Suggestions for container Japanese maples?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Dsm1gb, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Lately for my Japanese maples I have been using only Ocean forest Potting soil, with Scott’s colored mulch on top.

    I was hoping for suggestions to further the health of my maples.

    I live in California zone 7b, some high winds at times, very dry, and hot during the summer. Cools down at night and mornings can be pretty cool.

    In this type of environment what will help hold moisture, but won’t dry up? I seem to do ok watering every 3-4 days currently with no issues as of yet.

    Thank you!
     
  2. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Member

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    I think you need to focus on sheltering your trees from wind. It sounds to me that your trees' roots are getting adequate air and moisture.
     
  3. JT1

    JT1 Rising Contributor

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    Japanese maples in pots respond well to rhizobacteria and organic based slow release fertilizer. My first and only choice is PHC Roots.
    https://www.amazon.com/Lebanon-Heal...8469588&sr=8-1&keywords=Lebanon+Healthy+Start

    Or

    PHC Healthy Start (3-4-3) 25lb.

    I have experience with many expensive fertilizers over the past decade, but the most expensive or most popular is rarely the best. PHC Roots is the only fertilizer I will recommend because of my great experience and the science behind it. It is also affordable, when comparing the quality, performance, and sustainability for long term use without risk of disease or unsustainable growth.

    (Note that many fertilizers are meant to get the most performance out of a crop for a season or in the case of ornamental trees high performance growth over a few seasons to bring a larger tree to market in the shortest time commanding higher price; all for the tree to decline over several seasons after the consumer has bought and planted it. Most don't make it through transplant or the first winter)

    Potted maples do best in morning sun and afternoon shade. They prefer cool roots, so sheltering the pot from hot sun is ideal. Avoid large areas of concrete exposed to full sun, especially afternoon sun, that will heat up in afternoon and create a micro climate of hot dry air that can lead to leaf scorch. Roots need a good balance of oxygen and moisture. Too much oxygen and roots will dry out too fast and cause leaf scorch and stress. Too much moisture will cause the leaves to scorch in the sun, roots to rot, and an environment for pathogens to thrive. Pots should offer good drainage with no dish or standing water. Tall narrow pots blow over, heat up fast, and provide surface rooting Japanese maples little room for useable root growth. Shallow pots tend to dry out, heat up, and offer little protection for roots. Soil components must offer good drainage, retain some moisture to keep roots cool and time for slow absorption, offer organic matter that does not clog pores (which limits oxygen and can lead to over saturation) or stop drainage, but can provide some long term nutrients. The variety of maple plays a role in long term success. Virtually any Japanese maple can grow in a pot, but the difference in variety can play a role in how well it grows and how easy it is to be successful long term. Regardless of all the variables good health, nutrients, and proper moisture are key. If you get it right, then it becomes easier to grow more difficult varieties in less hospitable micro climates or pots.


    More information on rhizobacteria
    Rhizobacteria has been shown to promote plant growth through a number of mechanisms.
    Through the production of hormones like cytokinins, auxins, ethylene and gibberellins which increase root expansion and plant growth. Through the production of antibiotics and antifungal compounds and forming biofilms on plant roots which protects the plant from bacterial wilt.
    The bacterium's nitrogen fixing ability (ammonia NH3) that is usable by plants from atmospheric N2 helps to promote growth of the plant via these naturally occurring forms of nitrogen by serving as a mechanism that makes it available to the roots. The production of an exopolysaccaride, which adheres to soil particles and plant roots, aids to stabilize and improve the soil structure.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
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  4. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    JT1 thank you for always replying.

    Is it too late in the season to start using one of those particular fertilizers? Personally I have never fertilized one at all yet and this could be part of my problem. Some of my maples I’ve had for 6 years.

