HELP. Vine Maple Leaf Issues


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Seattle, WA
Hi all,

My Vine Maple has burst into action this spring, but starting a couple weeks ago I noticed the leaves starting to discolor and deteriorate. I know the pH of my water is high (~8.5), so I've started using a pH Down solution to adjust hoping it is an iron deficiency due to lockout from the high pH. I've been doing this for a week and a half now, but the leaves still seem to be getting worse. The tree is still back budding and popping buds everywhere, but the leaf issue has me concerned. Does anybody have any ideas? Thank you in advance.


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A quick test (and temporary remedy) for chlorosis is to dissolve an iron supplement pill/capsule in a pint of water and spray it on the foliage. Iron supplements for anemia are usually soluble iron sulfate. If the problem is as you expect, the chlorotic appearance should disappear in a matter of days. If not, magnesium deficiency is a possibility. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. Again a dilute foliar spray should yield quick results if it due to magnesium deficiency. Foliar sprays are not good solutions, but will give you a much quicker response than root 'feeding'.

I'm surprised that you have alkaline water in Seattle. My water comes from the Skagit River and I just assumed that everybody's water on this side of the Cascades came from rivers and not wells. Regardless, I have no such problems here, though I do have a ton of domestic vine maple seedlings.

I have a landscape vine maple. Even though a. circinatum is monoecious, I do not believe it is self-fertile as few species really are. I think my mother vine maple has been getting it on with my a. japonicum 'Green Cascade'. Maybe not, but I have some very different leaves on some of the offspring (different shapes and colors). I took this pic yesterday


I don't think there is anything wrong with this seedling of mine.

I am confused by your post, to be quite honest. I assume that your tree didn't show this last year when you talk about it having "burst into action this spring". But then your concerns about pH wouldn't exist because you would have dealt with it last year (or you relocated over the winter, I suppose). IOW, I'm not certain that your tree has a problem. Even if it does, it doesn't seem to be a serious one if it is popping buds. Maybe try the tests. Wait to see what new leaves are like. These leaves that worry you may just be the consequence of the weather when they emerged.
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Sure looks chlorotic to me too. I get my water from Seattle, Tolt River and don’t have these issues.... media issue?

Wait, is this tree kept inside or was kept inside?

DSD sends
Plenty of cultivars out there that naturally have darker veins. One of mine (Acer P.):

PXL_20210429_155118906 (1).jpg
Thank you for your replies. I'm actually over on Bainbridge Island so that likely has something to do with the difference in water quality. I will try the foliar spray to try and get a more definitive answer.

This is a collected tree from the Olympic National Forest, and I just repotted it for the first time into a bonsai container this spring... It's new to the bonsai soil, but did spend all of last year in pumice and exploded in growth in it.

The leaves did not show this issue at all last year, it's new this year. That said, I was using a liquid organic fertilizer last year (which helped lower the pH), and switched to Biogold in tea bags this year, so the pH of the water isn't being addressed.

I'm going to hope the aggressive backbudding is a sign of good health, and not worry too much. The foliar spray should be a good indicator.
For sure, but OP is talking Vine Maple.
image.jpgHere’s one I did severe root work on about 7 weeks ago.

Great! @Osoyoung is a wise person to listen to.
DSD sends
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