Acer palmatum 'Buyer Beware'

Discussion in 'Maples' started by amazingmaples, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    I have been excited about japanese maples for several years. In that time I have bought a coupe thousand trees. Of the trees I have purchased, I have found there are varieties that have reoccuring issues.
    I thought it would be helpful information for all if there was a thread which lists trees with issues and gave a brief discribed of the difficulties with these cultivars. Some of the main issues with these trees can be; growth habit, reversion, branch loss and or worst death.
    More specifics of the causes and cures can be discused on the thread about the listed tree. This thread is more for the buyer who just wants to know what is a risky tree to buy.
    I do hope everyone can provide us with a little history of their experinces with 'Buyer Beware' trees.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  2. sasquatch

    sasquatch Active Member

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    Here in Oregon, I have trouble with my corallinum, especially when we get alot of spring rain. This year, both of my corallinum started out looking great, but have lost 70% of their leaves by now, due to mold and other moisture issues. I placed one in the shade and the other in full sun to see if this helped, but to no avail.

    Also, I have bought 3 youngRed Spiders over the past 2 years. All 3 have died within 3 weeks of purchase. They look great one day, and the next day, they die, and all the leaves dry out while still attached to the stem. I asked the nursery if they have ha complaints from other customers, but they claim that no one else has mentioned any troubles with Red Spider.
     
  3. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    A case by case basis is probably best for determining
    which cultivars are more or less likely to do well for
    us. Some cultivars have a history of just not lasting
    long for most people. I've touched a little on this with
    Filigree and Silver Lace. Beni shidare variegated as
    an example is very lucky to live for 15 years for most
    people. Many of the reticulated Maples such as
    Shigitatsu sawa, either the light or dark forms, have
    historically been a real difficult plant to sustain for
    long periods of time. I know of one grower that feels
    fortunate that his in ground plants can live up to 15
    years, perhaps 7-10 years old when first planted in
    the ground.

    Many of the unusual bark Maples just do not live long.
    Even Ibo nishiki and the choice Pine bark Arakawa sho
    on their own roots can be troublesome plants to sustain
    in arid and windy areas. Even when permanently grown
    as container plants under 50% shade cloth, warm
    afternoon winds can really chew these Maples up.
    Juvenile plants seem to do well but when these Maples
    get around 15 years old they start to really decline
    in their overall growth rate with old wood being
    decimated rapdily and little new growth wood
    to replace the loss of the old wood - does this on
    their own naturally. Then if we add in V. alboatrum,
    internal Pseudomonas and external Tight Bark we
    can see some individual plants never make it up to
    10 years old for a lot of people and this has been
    going on for over 50 years.

    Any more Maples that are free, no visible signs,
    of fungal and bacterial diseases is what we should
    strive to select for our collection and landscape
    plants. I've been a proponent for some time about
    the use of standardized rootstocks, rather than any
    old green or red seedling. Specialized rootstocks
    at one time were very important to help sustain
    these plants over time and the nurseries that
    learned this or were aware of it are the ones
    most apt to grow and sell Maples that can live
    longer as a landscape tree. This is one of the
    reasons why I want to see stock plants and
    adult plants when I visit a wholesale nursery.
    I want to know which of their Maples have
    done well for them over time and of course
    learn which Maples have not done well for
    them. Seeing juvenile trees (7-12 year olds)
    allover the place does not excite me that
    much but seeing 20 year olds on the nursery
    premises will. For a lot of the new named
    Maples there aren't any 20 years olds yet
    and sometimes there is a reason for this
    other than the Maple is too new to be that
    age. There are a few Maples that are pretty
    plants when young and popular now with
    newbies and relative beginners in Maples
    that just will not make it up to 20 years of
    age for most people. In a few years we
    will be able to read several horror stories
    about them and much of it will be due to
    fungal and bacterial diseases already in
    the plant. Some areas will not have the
    decimation of wood as soon as other
    areas will but as a caution in cooler
    areas we may not see the incidence
    of Tight Bark as soon as warmer areas
    will and the difference maker is simply
    this, in warm climates we have some
    time to do something about it but in
    cooler areas once the symptoms are
    seen it will be too late to try to help the
    plant. In other words the sudden loss
    potential is greater in a cooler climate.
    A lot of adult trees over the years have
    died out not from Verticillium wilt as
    was feared but from apical and lateral
    shoot tip dieback and subsequent
    stress enhanced branch wilt that
    if not pruned out can kill a tree in a
    cooler climate in two years or less.
    We have up to three years to try
    to save the tree in a warmer climate
    as MJH will see and has already
    learned being in Medford or J.D.
    Vertrees in Roseburg compared
    to the same trees grown in cooler
    and wetter areas of Oregon in which
    water mold fungi in the ground and
    in potting soils is a problem until
    Summer. Also, in cooler areas of
    Oregon, the root weevil dilemma
    becomes even more of an issue.
    Combine this insect with the
    prevalent Phytophthora water mold
    fungi and we have a brimming recipe
    for disaster with Verticillium alboatrum
    already in the plant. Sometimes it is
    a wondrous thing how the plant manages
    to live at all in spite of us. Combine all
    of the above with substandard rootstocks
    that are highly susceptible to Pseudomonas
    infection and double the incidence problem
    from using Pseudomonas infected scion
    wood we have a plant that almost certainly
    is not going to live long [ask arboretums and
    botanical gardens in the Pacific Northwest
    what has happened to their palmatum type
    Maples over the years that were there in
    the 80's and 90's that are not there now]
    - what I refer to a nursery selling a guaranteed
    dead plant.

