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Discussion in 'Acer palmatum cultivars (photos)' started by yweride, May 17, 2005.
Photos taken 5/15/05
I think this plant will be a small shub-like tree 3-4m tall. What is a little confusing is that the plants pictured above reresent the habit of the larger ghosts, Will D, Tiger Rose that are coming from a grower in Oregon. What confuses me is that they are all staked pretty strictly upright, where if left to their own devices, they tend to grow more horizontal. As these plants mature I suspect they will be 2-3 times wider than tall.
As for exposure, Grandma seems to take the same exposure as other similar plants. It can take sun up into the 80 degree range and over that, it needs afternoon protection. The leaves on all of the Ghosts are fairly delicate and tend to look pretty ragged if exposed to winds. So a protected location with afternoon shade would be best. If you want to see the pruple tones in the leaf, as you can see in one photo above, you will need some direct sun. I will also say that the leaves on this plant are smaller than what you see above, overall and more narrow lobes.
I am uploading some leaf photos of my plant from leaf out, 4/19/05 to some of the stongest purple color, 5/13/05.
Do you have any idea what process is being used to produce the large trees you are picturing? How old are they? Are they field grown for some period of time? Obviously, there has been some large investment in growing these large specimens and I am happy to see them as there seems to be a general void for large plants of the new more collectible introductions.
Many of our large maples, such as this 'Grandma Ghost', were stock plants for the grower or propagator. The maples are grown under the shade in a greenhouse, the shade usually produces a plant with long stringy growth, perfict for scon wood. If the plants were grown outside the cooler climet would slow the growth of the plant and less scon is avalible. In addition, lots of Apex 4-5 month is used as we have seen in many production nurserys. This makes a two inch a year dwarf grow a foot.
These big plants are nice, but they are not nearly as desirable as one to six gallon plants. People like to buy small plants and watch them grow. So, we find that it is not worth holding on to plants when they get big.
'Grandma Ghost' is usually the last in the ghost series to drop its leaves. Here is its fall color, taken 11/5/05.
Grandma Ghost like the others in the series varies greatly from one tree to another. Depending upon growing conditions and sunlight two of the same cultivar can be quite different which is also exciting. I have a sport growing on a larger Grandma Ghost that I received from Talon Buchholz. If the uniqueness of the leaf growth on this branch holds through a second season I plan on showing the maple to Talon for his thoughts. Sam
What would be the purpose of naming such a varied and ustable variety? If it is true, and I agree that all of the Ghosts as well as some other recented reticuated introductions vary a good deal, then what is achived? Secondly, does this give some insight as to how some of these plants came to be? And lastly, what will happen over time? Will the characteristics become less intense or defined over time?
I've got a passion for these maples and it is exciting for me to have new varieties and not the common field grown stock - millions of Bloodgood, Red Select, Crimson Queen and others. At most retail outlets that sell maples, especially red laceleafs that is all you may see on the tag - red laceleaf.
In my 20 years of growing and collecting maples I have sought out the unusual ones, even with variability of the ghost series, the smaller size tree with different colors and hues from one season to another brings wonder. My tastes have changed in the 20 years in Washington State. I have pulled out most of my Rhoddies and Azaleas and replaced them with maples and dwarf conifers.
I would like to recommend to collectors two of my favorites - Ukigumo and Mikawa yatsubusa. Different as night and day they make collecting maples a very worthwhile hobby and business. Thanks, Sam
Maybe you misunderstood. My question was not "what is the usefullness of the variability in the Ghosts" but "why does one named variety, like Grandma Ghost vary so much". I am well aware of the unique attaction of collectible maples and collect many of them myself. I also have the majority of the Ghost series as well as Tiger Rose and Will D and have been monitoring them for 2-3 years.
My question to you was--as a nurseryman, if one maple varies a great deal from time to time and from location to location and from plant to plant, as you prise Grandma Ghost for doing (and I do agree that it varies) then what is the usefulness of naming the variety? Isn't stability key to a varietal name? Add this to the fact it (Grandma Ghost) is very similar to Uncle Ghost--if they both vary, aren't we in a quandry? If these plants are so unstable, then what can we expect of them over time and what is the parentage that led their introduciton.
I am not insulting the plants or Talon--it is just a healthy curiosity.
You do pose a great question and it is a quandry. The variability of Japanese maples, especially the variegated ones creates confusion and beauty at the same time. I would like to share my experience with another maple - Villa Taranto. This variegated maple in the linearlilobum group can change from ordinary to magnificent and I don't know the science to understand why. For years this cultivar did not seem very popular and then a year ago, the mature specimins that I had leafed out especially beautiful and I sold every one.
Another maple with extreme variability is Ukigumo. This is one of my favorite maples when the leaf color is nearly white and yet immature plants may not display the white and pink variegation for several years and unfortunately some plants do not take on the characteristics that I love. When the leaves stay larger and solid green on a Ukigumo it is more than saying the tree reverted cause it never changed in order to revert. I'm not sure if I am making myself clear. Two other cultivars Butterfly and Beni schichihenge are both variegated and notorious for branchs that revert to a regular palmatum leaf. I prune these branches and leaves and the overall effect of the tree remains variegated. Sometimes Ukigumos never change.
