Gardening Q&A: can an Acer be repositioned?

Can an Acer be repositioned? Last summer's heat has scorched the leaves.
Question: Can an Acer be repositioned? Last summer's heat has scorched the leaves.

Answer: Acers are prone to leaf scorch. The more complex the leaf shape is, the more sensitive they can be; an example is Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’, especially the purple leaved types. Windy weather combined with dryness at the roots can exacerbate the problem.

If you did not give much extra water last year, you may be able to just apply more water this coming growing season and remedy the issue, without repositioning the tree. If it is planted in a particularly exposed place, it can be moved in March, taking as big a root ball as possible. 

Prepare the ground by digging in very well-rotted garden compost or leaf mould. The key to moving the plant successfully is watering well for at least two growing seasons until new roots have established themselves.

Send your questions for the RHS to: gardenproblems@standard.co.uk.

Only a few questions per month can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit rhs.org.uk/advice.

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