    Jim
     
  4. emery

    emery Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Great post. I view non-standard (random seed grown) root stock as the #1 issue in the grafted maple business. Even putting aside health issues, how can a vigorous plant attain large size on a weak and small-growing root stock, or a dwarf retain characteristics if the understock is fast growing and busy pumping energy into it?

    As for pseudomonas infected stock, indeed these are guaranteed dead. Many of the inexpensive liner plants seem to be of this ilk.

    As for problem children, I always tell people to avoid Sango kaku and favor instead the somewhat similar Eddisbury. I noticed many have problems with Taylor.

    But for sure any plant on infected root stock will have nothing but problems.

    -E
     
  5. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    Number one tree on my list

    Kandy Kitchen - I have owned several and all have died. The last one had been in the ground in the same location for a few years when this spring it found its way to the burn pile.

    Winter Flame - it is another tree which I have had die more often.

    Johnnies Pink - I have had nothing but poor results with this tree.

    Corallinum - They live but seem to have issues keeping leaves on al of the plant. For a short time of the year, it looks great but most of the year it looks beat up.

    Shaina & Aratama - both of these trees can do great but them with show up with loads of dead wood, sometimes i have seen large sections of dead wood on the tree.
     
  6. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Did all of the trees originate from the same
    growing source? Herein is a problem issue
    for me as what I'd write in an online forum
    about a grower I know and what I may write
    or tell someone one on one in private may
    very well be two different things.

    How old were the plants that had problems?
    Then again all of these Maples have had
    issues over the years, although a couple
    of them have not been around long to
    be more authoritative about how widespread
    the problems have been for people. The
    other issue is that we cannot compare
    two and three year olds with five and
    seven year olds and older. As an
    example I've only had a two year
    grafted Johnnie's Pink since 2004,
    so in effect my tree is now roughly
    eight years old. An acceptable five
    gallon plant still but way too small
    for an acceptable fifteen gallon Maple.
    It is the right age to go into the ground
    and yes, there is an issue with Tight
    Bark, that is also in the rootstock
    this Maple was propagated onto.
    That is the fault of the grower, not
    so much the Maple itself but then
    again what I perceive as the parent
    plant from which this Maple came
    about from has a history of Tight
    Bark and an abundance of alboatrum
    in its system. So, as long as we
    keep this Maple in a vigorous growing
    state and not let it go stagnant in the
    ground we have a chance to see it
    get up to 20 years and more in age
    but with Tight Bark in the rootstock
    my tree will be quite lucky to last
    another seven years for me. My
    Japanese Sunrise from the same
    grower source is doing the same
    thing and also has Tight Bark in
    the rootstock.

    Corallinum depends on the source
    as descendant plants from Hillier
    and plants that came in from a
    nursery in New Zealand have held
    up well enough but when those
    plants were grafted onto substandard
    rootstock they have been short lived
    plants in a landscape.

    I am sorry to say that both Shaina and
    Aratama are loaded with Verticillium
    alboatrum
    and with any Tight Bark
    in the plants system also, along
    with any stress we have two very
    short lived trees for us. The only
    way to clean these plants up is to
    go back in and find a standardized
    rootstock for them.

    Emery, I agree that Eddisbury in Europe
    is a much better and longer living tree in
    a landscape than most Sango kaku are.
    The more adaptable and better growing
    Sango kaku around here is actually a
    selected seedling that is best left on its
    own roots but even then most people
    are going to graft it and without a clean
    feet source rootstock we have lessoned
    the number of years we will have this
    Maple.

    Jim
     
  7. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have had problems with selections where leaves contain a lot of pink and/or white and little or no green. This lack of chlorophyll makes those plants somewhat weak and prone to catch all kind of diseases and be easy prey for pathogens. For these, when a branch greens out, I tend to keep it in order to better feed the roots. I admit that, sometimes, it is not pretty but the survival of the plant is at stake. The palmatums 'Beni kosode' and 'Taylor' are two that come to mind, but there are others.

