How to Get Rid Of Japanese Maple Tree Bark Peeling?

Bark peeling problems not only spoil the beauty of Japanese maple trees but are also an early sign of other dangerous problems. So you need to know the reasons behind this problem. Too Cold Temperatures, Heat Stress, Animal attacks, and Fungal Infestation are mainly responsible for your Japanese maple tree bark peeling.

In this article, I will discuss the possible causes in detail and tell you how to fix them. So stay with me and read the article carefully.

Quick Guide

Japanese Maple Tree Mulching

Too Cold TemperatureUse a 5-6 inches thick layer of mulch.
Heat StressThe temperature should never exceed 10°C.
Animal attacksMetal sheet warping, scarecrow and fence are recommended.
Fungal InfestationUse a good quality antifungal spray.

4 Proven Ways to Fix Japanese Maple Tree Bark Peeling

Damage to Japanese Maples Bark

1. Too Cold Weather

Too cold in late spring is one of the harmful factors for Japanese maple trees. 

If you plant your Japanese maple tree in an area with very low temperatures, the presence of little sun during the daytime will soften your plant’s cells, and at the end of the day when the temperature drops, they will begin to freeze. After several days of such incidents, the bark of the tree began to crack. 

Bright sun in excess of cold can cause sunscald on your tree’s leaves and bark, which after a few days burst and the bark begins to peel.The bark of your tree that is closest to the roots of the tree will crack first.

Control Measure

Japanese maples can generally tolerate temperatures below -10°C. But snowstorms increase damage to trees.

The first solution is to protect the Japanese maple tree from the ravages of winter. If your trees are in tubs, they should be moved to a sheltered location before winter. You can keep them in your home garage or large balcony.  

In general, the roots of plants in tubs are more damaged by excessive cold than those in the ground. In that case, you can apply a 5-6 inch thick layer of mulch over the roots of your tree.

You need to take extra care if your plant is planted directly in the ground. The plants should be well watered before winter.  

The tree should be well-wrapped to protect it from snow storms. Special protection should be provided to the parts where the bark has ruptured.

2. Heat Stress

Many people love the charred and scorched leaves of the maple tree. As a result, they plant Japanese maple trees in late spring. But sometimes the tree gets into a stressful situation due to excessive heat and the bark cracks and falls off.

Many gardeners face this problem and consider it a lack of sufficient nutrients. They then apply extra fertilizers there. As a result, salt increases in the tree and the salty environment further increases the rate of bark peeling.

Control Measure

Japanese maple trees generally do not like very high temperatures. Most maple trees grow well at -10°C.

So if you plant it in a hot spot just for the sunburned leaves, you need to take several precautions. The temperature should never exceed 10°C. The plant should be exposed to the morning sun only and protected from the sun during the rest of the day.

The plant should be watered regularly. And special measures should be taken to protect against pest attacks.

3. Animal Attack

Animal attacks are one of the main reasons Japanese maple trees lose their bark. This is normal if your plant is outdoors in an unprotected area.

There are many animals that use the bark of the Japanese maple tree to make their habitat.  Others only bark out of habit.

Which animals infest your tree depends on where you live and the environment there.  Squirrels and various types of birds are usually at the top of this problem in the town area. If you watch your plants carefully for a few days you will be able to identify them very easily.

If you live far from the city and in a slight jungle area, your Japanese maple tree is vulnerable to attacks by bears, porcupines, and a variety of birds. There are also deer that damage your trees with their strong antlers.

If your tree has this problem in the autumn and late autumn, it is definitely a deer attack.

Control Measure

A Japanese maple tree can typically grow up to 12-25 feet tall. Since trees are attacked by different types of animals, protection depends on the type of animal and the height of the tree.

If your tree is of normal height and is infested by rodents or squirrels, wrap seven feet of metal sheeting from the base of the tree. The work should be done in such a way that there are no loopholes.

If your tree is attacked by various birds, you can use a scarecrow on a strong branch at the top of the tree. You can easily make a scarecrow using a stick, old clothes and a deep-colored mask.

A five-foot fence will surround the tree to protect it from deer, bear and porcupine attacks.  The fence must be made strong enough not to break at the slightest shock. You can also use a sound gun to scare away such animals.

4. Fungal Infestation

Fungal infestation is one of the causes of peeling bark on your Japanese maple tree. Take a good look at the overhanging bark of your tree. If you see a layer of fungus under them, it is definitely caused by a fungal disease.

When your tree’s leaves or bark crack due to sunscald from excessive cold, a variety of fungi begin to breed there. And as the number of fungi increases, so does the rate at which the tree leaves the bark.

Control Measure

Bark peeling caused by fungus is difficult to treat. In this case, the fungal bark should be removed quickly. Anti-fungal spray should be applied in the first stage. If it doesn’t work, the stem of the affected part should be removed.

Be careful if your plants get sunscalded. Apply antifungal spray there regularly. The bark beyond the area where the bark begins to rise should be removed quickly.

Reflective paint on the base of the tree can provide temporary relief from such problems.  Also, if your tree is covered, open it as soon as the winter subsides.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can you tell if a Japanese maple has root rot?

If the roots appear waterlogged or rotten, pay close attention to them because that means they are not receiving enough nutrients and oxygen. There may also be fruiting bodies or reddish-brown cankers on the root system or in the soil surrounding it.

What happens if Japanese maple gets too much sun?

When Japanese maple trees are overheated, their leaves are first affected and turn a light brown color. As temperature levels rise, brown spots appear on the leaves, the bark sloughs off, and the leaves may curl.

What does a stressed Japanese maple look like?

Japanese maple trees may exhibit signs of heat stress as a result of the development of crispy leaf margins or if the climate continues to get extremely hot and dry, leaf drop. 

Final Word

Sometimes Japanese maple trees shed old bark to grow new bark. And this is a completely normal process. So whenever you see such a problem in your tree you should first investigate whether the cause is normal or abnormal.

Just observe the tree for normal bark peeling. Follow my guidelines for other reasons. They are also equally effective for the other versions of Japanese maple trees such as Red Dragon Japanese Maple, Waterfall Japanese Maple, Inaba Shidare Japanese Maple, Japanese Maple ‘Red Pygmy, Pacific Fire Vine Maple etc.

Happy gardening.

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

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