Home Gardening Guide Why is my Japanese Maple Turning Green? Causes and Treatments

Why is my Japanese Maple Turning Green? Causes and Treatments

by gardeningit
Why is my Japanese Maple Turning Green

Japanese Maple is one of the most incredible trees that can be grown in a garden. These trees are famous for the vibrant colors of their leaves. Most Japanese Maple varieties have brick-red leaves that add a pop of color to gardens. These trees can grow as tall as 8 to 30 feet in a home garden when cared for properly. If its care routine is not followed correctly, the leaves of this tree turn from red to green. This is the reason why most common question asked about Japanese Maple is: why is my Japanese Maple turning green? 

If you face a similar problem and look for a solution, you have come to the right place. Here are the main reasons for the green leaves of Japanese Maple.

Reasons Behind Japanese Maple Turning Green

If your Japanese Maple is turning green, it is receiving improper care. Either it has been planted in the wrong location or not being appropriately fertilized.

So before you can revive your red-colored Japanese Maple, you must find the cause behind the change of its foliage color.

Let’s read what factors can cause Japanese Maple turning green.

Japanese Maple Turning Green Due to Incorrect Sunlight Exposure

This tree needs full sun to develop the reddest shade of its leaves. This Maple tree is planted in the center of gardens to receive direct sun for most of the day. But if you have planted your tree under a shaded spot, it is more likely that its leaves will turn green.

Too much direct sun in summers also affects the foliage. Sunshine in summer is intense, and it can cause sunburn. If Japanese Maple is not shaded from the scorching midday sun in summers, its foliage turns green from red.

How to Fix It

If your Japanese Maple is grown in a shaded area where it cannot receive full sun, you should transplant it to a sunny spot. Transplantation can only be done when the tree is in its juvenile stage. Mature tree

If intense summers are the reason for your Japanese Maple turning green, then you should cover your tree with a shade structure. You should use this shade structure only in the afternoon as morning and evening sun benefit its foliage.

Due to Nutrient Deficiency

It is common for a Japanese maple tree to suffer from a nutrient deficiency. When its soil is deficient in nutrients, its leaves start to turn light green to yellow. Mainly the low nutrient is manganese. So if your Japanese Maple is turning green with a shade of yellow in its leaves, you would know it is due to manganese deficiency. There may be some other nutrients missing as well.

How to Treat Nutrient Deficiency

You should get the soil tested for nutrient content. After being sure that the real cause is nutrient deficiency, you should fertilize your tree. If all nutrients are missing from the soil, use a balanced houseplant fertilizer. But if the soil is deficient in manganese only, you should fertilize the tree with a manganese fertilizer particularly.

You should dilute the fertilizer to half its strength before you pour it into the soil so that it does not cause a nutrient burn.

Japanese Maple Turning Green Due to Over-fertilization

Sometimes people apply fertilizer more than often to make their plants grow faster. However, they are doing more harm than good to their plants by doing this.

Over-fertilization also affects Japanese Maple by turning the color of its leaves. When a Japanese maple is fertilized more than its standard needs, its foliage turns green from red.

When over-fertilized, its leaves appear wilted and turn brown from the tips and margin. Wilted leaves signify that you must remove the excessive fertilizer, or your plant will die.

How to Treat This

If over-fertilization is causing the green leaves of your Japanese maple tree, you must stop fertilization at once to avoid further damage. Remove all the visible fertilizer from the soil. You should also leach the soil to wash away excessive fertilizer. Water the soil deeply; all the extra nutrients will get washed away with the water.

After leaching the tree, let it rest and not fertilize it for another month.

Japanese Maple Turning Green Due to Extreme Heat

This tree is not tolerant of high temperatures. It is why this tree cannot be grown in hardiness zones above 9. If the temperature rises beyond its forgiving range in summers, this plant goes dormant. In dormancy, its leaves lose their red color and turn into a shade of green or brown. All-in-all, extreme heat is a possible cause for Japanese Maple turning green.

How to Fix It

To keep your Japanese maple tree cool in summers, add a layer of organic mulch to its soil. It will prevent excessive evaporation.

You should also water your tree more during the hotter days. Try to water in the morning as in the afternoon water evaporates more quickly and the roots cannot absorb it properly. Also, add a shade to your tree in the summers.

Turning Green Due to Different Cultivar

It is usual for some Japanese Maple varieties to change their foliage color during summers. The color of their foliage returns to its original red in autumn.

So, if you have tried everything and the color of your Japanese Maple is not turning back red, you might have a different Japanese maple cultivar that changes its color with the season. This seasonal change in color does not affect the health of the foliage.

How to Keep Japanese Maple from Turning Green

If you want your Japanese Maple to stay red, healthy, and fresh throughout the year, you must care for it properly. Here is a list of its care needs to help you keep your tree healthy.


This tree should be watered twice a week thoroughly in the growing season. However, increase its watering frequency during summers and water it less in winters.

Soil Type

This tree prefers to be planted in well-draining, loose, organic soil. The pH of the soil should be kept acidic. You should also add a layer of mulch to its ground to increase its fertility and organic content.


As already mentioned, this tree grows best in full sun, but you should protect it from direct sun in extreme summers.


It is a cold-hardy plant that can withstand a temperature of 0°F. The recommended hardiness growth zones for this plant are 5 to 9. It is not tolerant of high temperatures.


This plant cannot survive in low humidity; it needs 30% to 50% humidity to thrive. You should mist its foliage frequently to fulfill its humidity requirements.


For every inch of the diameter of Japanese Maple, use 1/10 pounds of nitrogen for fertilization. Do not forget to dilute the fertilizer before use.


Pruning should be done at the end of every winter or the beginning of each spring. All the dead and old leaves must be removed from the tree. Yearly pruning encourages more growth and healthy leaves.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have the answer to your question: why is my Japanese Maple turning green? You can quickly treat your tree and revive its deep red color. All you have to do is pinpoint the leading cause by observing the signs and making the necessary changes in its care routine.

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