They are potted in potting soil, which I have learned is a no-no. I have gravel in the bottom of the pots and there are drainage holes too. I mulched the top with rocks for drainage and to keep the soil in the pots when I am watering.
I will probably change out the soil for a soilless mixture soon.
Laura, I'm glad that the tree survived. It looks like it will be just fine. And I love the pot. Hard to believe that the cute little Japanese Maple is going to be a big tree.
Anyone have an opinion on rocks on top of the soil? I know that we don't do it anymore on clematis because it heats up the soil so we use mulch. I don't mulch my JMs at all. I've wondered about this for awhile so I thought that I'd ask. We don't have to mulch in California in the winter of course like you do.
I use a stone mulch on the top of the soil for my potted JM, but then I also have sempervivums planted as a groundcover as well. I believe in intensive gardening. I fertilize mine with 15-30-15 until mid July. My soil is 1 part turface, 1 part pro-mix and 2 parts topsoil. So far, my oldest potted maple (4 years) has been fine.
Do you think I need to do anything about the "1-sidedness" of the tree while it is little? I have another I will be posting later on that needs training to straighten up some, and I will want to know how to do that safely. I could plant this one at a bit of an angle when I redo the soil in the pot.
Doss, as the pot is shallow (which is what I thought best to keep it from getting tipped over), I have to have something to keep the soil in...it tends to wash out when I water the tree even when I am careful. I used light stones in a single layer, to reflect the sun.
It is what it is ..only one main stem left...not much you CAN do IMHO...I feel it will be fine ..the only thing you might want to do or CAN do is stake it so it grows more upright but it will most likely do so anyway ... most every thing in life as well as trees are imperfect ...at least you have one nice main stem ...it could be worse ...hows that from a typically half empty guy ;>0 David
I can see the dilemma with the shallow pot. I was just wondering and thought that I'd ask the question.
I'll look forward to see what other people have to say about the one-sidedness of the tree. I think that it's all going to come out in the wash as this tree grows, although I think that I would have liked to see it pruned closer to the trunk. Wait until you hear from someone else before you do anything though.
Once it's put in the ground it's going to grow up to be a 20 foot tree so these lower branches won't be a problem.
OHHH you meant the one sidedness of what is left ...I think it looks fine you basically have a split main trunk left about half way up it will fill out I wouldn't touch it for at least a couple years but I personally don't see it as one sided except as far as the one main branch is missing toward the bottom and as i said there's nothing ya can do about that IMHO ...I wouldn't touch it!!!! David
If you compare with the 2005 photo, you will see that it was a very nicely balanced tree at first. I think I will angle it just a little bit when I put the new soil on it, to help it reach straighter. I need to trim off the remaining dead part of the old side that died, but will wait until summer to do that. I was afraid to take it back too far this spring.
Okay, here is the next one 'Viridis'. This one is in a large container and I intend to keep it in a container on my patio. I wanted a little one so that I can control the width of it as it grows. This is a dissectum, weeper.
Next is my real "problem child"...'Itame Nibluki'. When I bought this one last year, this is what it looked like. In my mind's eye, I am thinking "bonsai" shape! I put it into the ground this year in place of another tree that died over winter, that had a bamboo shape, 'Beni Otake'. I like it OK in this spot, but now I worry that as it grows, the trunk won't be able to support the weight. It is not tied to the stake next to it, but I am considering training it to be more upright and/or taking some length off this limb in hopes it will push more to the other side. Not the cockeyed branch that grows from the center and makes an immediate right turn between two other branches. What a funny little tree I have here. I have several photos at different angles. I planted it at a bit of an angle, but only a bit.
From what I read it's only supposed to get 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide and is upright. It will certainly have the strength to hold itself up if it's in the ground. Japanese Maples are very sturdy. It certainly looks as if it's going to be a challenge.
The trunk looks to me pretty puny for it's size ...that is good cause that tree even for an inperfectionist like me is not a good shape but with a thin trunk you might over time be able to staighten it ...maybe ...I can't see how it EVER got that way unless it was in a closet with a grow light outside and the door was open just a crack ;>)...yah ...well I would start to stake it upright NOW pull gently as far as it will go to upright it... and put a heavy bamboo pole next to it and tie securly ...keep tying it further and further up the stake gently until hopefully it is mostly upright ...OR deep six the tree and buy one that isn't so perverted... it looks stupid IMHO to put it bluntly ...I love imperfection but this one just plumb looks BAD !!! David
LOL, I love an honest person...it is pretty goofy looking, isn't it? I don't know what I was thinking. I usually spend a lot of time picking out a tree and choose based on a nice shape. I suppose I could try to train/shape it for a bit, and if that doesn't work, yank it out and replace it with something nicer looking. I think it must have been bent in shipping somehow, or someone grafted a goofy branch. I hoped last year that it would send out some shoots on the opposite side, but no luck.
