Coral Bark Maple – Strange Leaves

Q: Both of my coral bark maples look like they are trying to revert to a standard maple. They are suddenly putting out these very “standard maple leaf” looking branches.

Should I snip them off? Will it continue?

A: Mike Francis at The Maple Farm & Greenhouse Nurseries (770-987-4066) on Covington Highway says that coral bark maple is well known to send out vigorous new growth in fall after it has been stressed in summer. The heat of the stone wall where your’s is growing would provide lots of stress.

Mike says the green leaves you see now will hang on the branch lots longer than the normal coral bark leaves but they will finally fall off. Next spring, the branch will have normal coral bark maple leaves.

However….since the form of the tree has been so drastically affected, Mike says most folks opt to cut off the vigorous branches and keep the tree form looking good.

Side note: other Japanese maples, like Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly’ are well known to produce true reversions…in which the small multi-colored leaves revert to large green ones permanently. The solution is as above: prune it out.

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