Wilting Leaves on a Japanese Maple

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Landscape Japanese maple trees -- Acer palmatum -- with wilting leaves should not be removed; they may be able to recover from an attack of two different types of fungi.

Verticillium Wilt

Wilting leaves on a Japanese maple tree may be the result of verticillium wilt, a condition brought on by two forms of fungal disease, verticillium albo-atrum and V. dahliae. The fungi typically reside in the tree over the winter and begin assaulting the leaves of the Japanese maple in the spring.


The leaves of the Japanese maple will curl, wilt and redden or yellow amid the veins. "The plant symptoms that result when this disease attacks may be confused with premature fall defoliation and with other plant problems such as root rots as well as drought," reports the University of Illinois Extension Service.


The verticillium fungus begins in the roots and slowly spreads upward. "Trees showing general and severe wilt cannot be saved and should be replaced with a non-susceptible species," advises the University of Minnesota Extension service. Fungicides will not cure infected trees and growers should avoid utilising mulch from the diseased Japanese maple.