Any other ideas? I am willing to try most anything with this tree.
I would try the staking til next year then see if it ihas straightened ( take stake away and take a gander ) and hopefully it will be sprouting more well rounded shoots ... I think it will work...i'd almost bet on it ...the trunk may be a bit wavy but that is ok in my book ...I don't know what you were thinking ;>) you have great eye and taste from what you have posted ...did your "back" go out and you were bent at a 45 degree angle when ya bought it ..I've been there!!!... it definitely is a disabled tree better get it a wheelchair accessable parking permit !!!!!...;>0000 !!!!
Laura, I'll bet that you are a soft touch for a lost puppy too. :-)
You can wire the tree if you really want to. I can't remember what kind of wire they use, but in Bonsai they very often coil wire loosely around the trunk of a tree or a limb and gradually move it into place. Of course the wire has to be replaced fairly often or it will cut into the trunk. Probably no more than once a year. You can get a book about Bonsai at the library that will tell you how to do this. I think that you can actually use wire from the hardware store.
That might be a fun adventure for you - and the tree becomes an opportunity. You were thinking bonsai in the first place, right?
Hi, everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I staked my goofball tree up a couple of weeks ago and took a look at it today and it is working! I didn't get any pics for you, but I'll get some pics tomorrow of it staked, and without them. I'll tie it up again afterwards of course! I can't believe it is working so fast!
The trunk is, indeed, still wavy, but I also cut off that cockeyed branch that bent off to the right when I staked it and it seems much better balanced without it. Yes, I know I probably should not have cut the branch off this time of year, but I went and did it anyway.
Thanks for suggesting the staking, it got me off the dime to get it done. You think it should stay tied over winter then? I may add a third stake to see if that helps straighten it out any better.
I have been staking a bunch of my trees including dissectums to get more interesting shapes ...NO MORE UNBRELLAS!!!;>)...I removed a few ties yesterday from one and it had worked ...the branch even after just two months stayed straight up...I highly recommend trying it on some of your stuff to get DIFFERANT forms especially with dissectums ..Of course on listing or humpback uprights it is probably not only disireable but necessary ...David
I will probably also stake up my new Omure Yama to encourage the trunk to grow more upright for the first few years. It is a low graft, and I am working on where to plant it. I'll have some pics and questions probably tomorrow to get some help from everyone on what to put where!
Laura, I do take small branches off of my trees this time of year. I have a problem in that some of the branches are high enough to walk under except then the leaves weigh them down. So I have to do it when the leaves are on the trees.
It hasn't hurt them yet. I did just buy some sealing compound that is clear from Mountain Maples - tried everywhere else and couldn't find it. I have a weeping evergreen that needs a large branch cut off so I think that I want to give it some help.
I personally also trim off small stuff year round ...I don't think that is a problem especially with larger more well established trees...even a larger branch here and there... Its a butch hair cut on a young [plant that is probably not advisable . I don't use sealant ...most pros don't advise using it any more ..(.except old timers ) and feel it is not worth it and keeps the natural healing from taking place ...now if it it gushing sap then it may be useful ... but to each their own ...there are a million differnt therories out there ...far be it for me to say there is just ONE way to do it ;>) I think folks are a little too "careful" with their Jm's ...maybe cause they are special and our 'babies" and cost a little more than most trees ...but in reality as far as I can see they are pretty darn durable and can take alot of extreems than some other trees and UNLESS they are under SEVERE conditions of dryness wetness heat or cold and I DO mean SEVERE ...my experience is they are more like weeds than trees and can take alot of non severe abusive conditions and we worry a bit too much about them...David
Well, here are some new pics of the JM "in training". I have four for you, first how I tied it up two weeks ago, then two unbound so you can see the progress. Then one more with it trussed up again for more training. I decided to work on a couple of the side branches to pull them out and down a bit to help balance the tree out.
Last pic. I tried to restrict it a bit more this time to try and straighten the trunk more. In case you are wondering, I use old nylon hose for tying things up...a trick I got from my grandmother. Looks like I need to pull back the stake a bit as it's leaning some.
Well, I would love to, but I'm still confused. Some here have linked me to threads discussing mixes that drain well, including pine bark and other ingredients. So, I went looking for a "professional" potting mix at one of my local nurseries, which has quite a few JMs for landscaping use. This is not the larger nursery which I posted pics of earlier this spring, however. When I asked about a good mix with lots of drainage, I was pointed in the direction of the miracle grow mix and some perlite. On the other hand, their JMs are potted into topsoil.
