Winter protection for a weeping Japanese maple...

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by qcigardeninggirl, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. qcigardeninggirl

    qcigardeninggirl Member

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    Location:
    Queen Charlotte Islands, BC, Canada
    Our area sees minus ten Celsius once in a while and gets fierce (70-90K) winds from the northwest and southeast...and have a much valued, newly planted weeping Japanese Maple....any suggestions on winterizing? Also have some black bamboo, pampas grass, Forest Pansy redbud tree, Lithodora 'Grace Ward' that I think will need some protection. How to's?
     
  2. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Hi girl,

    If your maple is in the ground it will have no issues with -10C. But a combo of fierce wind and those temps could be trouble. I'm not sure what type of protection would hold up with wind like that. What do other gardeners do? Maybe an anti desiccant would be useful. People over on the maple/acer forum may have some answers.

    If those windy situations are once or twice a winter you might be OK w/o protection.
    Frequent heavy, sub-freezing wind is trouble for maples.
     
  3. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Do these winds coincide with very cold periods? Or are they mostly associated with stormy, rainy weather, when the temperatures are not so severe?

    As Poetry to Burn says, it's not so much the cold temps alone, or the winds alone, that would be a problem -- though very heavy winds might cause branches to snap -- but the two in combination that might spell trouble.

    I grow Japanese maples in temperatures that predictably fall below -20C, but these cold periods almost always coincide with very calm, clear, often windless nights. I live on the coast so we also get strong winds, but seldom in the coldest weather. All the maples are doing fine.

    There are a couple of threads about cold hardiness in Japanese maples, here and here.

    I'm a bit skeptical about the hardiness of black bamboo. Even when I lived in a warmer place, it always looked beaten-to-death by the end of winter. It should grow back okay from the roots, even if it's killed back, but you can easily protect it by bending the canes (gently but firmly) close to the ground and covering them with evergreen boughs -- not so deeply as to smother them, but enough to protect them from the wind. This usually keeps them green through winter. In the spring, they will spring back up again.

    The redbud should be fine. Again, heavy winds might cause weak branches to snap.

    I have no experience of pampas grass or lithodora.
     
  4. qcigardeninggirl

    qcigardeninggirl Member

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    Location:
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    Much obliged for the feedback.
    The winds here in the Queen Charlotte Islands are frequent and fierce. Not necessarily cold, but strong and last for many, many hours. I have read to put up a barrier of some sort to diflect the wind. I also have a yellow and green striped carex beneath the maple so I do not want to enclose the tree entirely with a barrier as it would no doublt effect the evergreen grass.
    I am thinking I am going to build a temporary fence on the windward sides.....
     
  5. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Good plan.

    One thing to keep in mind with a fence is that it's better to have some gaps to allow some wind to penetrate. Otherwise you get this weird turbulence effect where the air arcs over the fence and comes downward with great force on the other side. As an example, 4-inch slats with a 1-inch gap between them would break the impact of the wind on the leeward side without creating turbulence. Even a cheap pre-fabricated lattice (narrow slats fastened diagonally with square gaps between them) would have much the same effect, as long as the supporting posts are sturdy enough to keep the whole thing in place.

    You could make this a more permanent thing by rigging the fence panels in such a way that they can be removed during the growing season -- screw them in place with a few strong rust-proof screws, for example -- but firmly anchoring the posts (which might be 4x4 rot-resistant wood) and training climbing plants up these posts on the side facing away from the wind -- in effect turning a "bug" into a "feature."
     
  6. Gerall

    Gerall Member

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    Location:
    Ladysmith, BC, CA
    I am in Ladysmith, and have an 18 foot weeping Japanese maple. It survived last winter with the ton of snow, record colds, and a few damaging wind storms that took down my neighbors hudge walnut tree. I'm thinking after coming through that it will be fine.
     
  7. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    Location:
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    I have had a Maple for years,

    It sits in the middle of a clay lawn. My garden is in a line of bungalows with no protection so a wind tunnel on some days which can be pretty fierce. Granted in the UK it does not get that cold (touch wood).

    Because Maples in the main lose leaves (mine is jjust begining to) in winter the roots should be fine if established.

    I would love a weeping Maple.
     
  8. qcigardeninggirl

    qcigardeninggirl Member

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    Indeed we have some wood latice I could use....this does not have to be covered with burlap or anything? This will be enough to diflect 90K winds? Wow, that would be super....not as much an eyesore as I had originally thought...and will keep the carex underneath much healthier too!
    The winds here do put a wind chill factor of down to minus fifteen or so too.
     
  9. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    Good idea about fence and gaps Kaspian
     
  10. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Japan is an island -- or really a chain of islands, quite mountainous in places -- so I assume these trees are subject to fairly heavy winds in their native habitat (though I grant that when we're talking about specially bred and selected varieties, one can argue whether a "native" habitat really exists). You don't need to block the wind entirely, and the cold in itself should not be a problem -- the point really is to mitigate the severity of these two working together. I think lattice will work well enough.

    If this doesn't work, we can arrange to meet somewhere in the middle of the continent next spring so can slap me silly for giving bad advice.

    BTW, thanks, Katalina. You must get some serious winds now and then in your part of the world, yes? I have vivid mental images of photographs of stately old trees blown right down. One advantage of Japanese maples is that their smaller, more vulnerable branches tend to be flexible, so that they sway with the winds rather than snapping. That's how it seems to work here, anyway.

    I think we sometimes underestimate the toughness of Japanese maples because they look delicate. Obviously some types are tougher than others, but generally speaking these are hardy ancient trees that have weathered their share of meteorological insults over the centuries.
     
  11. qcigardeninggirl

    qcigardeninggirl Member

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    Location:
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    When I worked as a gardener in the Lower Mainland, BC, I found that the weeping Japanese Maple's were very on and off. Just fine one day and then one winter, they would die right off....perhaps there was some fungus was getting to them or poor drainage...but many had survived in their planting spots for many, many years and the owners would be so sad to see them die. Well, this industry keeps me humble....ever learning. Great feedback. Thank you.
     
  12. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    Oh we had tropical here on friday,

    Only damage to my one and only precious Maple was it lost a few leaves but hey, the lawn looks nice dressed in Maple leaves..hahaahah

    its the garden situ Kas thats the problem. Its on an estate, in a block so the wind is at times is quite strong and a bit of a wind tunnel as it blows in from no1 house to the last house.

    Make a great washing day for drying if you get the right speed lol
     

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