Ask Gerry: How to grow: Trees and Shrubs: Pests and Diseases

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I think my acer is dead

Hi Gerry, my acer (in large pot) seems dead – no growth obvious this season, and water in saucer under pot never seems to dry up even in dry windy weather. branches look dehydrated – dry and brittle – whats up and can I do anything at this stage?

Acer can be tricky in a pot, and even in the open ground sometimes. If a plant is struggling with unsuitable conditions, especially overly wet ground, it can suddenly die. This usually occurs because some roots die, due to lack of oxygen in wet soil, and the dead roots are invaded by a root-rotting fungus. Acer can also die because a fungus, usually coral spot fungus, invades the stem at ground level. The third possibility is that, if the plant was too dry during summer, it may not have made enough storage sugars to keep it going for the entire winter and it dies. However, wait and see if there is any new growth, but if the twigs are dry and brittle, it is probably gone. Occasionally, a plant may sprout from lower down and only the top or some branches die. 

Author: Colette Mc Carron

I'm a busy person who loves to garden but often don't have the time to do much so try to keep the garden low maintenance while still interesting. I'm involved in the residents association so get plenty more weeeding and pruning there.On top of the residents association I'm now on a sub committee for the community garden on our estates green space. We got a grant to start the garden and the first thing we did (after clearing 20 years of gorse growth) was create allottments. As well as being on the committee I took an allotment (of course!) so between one thing and another I do not know whether I'm coming or going