Yes, if there was a severe spring frost in April or May as the leaf-buds
are opening, a Japanese maple can become denuded. If frost is the cause, &
the tree was not already stressed, it should bounce back in time. Trees
can also lose all their leaves if not watered during a drought. Maples
almost always have some "emergency buds" held back for just such
emergencies, so it should produce some leaves pretty soon, & though
looking thin for the year will be fine next spring. The double whammy of a
drought AND frost could have killed it outright, you'll know if it
produces no leaves at all this year.
Never fertilize a stressed tree, you'll make it worse. While it is
stressed it will be more susceptible to disease or insect attack, so keep
an eye on it.
-paghat the ratgirl
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