Japanese maple leaves are dying

About 3 years ago i planted a 7 gallon Japanese Maple. It was full of blood red leaves. Later than year many of the leaves turned brown and rotted? in the middle. Almost looked like a tiny bug was eating the leaf from the middle toward the outside. (I photos if someone can help)
Last spring when the leaves were first coming out many limbs did not have any leaves. I thought it was a fluke so I pruned the "dead" limbs. The tree did seemingly OK for the rest of the year, but it still got the leaf "rot" mentioned above.
Now, this spring MANY limbs are seemingly dea and devoid of leaves. Virtually half the tree. Something has to be wrong.
I know very little about the care for these or other trees. I do know I have had a couple of trees in this area and all have not done too well. Maybe a soil problem?
Any, I repeat, Any help would be appreciated.
Steve Maye Nashville, TN
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A number of things are possible - soil-borne pathogen, insects, weak plant to start with, roots damaged during transplant. Anytime I see compartmentalized damaged in a plant (some branches and not others) it really gets my attention. Try to post photos.
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Mike LaMana, MS
Heartwood Consulting Services, LLC
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I have some photos of the dying leaves, I will take a current phot of the tree today and post another reply this afternoon.
Thanks for your help.
Steve

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Please have a look at the link. it goes to Walmart photo. There are several shots of the leaves from last year when they were dying. there is one of the tree from this morning.
http://www.walmart.com/agt/bounce.gsp?ID65ED6973F27434FBA3A417331EEB9A8004C&sharee=sjmaye%40comcast%2Enet
Thanks for your help, Steve

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I think I see a couple of things: The leaves seem to be infected with and Anthracnose-like disease, but I think this is secondary...
The dead top looks like a loss of hydrostatic pressure due to a compromised, infected, or non-existent root system. My first suspect is poor root structure in the plant as-acquired, followed by improper planting depth, then root disease resulting therefrom. Overwatering may have come in to play. The prognosis is not good unfortunately...
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Mike LaMana, MS
Heartwood Consulting Services, LLC
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