers with a sheet of bubble wrap, held in place with garden twine.  Easy to do and well worth doing.  

Good link thanks , I will check to make sure that the plant is not waterlogged. I planted it on a slope so hopefully it's not too waterlogged. I have some ericaceous fertilizer that I have for a Nadina that has to be in ericaceous compost, I will add some of this to the Acer which should lift the acidity a little, as the link mentioned they like slighty acidic conditions. My wormery is producing some fantastic compost so I can use this as mulch and I often use the rotting leaves dropped from the tree next door to create mulch for the other plants, so I will add some of this to ensure that the base of the tree doesn't get too frosted. Hopefully this will work!! It is in the corner of my garden which gets the less intense afternoon sun and is fully protected from wind, so this should be a good spot for it! Thanks for the advise.

Kes, I am envious. I have never had success with Nandina. I do the right,things I think but no joy for me.

Really!!! I put it in a pot and pretty much left it!! I don't think I even potted it in ericaeous compost until I realised you were supposed to. My isn't very big, as I keep it in a pot, I didn't want it to grow really big, as I was living in a flat when I first bought it and it stayed outside the front door. I sprinkle a handful of ericaceous fertiliser on  it once a year. it is a Nadina Domestica (heavenly bamboo) the pot stands in a reletively sheltered spot with some afternoon sun. Sounds like I have been really lucky!


We have a large acer which looks in trouble. Some top branches are bare. I trimmed back some of what looked like dead wood earlier in summer. There is now more on its way. The leaves looks diseased to me. Picture of healthy and not so healthy. Any ideas from you acer pundits?

Alina W

Is it in a very breezy position? I have found that I get dieback in the part of a plant that grows above a fence - the section sheltered by the fence is fine.


Most Acers are killed or damaged by overwatering or waterlogging - for example putting in a pot too large for it.

Secondly wind - they hate wind, esp young ones

Third - they do take sun, taking more sun with maturity

Fourth - good draining soil, they really do not need acidic soil. A well fertilised soil is great as they have surface roots that feed. A leaf much and they will be happier still.


@ Robin - looks like wind damage to me

Some acers are more tolerant than others. Clones of the same variety differ too. The dissectum varieties -I think - cannot tolerate hot sun at all or cold winds; they just "crisp" and drop. Aureum and similar simply will not tolerate anything other,than ideal conditions. For me, acers simply PREFER acid conditions and, as the are expensive plants, deserve to be planted in as ideal spot as possible. I have now found the ideal position on my garden for my ."Garnet" and it thrives. It is sheltered from midday sun, has a yellow Taxus to one side and a tall miscanthus on the other. It has neutral to acid soil, not too rich, and soil that does not dry out. Too deep a mulch is also a killer for acers, much to my own disappointment.