Posted: 01/10/2017 at 16:50
Starvation? Thirst? Maybe exposure too. The compost sold for use in pots only has fertiliser for 90 days, 100 at best, and yours is also host to weeds and/or moss which will be leaching out any remaining nutrients and taking water too.
I would start now by scraping off all that layer of weed, loosen up the compost and add a handful of bonemeal before top dressing with some fresh compost and giving it a good drink. Even dormant plants have root activity going on over winter. Keep it safely sheltered from strong or cold winds. It looks a bit exposed there.
In early spring, water the pot well and let it soak while you prune off any pbvious dead wood which will look dry and grey. Then tip out the whole tree and its root ball and tease out the roots which will most likely bound in a tight ball going round and round the pot. Re-plant in a bigger pot if you can and use best quality John Innes no 3 compost. This will provide good drainage and nutrients but you will still need to water regularly every week till leaf fall plus give it occasional liquid feeds - seaweed is good - until mid July. Once planted, water well and then top dress the pot with some gravel or stone or slate chippings to help it retain moisture and prevent weeds.
Last edited: 01 October 2017 16:50:40