Why My Japanese Red Maple’s Leaves Are Turning Green? Check It Here!


A garden brimming with lush green will surely extend strong vitality. While, it will look a bit humdrum if there are only green trees or shrubs flourishing in the yard.

To make their sweet yard more visually pleasing, many people would opt to grow some other foliage plants that present different colors, such as Japanese red maple.

Features with beautifully displayed branches and bloody red leaves, Japanese red maple tree will lend endless interest to your environment, especially grow amid green bushes or against the plain walls.

When most trees shedding off their leaves in autumn, it is time for red maple to show off its intriguing charm with dazzling red color.

One frustrating situation that we commonly meet during cultivation of Japanese red maple is: red maple’s leaves are turning green, instead of always staying red.

So what is the problem and how to make it right?

Too Low Temperature Difference Between Day And Night

As known to all, nearly all plants’ leaves contain chlorophyll. In addition to chlorophyll, many leaves also contain other pigments such as carotene, and flavochrome.

Red-Maple-Leaves-Turning-GreenThe reason why maple leaves are turning red is because chlorophyll content reduces while carotene and flavochrome content increases.

In the situation of relatively low temperature difference between day and night, the synthesis of chlorophyll is sufficient, whereas the content of carotene and flavochrome decreases. The leaves of the red maple will look green naturally.

So be patient if leaves of your red maple tree do not turn red as expected. Wait until the weather is really cool, when the temperature difference between day and night reaches above 10℃ (50℉), ideally more than 15℃ (59℉). The leaves will turn red gradually then.

Too Sufficient Watering

Sufficient water supply will lead to stronger photosynthesis and more chlorophyll content in the leaves, which will delay the maple’s leaves from turning red.

A case in point is: the leaves of trees grow in arid areas turn yellow earlier than those grow in wet areas during the autumn season.

The growth of red maple will boost in autumn, during when its demand for water increases. But do not water the red maple tree until the top layer of soil is dry.

Sufficient watering will surely promote the growth of red maple tree, but its leaves will not turn red easily.

Not Enough Sunlight

The content of carotene in the leaves of red maple will decrease if there is not enough sunlight. The chlorophyll content will dominate in the leaves then, making the leaves look green.

Japanese-Red-Maple-BonsaiThe solution is simple: make the maple tree bathe more sunlight!

But do not set the red maple bonsai tree in direct sunlight during scorching summer, as the harsh sunlight tend to sunburn its leaves. Locate the bonsai tree in the partially shaded places.

While in autumn, the temperature decreases gradually. Making the red maple bonsai tree bath as much sunlight as possible will help its leaves turn brightly red early. Conversely, if the red maple bonsai tree is still kept in shaded area, its leaves will be difficult to turn red, and its color will be dark red even it does.

It should be noted that when the red maple is exposed to the sunlight, it is advisable to gradually increase the intensity of the sunlight, instead of moving from the shaded area to the strong sunlight directly. Otherwise, it might bring damage to the leaves.

Need Proper Fertilizing

Autumn is the rapid growth season for red maple tree. It is suggested to apply some NPK balanced organic fertilizer every half month on the tree to boost its growing and improve its metabolic capacity. The leaves of red maple bonsai tree will not turn red easily if the soil is in deficiency of proper fertilizer.

Another benefit for fertilizing is that it can help the red maple tree grow stronger and well pull through the cold winter.

Need To Choose The Right Red Maple Species

There are wide array of red maple species on the market, among which Shindeshojo and acer palmatum ‘atropurpureum’ are the most popular ones.

Japanese-Red- Maple-acer-palmatumShindeshojo’s red leaves will gradually fading into reddish green and finally total green by summer, but will eventually turn orange & red again when autumn comes.

While for acer palmatum atropurpureum, it gets finely cut palmate leaves, split in five, seven or nine pointed lobes. The graceful stems, together with the leaves are bloody red throughout the year, except in winter, during when the tree will hibernate and its leaves will be shedding off.

So check carefully when purchase a red maple tree, make sure that you get a right red maple species if you want the tree be red all year around.


While green maple tree also look awesome, but if you would like the maple tree to stay breath taking red, serving as focal point in your garden, then it would be frustrating to find your red maple tree dotted with green leaves on it.

Green leaves on the red maple tree does not always mean that the maple tree is diseased. Check to see if the maple tree is too much watered or does it locate in the proper location to enjoy good sunlight. And sometimes it is just because the temperature is not cold enough or you simply just choose the wrong species.

Thanks for reading. And do hope this article will be helpful to you for cultivating a red maple tree that always looks stunningly red.

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