    Gomero
     
  8. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    I agree with Gomero about Beni kosode. I have heard some reputable growers are giving up with
    this plant. Does anyone have a "big" Beni kosode, say 10-12 ft tall? I find that Beni has lots of sudden twig die back
    (like Charlie finds with his witches brooms) and leaf browning/drop.
     
  9. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    If I had a bit more time, space, and money I would have a "three strikes" rule meaning that if a plant from at least two different sources failed for me three times I would give up on it. As it stands I have a "two strikes" rule. Although no cultivar has technically met this criteria, there are some that are close. I know it's common, but acer shirasawanum aureum has been a losing battle for me. The red barks that I have had in st. louis (sango kaku, and beni kawa) are an excercise in winter dieback frustration. Although my second toyama nishiki seems to be doing fine, something about this cultivar just makes me nervous. My issues with ukigomo coloration are detailed in another thread. I would encouge, however, relative newcomers like myself to give a cultivar at least two shots: Orange Dream comes to mind - a spectacular failure the first go round, but the second time has produced one of my best trees.
     
  10. Maple Sydney

    Maple Sydney Member

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    It's a relief to hear that so many experienced growers can also have Japanese Maples die on them!
     
  11. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have realized that my perception and reality of maples has changed a great deal in the nearly 10 years I have been collecting. I can't say I have added a maple in the 3 years since our son has been born and I have spent my maple time just tending (and not very well in some stretches). It has been sparse, but a bit of watering and fertilizing and pruning, without blind desire for more plants has allowed me to step back and find out what having a collection of potted maples means and what direction I might take in the future.

    I have recently began a large and overdue repotting venture and in the spirit of this thread, I decided that I would start with the best, largest, healthiest and most prized maples and work my way down through the collection. It was funny to me that I was finally able to put some of the emotion aside and start grouping them....finally there was a group that formed a discard pile--those trees that are still living, but that I no longer wish to fight with--that are certain to die and not gracefully. It was no longer about quantity and names, but fine a way to make a little peace with the vast expanse of plants that had tormented me for a number of years......

    So many of the trees that are reaching the 7 to 10 year old mark, potted all their lives, are shutting down a bit. They put out less and less growth each year and fail to recover from the heat and cold. Wood loss and tattered appearances rule the group. I have not pushed these maples in quite a few years now and it shows.

    Enough with the self-indulgence, Some of the strongest, oldest and most beautiful maples I have are, Kamagata, Oregon Butterfly, Shaina, Yuri hime, Ryuzu, Hupp's Dwarf, Wabito, Wou nishiki, Kiohime, and a few others......all the rest, well, they just aren't quite as pristine.

    I guess the moral of the story for me is that after a while, the beautiful strong-growing plants in the collection really come to mean something special. You get a little soured on trying new plants, and I have just decided to enjoy what I have for a while and continue to observe and learn.

    Thanks for the space to reflect a little......
     
  12. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thank you for writing this. It helps me understand some of my own thoughts and consider the future of my own collection. I'll be repotting/root and branch pruning this season, and really cannot add anything anymore, just take care of what I have. Efforts need to be concentrated there, and realistically, too, especially for the container trees. Last year I took pruning more seriously, with good, beginning results. This year I hope to take that further. There are a couple of cultivars that I have tried to grow more than once that I will likely give up on, too.
     
  13. kaydye

    kaydye Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Interesting posts. As I read them, I was also curious to see what region growers were from because (as always with gardening) what is growing poorly for one may be doing well for another. For example, my Johnny's Pink was growing so vigorously in a container that I decided to plant it in the ground. Plus, it wasn't that outstanding, colorwise, except early in the spring. So then that opens the "can of worms" question, do I really have Johnny's Pink? Another one mentioned above that for me is really vigorously is Corallinum. It has been in a container for four years now. I have a notation that it needs "good drainage" so there is another issue with longevity, siting of the tree.

    I have a couple I stuck in the ground that have been dying slowly in containers...Tsuma gaki I've had for 5 years in a container and it looks terrible each year, plus dies back some each year.
    Kurui jishi is like the shrinking maple. Although, now that I stuck it in the ground it's putting on all kinds of new growth...figures.

    So then think about it, we have the issue of substandard grafts, soil properties, pests and diseases, worldwide regional issues (I mean, look at these posts and where we are all living), cold/hot/dry winds/moist, rainy conditions. When you think about it, it's a miracle any survive to 20 years. And those that do may not even be the correctly named cultivars we think they are. Maybe we should look for a different tree:) Just kidding of course.

