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Japanese Maple Trees

Q.Tree Won’t Grow….

Zone 48310 | jkeeber added on April 5, 2020 | Answered

I have a Japanese Maple tree that was given to me as a house-warming 7 years ago. It is a dwarf variety and should only get to about 6′ or so.. To date it has grown not a single inch in height.. nor have the branches grown any. Not. At. All. The soil is heavy clay, but I dug a Large hole to plant in. I have feed it, water as needed, yet it refuses to grow.. What have I done? Should I move it to a different part of the yard? Yours, Stumped in Michigan John Keeber

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on April 6, 2020

Unfortunately, there are many factors that could be causing your tree to stall.

My first suspicion is that this tree is a cutting that was not grafted onto a faster root stock. This would make a VERY slow growing tree. Typically, Japanese Maples are grafted onto something that is a little faster in the Maple genus to make the top a little faster.

You could take a branch cutting, and do you own graft. This could make a faster tree. Here is an article that will help:


Alternatively, it could come down to variety. If it is a warmer cultivar, then you will be right at the lower limit of where they will survive. If this is a cold hardy type, then you are well within the growing range.

If it is a type that is known to grow well in your area, then I could suggest slightly different care practices.

Here is an article that will help you with the general care of these trees:


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