    I have a few very healthy potted maples, but in some I notice a decline in the leaf appearance. I can post some pictures later, but for example; my 6 year old Peaches and Cream... it doesn’t like much sun it’s pretty much in full shade with some morning sun, yet I still see small dry spots very slowly creeping in from the center of the leaves. As old as it is, it is still very small, every spring it starts out great but I feel as if it starts to decline rather to quickly. I also have a Red Dawn which does fantastic in almost the same conditions, same container, same soil.

    Every maple that I buy doesn’t seem to come in potting soil, it looks like a mixture of loose mulch and other stuff I can’t really tell what it is. Since I’m not the best at creating a soil mix, or identifying different products to mix in, I just use what’s easily available and works for the time being, but looking to grow for the future of my maples.

    I’m starting to put them in the ground as they seem to do better that way with my climate, but I love having containerized maples as well.

    As far as watering goes, I try to space it out every 3 days or so, but I’m not very good at telling the difference between normal and wet. I sometimes worry about the heat, and think they want more water although most are shaded, I’m afraid of them drying out on a hot day.
     
  5. JT1

    JT1 Rising Contributor

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    Part 1/2
    Now is a great time. Both links are to the same product. Right now the listing on Amazon would be best price because they offer free shipping. It will be great for all your maples in ground or pots. We use it on all our perennials, conifers, flowering shrubs and trees through out the landscape. All love it and are so healthy and full!

    I will respond further to address your concerns in the near future.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  6. JT1

    JT1 Rising Contributor

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    Part 2/2 (continued from post above)
    Your peaches and cream, others that leaf out and don't really grow much, appear sparse with only foliage at the tips, loss of fine branches over winter and during the growing season; would all benefit from rhizobacteria contained in PHC Roots from my links above.

    You may want to consider re-potting when dormant in early Spring as the buds swell or a few weeks before they leaf out.

    Don't re-pot now. But you can act to improve the health of your maples by vertical mulching with #20 filter sand and PHC Roots fertilizer (in links from my first post).

    You will need the following:
    -Any bucket for mixing components
    -#20 filter sand, NOTE-This is NOT Play Sand. Filter sand is coarse and allows water to pass through and permits oxygen transfer to the roots. Play sand does not and is a terrible substitute! This is very important to understand. Example of #20 filter sand:
    Ace Hardware Stores | Browse for Hardware, Home Improvement, and Tools.

    -Chop stick or metal spike

    -Tripple ground pine bark (similar size as #20 filter sand, like coffee grounds)(note, if not available just use filter sand and PHC Roots)

    Mix should look like this:
    http://forums.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/attachments/img_20170611_132407647-jpg.151008/

    Here are instructions from one of my past posts:
    Vertical Mulching
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
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  7. JT1

    JT1 Rising Contributor

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    Part 3 of 3, see other two posts above

    Much of what you see in the potting mix when you buy a maple is pine bark. Most of the time it's a combination of pine bark mulch that is double ground into smooth 2/3" peices and tripple ground pine fines also known as soil conditioner consistent with coarse ground coffee. Then it branches off from that pine bark base with additives to include peat, hardwood chips, pumice stone, or coarse sand.

    Example of pine bark components:
    Mulch Manufacturing, Inc. for Landscaping
    Under pine bark on left navigation bar, click on pine bark mulch and also click on soil conditioner to see these two major components.

    I use 1 part pine bark mulch from link above. 1 part soil conditioner (enrich pine fines)
    1/2 part #20 filter sand or sharp silica sand
    1/2 part haydite bonsai blend or Espoma soil perfector as a substitute:
    https://www.espoma.com/product/soil-perfector/

    I no longer use any soil, compost, peat ect due to soil born pathogens and disease. They also limit oxygen to roots, block drainage, and can cause root rot.

    I only use PHC Roots as a fertilizer, all organic based with rhizobacteria. I never use chemical or synthetic forms of nitrogen because they lead to pest, disease, weaken the tree by using up sugars, cause salt build up in soil, and lead to unhealthy growth prone to failure.
     
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