    Kay
     
  14. mattlwfowler

    mattlwfowler Active Member Maple Society

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    All good points made here. I have had consistent problems with the coral bark maple group, particularly sango kaku (although I have seen at least a couple "sango kaku" that are clearly different, but all of them have shown psueomona problems). Circinatums have been problematic for me here in the southeast...pacific fire and monroe. Most witches brooms have had some problems for me. Particularly aratama and baby lace show die back after winter, but can grow very vigorously in the summer to recover. Red filigree lace can be difficult.
     
  15. Goshiki4me

    Goshiki4me Member

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    I have recently had some problems with Goshiki Shidare reverting back to a plain bronze green color. Also the ghost varieties have a hard time keeping any kind of a nice appearance after their initial spring flush. With the exception of Sister Ghost, which seems to look great all summer.
    I have also completely given up on Hanami Nishiki. Very problematic variety with serious die back issues.
    Baby Lace has done extremely well for me. I purchased my stock plant from Eastfork Nursery. Sam seems to have had trouble with it as well and I believe she no longer sells it.
    This variety MUST be grown more. I have some 2 year old Baby Lace trees that are 2ft tall with a dozen healthy branches. My 1 and 2 year olds seem to continually flush new growth all summer.
     
  16. mattlwfowler

    mattlwfowler Active Member Maple Society

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    Baby lace is one of those that grows like wild during the summer, but sometimes fails to harden off for winter. I also suspect it has a tendency to outgrow it's root system...perhaps it diverts too much energy in growth buds while failing to put enough in the root system. The result is a rootstock that is more succeptable to root rot pathogens and winter injury. I think you can loosely apply this to other witches brooms in maples and other plants in general, but I'm no biologist.
     
  17. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    There is something about many of the dwarfs which cause us misery. Tiny Tim is one I love but it seems to always have die back. This year I got a large Abigail Rose and a large Squitty which are very similar. The Squitty had issues growing this season while the Abigail Rose did great. I have also found that climate has a huge impact. I bought three 20 plus year old Shaina which came from one nursery. One of the three went to a friends house while it was still dormant. It was the biggest healthest looking. He lives in a little colder spot due to our little micro climates and sure enough his suffered sever dieback while the other two suffered very little which was somewhat expected due to the fact they had been dug out of their 20 year home. I guess it is hard to figure out most of the causes due to to many different factors for each location.
     
  18. marymyers

    marymyers Active Member Maple Society

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    Fjellheim! Have had two, from different growers. After two years in the ground, both just dropped there leaves and died. I loved this one in my collection, but wary of giving it another try.
     
  19. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I agree, I have given up on Fjellheim too

    Gomero
     
  20. Atapi

    Atapi Active Member

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    Dear Charles et all,

    Very useful and interesting aspect that you shared here. I have learned a lot from all of your posts and i would like to add one more small comment here that have been in my mind after reading your thread.

    I agreed that wellness of the trees are depend on where they came from but also how they have been taking care of. And i am looking forward to some ideas about the region where the trees are planted i.e. climate, temp., rain/sun, soil...
    I am from Virginia thus some of the trees that are growing fine here doesn't mean they are fine at Oregon/Washington state/Tennesse... So if you all can share more insights for the wellness of these JMs per state/region, I would greatly appreciated.
    Steve
     
  21. brierphoto

    brierphoto Active Member

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    Shaina is the only one I've lost for evidently no reason, and I suspect it's a witches' broom issue much like everyone else thinks.

    I have some "delicate" maples that, much to my delight, actually seem fairly hardy. Toyama nishiki, a tiny little shigitatsu-sawa, and my baby lace. The baby lace was one of the first ones I purchased- it's grafted onto a horribly tall rootstock so it's really an odd looking little plant, but it just keeps going.
     
  22. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    I have seen very large Baby Lace in Oregon but I have seen where in no time the will just die. Many of the neew dwarf cultivars are best suited in a greenhouse. Any sever weather change can destroy them.
     
  23. marymyers

    marymyers Active Member Maple Society

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    Charlie,

    Your baby lace is the best one I have ever seen. Is it still doing well. In fact you have the most beautiful maples ever. Really enjoyed visiting last October.
     
  24. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Well it is alive and doing well but it sits under a large eave next to the house so it is very well protected from any elements. I did buy a large one this year but due to a mix up in shipping it was not put on my truck. Maybe I will see it in one of this next year's loads. I saw a really large Baby Lace in a 45gallon pot. it might come available this year. There are a few larger than it but not by much.
    You need to see my place this year. It us stuffed
     
  25. marymyers

    marymyers Active Member Maple Society

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    I just have a little 3 year old Baby Lace. Your beautiful speciman encouraged me to try this little baby. Seeing your maples was defineatly the highlight of the 2012 Maple Society tour. Especially enjoyed meeting your wonderful parents. Hope to see you in North Carolina this year.
     

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