Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 03, 2010

From: Glastonbury, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Failure to thrive of non-native Japanese maple
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My 10 year old Japanese red maple leaves suddenly started to curl up and die at the end of summer last year. Only about a quarter of the tree leaved out this spring, branches are dead. Can I plant another in its spot? What could have happened?

ANSWER:

Acer palmatum, Japanese Maple, is native to China and (of course) Japan. Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which they are being grown, we have no information on this plant in our Native Plant Database. Here is an About.com: Forestry article How to Manage and ID Japanese Maple, which can give you a lot of information to help you discover the problems. The fact that you kept it alive for 10 years indicates you were doing a good job, as it is not ordinarily a long-lived plant, and this USDA Plant Profile does not even show it as growing in Connecticut. Hartford County, in central Connecticut, is in USDA Hardiness Zone 6, and the Japanese maple is hardy from Zones 5b to 8, so your temperatures should not have been the problem. If you know others are growing this tree in your area, you might contact the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension Office for Hartford County. If this is something that has been happening in your area, they are closer to home and can give you more help than we can.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native mimosa as deer food in Colerain, NC
June 20, 2009 - I was wondering if deer eat any part of the mimosa tree? I have three good sized trees in my yard with seedlings popping up everywhere. Would it be profitable to transplant for deer habitat?
view the full question and answer

Mediterranean Pines indigenous to Verde Valley AZ
January 01, 2012 - Are the tall, thin Mediterranean/Pencil Pines growing in the Verde Valley in Arizona indigenous to the area? They are so plentiful, but are not identified as an indigenous evergreen. If not, how did...
view the full question and answer

Drooping leaves on iris in Phenix City, AL
May 02, 2009 - I had a bed FULL of iris rhizomes so I thinned them out and made two beds. They flowered perfectly but some of the flower stalks and some of the leaves began drooping over. The flowering is over. The ...
view the full question and answer

Should Mexican milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) not be used to attract Monarch butterflies?
November 20, 2015 - Should I remove Asclepias curassavica (Mexican milkweed) in my garden for threat of OE parasitic protozoan threat to Monarch butterflies? Is this threat as widespread as Chronicle implies? I had great...
view the full question and answer

Locating toxic, non-native, invasive Castor Bean seeds
March 04, 2006 - Where do I find castor bean seeds? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.