I have not yet tried the other nurseries. I have been sick for the last day and had to deal with some hosta/vole damage on late Sat and Sun, so hope to do it next weekend instead.
If our nursery folks see this, I would like to know what you use.
I have started to mix my own with pine bark mulch ( two differnt sizes), black forest hardwood fines ( lowes) a little promix and several sizes of chicken and turkey grit ...seems to make a nice medium will know more next year. I am also experimenting with varais fertilizers mostly organic non time release ones ...but only on some root stock that didn't "take" will know more next year... Jms should only be fertilized in spring and only once a year according to most scources...unless obvious signs of defficencies...David
I thought maybe you all might like to see how the "training" is coming. I am using a single stake now, and have found these really nice velcro strips for the garden, with a soft side and a grippy side. I'm posting top to bottom in three pics as it is hard to see it against the mulch background. I need to train the branches a bit to balance the sides some, but it now has a nice central leader and is no longer bent over at 90 degrees. It will never lose the "wavy" trunk, but the upper parts should develop into a better vase shape in the next few years.
BOFFO JOB!!!! you are a credit to all tree straighteners...in fact I have crowned you "QUEEN of the STRAIGHTENERS" ( I think your a female if not no offense LOL )...no all kidding aside it looks GREAT...David
Thanks, David and Doss, I appreciate the compliments (bowing humbly). ;-) I also appreciate the encouragement to give it a go from earlier in the year.
I actually staked my Coral Bark a bit in the late fall to straighten the leader some while it is young, too!
I am so happy at how well this one is doing. "Who woulda thunk?"
Do you think I should wait until after the sap runs in the spring and it starts to grow again before I release it from its "strait jacket"? I know it will spring the curves out a little bit when I release it, at least I think so. The only thing I don't like is the heal over from where I snipped out that branch that was wandering off at 90 degrees, but it seems to have healed over well and it looks lots better without it. I will probably get some wire on it to bend a couple of branches around to the sides tomorrow. It is off-balance. I'm thinking it is better to do that before the growing season starts.
I would leave it lightly jacketed with the velcro thru next season I don't think it will be truely staightened or stay that way if you take its velcro off in spring ...I would just keep loosening it a bit each month till you are sure it's to form meaning it needes to grow that way IMHO and with that velcro ( great idea btw) it should be easy to minutly loosen a bit each month and shouldn't rub the bark too badly if the soft side (loop) is towards the tree trunk ... but thats just my humble opinion such as it is ( my hunmbleness )...David
Dear humble David is right as usual in my humble opinion. You can actually leave them on quite awhile as long as they are fairly loose. I still have some birch trees velcroed and they have been in the ground 3 years.
Thanks much. I really like this velcro product for obvious reasons. It has not loosened in the rain and shows no rub marks on the bark so far. I found it in the Home Depot garden isles. I'll be purchasing more of it. It appears to be reusable, so I can always save it if so.
I'll see about a slow release later in spring, then and see how it goes, if it starts to spring back out, then I'll strap it back up again. I am of the (unsupported) belief that trees grow stronger if they are allowed to bend with the wind some, so hope to have it loosened up as soon as it seems to hold its shape. I'll definitely unbind for some photos to see how it compares to fall, it is interesting to go back and look at the series.
I have some copper wire and will give that a go on the branches. I used to call this my "bonsai" maple, and that is proving somewhat true!
There are many who believe that trees won't grow strong if they are supported. But some trees, like my 'S' shaped weeping birch slumped when someone told me that it absolutely needed to be unstaked. I'm not so much a believer anymore and realize that all trees are not created equal in that department. You've asked it to do a lot by straightening it up. But then there's no harm in checking this one. I was unable to retrieve my birch :-( It looks silly now.
I would agree with doss...it really depends on the tree it's age and condition ...natural selection takes care of MANY mishapened and wimpy trees they get blown down by winds ice storms etc...that is natures way but if you like your tree you would probably be wise to intercede as "unatural" as that may seem in order to save the tree from future and certain maiming or death ...which you have started to do...then once the tree is stable and stronger it will be strenghtened by nature not destroyed by it ...david
It's Spring, so here is the little maple "that could". I had to cut off one fairly large branch with large plain green leaves as it seemed to me to be sucking up all the energy on one side. I had a few shoots last year so I'll have to watch it. I'm hoping it gains some width this year and next.
Remember this little tree? Thought I would post it in its fall colors. I'm reshaping and mulching this bed in the very near future! It needs its fall pansies put in for some color now that the hostas are gone.