Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Death of a Japanese Maple

It's been a tough year for trees

Bill's TN Paradise lost a beautiful Japanese maple tree this month. (The photo shows the tree in spring '04). After two bad years, the tree was just a crispy skeleton by this May. For 2 years, the tree didn't lose it's leaves as normal. The leaves simply curled up and died, remaining on the tree all winter. Last year, only half of the tree had leaves on it.

The big frost near the beginning of April was the final blow to the cherished maple. Many trees were hit hard. Even the many 100 foot tall oak trees on the property looked dead all through April. But now, they're finally coming back, and soon the forest canopy will be complete and Bill's TN Paradise will return to summer shade.

The early April frost was not that unusual, it occurred before the time of the normal last frost. However, it was unusual to have had so much warm weather in March, then sub-freezing temperatures for several nights in succession. The 3 weeks of exceptionally warm weather in March that accelerated the growth of vegetation prior to the frost was quite unusual. The freeze was harsh, coming when some of the trees and bushes were at their most vulnerable. One night in early April, the temperature here at Bill's Command Central reached a low of 23 degrees F. Undoubtedly, the mild drought we're having didn't help matters either.

The Japanese Maple will be sorely missed. The red leaves matched the red trim on my log house and provided shade and privacy for the pool area. In the interest of nude bathing and privacy by the pool, 2 large (but unremarkable) Leyland Cypress trees were planted to provide complete privacy in place of the lost maple. These two cypress trees are around 8 ft tall and grow very fast. Nice, but nothing compared to that maple. It took 15 years for that maple to grow to that size. I wasn't willing to wait that long for the pivacy the maple once provided, or spend the thousands to buy a similar tree half that size.

Anyone else lose a Japanese maple? I had heard other Japanese maples were affected throughout TN.


Glenda said...

What a shame. Such a beautiful tree.

Lesley said...

No, but I lost a cherished small crape myrtle that I have been nursing for two years. I'm so mad I could spit. I'm leaving it out there just in case, though. And I'm also made that I should have roses now, but I don't.

Sorry about your tree. I feel your pain.

Les Jones said...

Oddly enough I was talking to my landscaper about Japanese maples last night. He ways he got a lot of calls from customers, but tried to reassure them that the trees would probably come back. The red maples at work turned brown for a while, but new red leaves are pushing out the brown leaves.

Anonymous said...

In Detroit, my Red Japanese made it through okay but my green japanese maple has only half of it's leaves nearest to the trunk. I also lost a crimson king maple that looked as if it had buds started, but they never opened. Both were planted for only 2 years.