Largosmom's Japanese Maples

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Here are pics of my maples, starting with my bloodgood "baby".

I will post several shots from different angles so that as they grow or get pruned, we can see the differences. First a current photo from 2006. This one is a bit of an overhead shot.

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Here is my photo from 2005. Notice I had to take off one half of the tree, one branch died over winter and it budded out very late, so I was worried it had all died.

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Back to 2006

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

another 2006

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Last 2006.

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.

I don't fertilize these.

Laura

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Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

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.

St. John's, NL(Zone 5b)

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.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Love the 'intensive gardening' idea. I would be out of luck if I didn't plant under my maples. The idea of rocks is very interesting. Thanks Todd.

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

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.

Laura

Springfield, IL(Zone 6a)

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

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

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.


This message was edited May 27, 2006 2:59 PM

Springfield, IL(Zone 6a)

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

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

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.

Laura

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Laura, it will send up a new leader straight up. You don't really need to straighten it. You can prune it into shape and pick a new leader later.

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

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.

Laura

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Next one....

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Last one:

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Thanks for the info, I'll try and be patient! I will probably put it in the ground next year if it grows enough.

Laura

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Viridis is a very pretty Patio tree. Find something to put the pot on so it can drape past it's pot onto the ground.

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

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.

Laura

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Current year pics:

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

next one:

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

This is the last one.

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Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

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.

Springfield, IL(Zone 6a)

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

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

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.

Laura

Springfield, IL(Zone 6a)

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 !!!!

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

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?

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

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.

Laura

Springfield, IL(Zone 6a)

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

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

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

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

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.

Can't wait for the photo.

Springfield, IL(Zone 6a)

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

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

"my experience is they are more like weeds than trees"...... I find that too David.

And thanks for the info on the sealant.

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

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.

Number One:

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Number 2 pic

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Number 3 pic

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Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

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.

Laura

This message was edited Jul 9, 2006 9:05 PM

Thumbnail by largosmom
Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Looks good, Laura,
What a great thing to use nylons to tie up trees. It's a really good idea.

Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

They are soft, and stretch as the tree grows. They will last a year, at least, but do get brittle eventually. My Grandmother used them on anything that needed tying up, tomatos, flowers, whatever.

Laura

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