I really enjoy this forum and the ability to share information with other maple collectors. I would love to know your thoughts about these issues and any others what you would like to discuss. Thanks, Sam
As not to go too far off topic, and if you would like we can start a thread somewhere else or you can email me directly---
It might be inappropriate to make too many assumptions about variegated and reticulated maples both when young and in containers, although it sounds like you might have some larger container specimens. They can react strongly to cultural conditions and practices and appear very unstable--this can happen with all maples.
My feelings stand about some of the Ghosts, but a couple of them, like Amber and Sister, really stand out. What we need to see is these plants after they have been in the ground and after they have some age on them. I am in Southern Oregon and have not had the time to visit Gaston to see Talon's plants, but it is on my list and I hope that when I am there I can see just that--some older established plants. Mine are still 5 years old or younger and in containers.
If you have any insight about how the Grandma Ghost or others were selected that would be interesting too and I look forward to your photos.
'Grandma Ghost' is just a seedling selection, the mother plant is 'aka shigitatsu sawa' the father is unknow because of the cross pollonation that occures on the nursery.
The easiest way to explain the varied habit of any plant is because it is weak. If it were not for nursery men selecting plants and grafting onto strong rootstocks we would not have these cultivars. Mother nature would not allow a 'Ukigumo' or any ghosts to be sucessful enough to regenerate naturally in the wild.
Really? Can you expand your view any further? The selected variety is "weak" and thereby has to be grafted with the support of the understock to survive? Do you include in this line of thought that it is the characteristics of each rootstock that further effects or modifies the characteristics of the "weak" plant.
While nature might not allow for the selection of this plant in the wild or its survivial, the plant can be preserved by a nurseryman or collector in a closed environment by any number of propagation methods. Grafting is only one of them. Beacuse the plant will not survive or be selected in the wild does not necessarily make it "weak", but it may require us to preserve it. It could be grown by cutting or by tissue culture and survive--correct. Furthermore, if the vigor of the rootstock is causing variability in the plant wouldn't another method of propagation be preferred? Have tissue culture trials been done with the Ghosts?
If you would consider some of these variegated/ reticulated selections weak, it there a continued need to push them with fertilizers or force their growth? Do they have trouble if they stagnate? I have a pretty good sized Will D that has had trouble in our heat here and now that the maple has stagnated some, I have been unable to get it to produce much new growth. With the stagnation has come spreading visible signs of the condition discussed in the forum known as tight bark. I also have some young grafts of multiple Ghosts that have slowed their growth dramatically and I am having trouble getting them produce new growth. I have not seen die back, but I am running out of ideas aside from patience.
For the most part I agree with your statements, though mother nature can produce some amazing plant life. Since the seeds from Acer palmatum do not always hold true to the mother plant, it has been necessary to propagate through grafting or rooted cuttings. Grafting is the preferred method. The reason that Japanese maples are highly prized and collected is because of the myriad of variations that are now commercially available. The reason they are not cheap plants is the degree of difficulty in grafting. I can speak from experience that if they were as easy as fruit trees you and I would probably not be discussing these incredible plant. Sam
Galt, I use the term weak in this case loosely. Many of the plants be love are not as strong as say a 'Boodgood'. They need special care on our part so they can be successful, i.e. shade, fertilizer, fungicides, etc. A strong plant is a fast grower, so it can compete with others, its leaves are green, so it can photosynthesize best, and so on. Donâ€™t ever expect any kind of dwarf, variegated or reticulated plant to perform as well as your 'Bloodgood'. Plants that exhibit these characteristics are natureâ€™s wimps; they do funny things and are not always reliable.
Eric, did not know yweride was you when I contributed to this thread a year ago. You are indeed a knowledgable plantsman. Sam 'The Maple Lady'
Today is another rainy cold day in the North West, but spring weather is predicted for this next weekend. 70 degrees, yahoooo. I will be at the Hardy Plant Society Plant Sale in Portland, Oregon, case any of you want to stop by.
So I went into the greenhouse and took a few photos to brighten my day. Hope you enjoy them. Sam
Beatiful, Sam!! (I would like to buy them all!)
I found this 30" tall 'Grandma Ghost' at a local hardware store in early spring this year.
It had lots of good hardy growth and a very nice form, so I figured that even if it
turned out not to be GG, it would still be a nice little tree to watch, especially for only 20 dollars. This is some of it's new summer growth. You just can't ever get tired of watching the maples change through the seasons.
Looks like you found a jewel at a hardware store. LOL. Sam
very pretty leaves in spring
here is a Grandma Ghost in a field
here is a photo of one of my Grandma Ghost with its fall color
This year i added a grandma ghost to my garden. I am really pleased with it. It is planted in a location which gives it morning sun and afternoon shade. During the summer it had a nice soft white green color. Here is is coloring up in the middle of sept 2012
Here are the pictures of Grandma Ghost which were taken on 3/12/2015, 3/16/2015, and 5/14/2015: