Unsure on my Acer!

Discussion in 'Maples' started by billyg17, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. billyg17

    billyg17 New Member

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    Doncaster, England
    Hi all,
    Myself and my partner are not 'garden people' but we fell in love with vibrant red acers! So we decided to hunt one down for the front garden. We found our favourite one slumped and in need of some TLC in the corner of a local garden centre last summer and went ahead with planting it.

    We planted it in a very large terracotta pot with a mix of top soil a multi purpose soil and added root powder. We also topped the soil with stones to prevent insects and bugs from getting into it! It's placed in the front where it see's sun for the most of the day. I regularly water it and have recently seen a few brightly coloured sprouts, but I'm left wondering am I doing this right? As the tree hasn't really shown much change and is still looking a little under the weather! Here's a picture of the said tree if anyone could give a few pointers on aiding it along/if all looks pretty normal! Thanks, much appreciated!

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  2. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Member

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    Anacortes, WA
    It is okay as it is. But the rocks thing is a waste of time. Do it only if you like the look of it. Throwing a bunch of rooting powder in the soil was also a silly waste, but it did no harm. So don't worry about it. Just save your money next time.

    Before I got into bonsai (about 10 years ago), I probably would have done something similar. A wide, but shallower pot would be better (say about 6 to 12 inches deep). Again, what you've got will be just fine for several years. Roots do not have to be in 'soil' per se. They actually do well in anything that retains water and admits air. Roots must have oxygen! This is what 'well drained soil' means --> air gets in though little spaces in the 'soil'.

    For patio trees like this, I prefer to use medium bark (small would be okay too) and top/potting soil in equal parts up to twice as much bark as soil. It holds moisture and drains superbly, IMHO. I throw a layer of the medium bark on top (instead of rocks) because it reduces moisture loss from the soil and because I think it looks nice). Again, what you've done is not a worry.

    Your tree should be more vigorous next year because it is likely mostly growing roots in that big pot. It will continue to grow vigorously for (I'm guessing) 3 to 5 years in that pot and then its vigor will start to decline because there isn't any room left for the roots to grow. You will have to 'repot' it in some way. My favorite method for patio trees is to cut around the perimeter, 4 inches (or so) in from the pot wall with a keyhole saw (just stab it into the dirt and saw around and all the way down to the bottom of the pot. Then, just dig out the perimeter soil and discard it. I just fill the space with bark and soil. Water and add/remove bark-soil mix to level the surface --> good to go for 2 more seasons. You can add fertilizer, but none is necessary. I usually toss some bark mulch on top because it reduces moisture loss from the soil and just because I like the look of it instead of rocks.

    Just water and enjoy your tree for a few years. Now you know what else you can look forward to doing with it.

    You will likely also get some other advice with different particulars. The tree roots just need water and oxygen. There are many ways of accomplishing this.

    Enjoy your tree!
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017

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