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Why is my acer dying?

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Last summer i bought a small acer and planted it straight into the ground and now it appears to be dying. it made it through the winter with new leaves growing on this spring and all of a sudden the leaves have shrivelled and are dropping off. any ideas why this might be? i did build a wall next to where it is planted but cant see that being the reason. ive been giving it plenty of water in the dry weather so im baffled. help?

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Have a look at the branches for mealy bugs..

They are oval shaped and blend in quite well so they might take some looking for..

Some look like they're sitting on little pieces of cotton wool..


I've had them on my acer this year and they're a pain in the backside..


They protect themselves with a waxy coat, so the best (and cheapest) way I found to get rid of them is to put on a pair of rubber gloves and rub them off using washing up liquid..


You'll probably have to do it a few times, but it's worked for my acer..


You could buy some pesticides, but I prefer not to..

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What type of acer is it? Is it a dissectum or another form? Is the leaf loss accompanied by die back ie have the branches failed as well? To tell just scrape off a bit of bark with a finger nail and if it is green underneath then the wood is ok if it is brown then it isn't. Cannot really form any conclusion without this information. If the branches have failed as well i'd dig it up and look at the root ball to see what root growth there is and assuming there is and some live wood chop it back to the live wood, replant in fresh compost possibly in a pot, drench it and keep it in the shade.

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Thanks for all the responses, ive had a look at the bark and its still green at the bottom so im gonna leave it and see what happens. Its next to a wall in a shaded spot so ill just have to cross my fingers to see if lives.

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