acer palmatum unknown

Discussion in 'Maples' started by neko musume, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. neko musume

    neko musume Active Member 10 Years

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    hello,

    i picked this lovely maple out, a week ago, from a nearby nursery ( they receive all their maples from a nursery in central california ) and have been trying, ever since, to figure out which cultivar it most closely resembles. it is grafted, but i know now, thanks to all of your posts, that this could be completely irrelevant.

    i don't know how long it has been at the west los angeles location where i got it from. the temperatures there are always a few degrees cooler than the rest of los angeles, because of the marine layer that tends to hover over the area until noon, and i don't know how much that will have affected it's changes in color.

    i really like it, for it's leaves' seemingly haphazard coloration. knowing very little about japanese maples, and based solely on leaf shape, i thought it might be a chisio improved, one of which i have at home, but whose color at this time of year, looks nothing like it.

    once i got it home, and compared the two, i found that although the palmatum shape, the basic medium green color, the rounded serrated edges of the lobes, and the size of the leaves i photographed were very similar, the rest of the tree was completely different. ( in the photo, i am holding the leaf of the unknown between my fore and middle finger, and it is the only one without leaf tip burn )

    the unknown has a strong, upward habit, whose branches seem to want to gently weep at the ends. what is strange, is that the petioles, seem to want to grow parallel to the ground ( horizontally ), but whose leaves orient themselves to be perpendicular to the ground ( point downward at a 90 degree angle ). i'm including an overhead shot of this latter trait.

    of all the pictures i've seen online, the horizontal habit this most closely resembles belongs to the group whose leaves are "deeply divided". but these leaves look very much palmate to me. it was in a slightly larger than one gallon pot, so i'm assuming it has to be a couple of years old.

    also, it seems to have been under a bit of stress as there are areas of greyish white bark on the upper parts of the tree, and some of the smaller twigs look completely dry, as well as the sets of buds that are on them.

    lastly, one of the more interesting things to note, is that the upper half of the tree is a beautiful, rosy red color. not a vibrant red, but a more subdued, dark glow. one of the photos i've included shows where i removed the green tape that was binding it to the stake, and you can see the difference in color.

    i will post again when it leafs out in the spring, as i've read enough in this forum to know it may take more than a few years of consistent color and shape to be sure of what type of tree you have.

    i'd really appreciate it if anyone can tell me if any of their trees either look like this at this time of year, in color, or grow like this in habit. the vertrees 3rd edition book, as well as the nursery sites online show only perfect specimens at their particular "showtime" moments, and not what they look like the rest of the year.

    as to finding it's proper name, if it has one, i'm more interested in what i can expect from this tree in terms of growth habit, color, and how the climate i live in, will affect it. i've been fortunate that this has been a mild summer for los angeles with only a few heat waves.

    also, a belated thanks to d. mosquin and e. la fountaine and whoever else is responsible for keeping this forum running. thank you also to andre for taking over the maple gallery. it takes a few more clicks now, to see if anything new is posted there, but i like the new alphabetical approach. it's easier for me to find posts of different cultivars.

    and lots and lots of appreciation and gratitude for all of the participants, especially all the regulars.

    thank you again, so much ! ^_^

    n. musume
     

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    Last edited: Dec 9, 2005
  2. neko musume

    neko musume Active Member 10 Years

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    hello mjh,

    thank you for the reply ! i can't say for certain, that this tree came from sommer nursery in templeton, ca, because it didn't have a tag, but all the maples that do have a tag, at the nursery i bought it from, come from sommer. whew. did you understand that long-winded explanation.

    we're still having mild temperatures, upper 70's perhaps low 80's, during the day, but it's interesting to note that once a leaf starts to dry, it does so completely, within one or two days and loves to depart the tree. very unlike my nuresagi, who, ( embarassingly enough ) for months now, has had loads of dead leaves so completely dry, they rattle, but who's petioles remain unbelievably healthy and tenacious.

    it's not a big deal if i never find out what this one is. i just hope this is what i can expect it to look like every fall.

    thanks again for your help ! ^_^

    n. musume
     
  3. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    it's not a big deal if i never find out what
    this one is. i just hope this is what i can
    expect it to look like every fall.


    Here is a clue that will help you figure
    out the name of your Maple: study the
    Coral Bark Maple series and then cross
    reference to what Sommer nursery sells
    of Maples in that series.

    Stressed Maples in this series will throw
    out more of the red splashes in the Fall.
    I had two of my Maples in this series (Beni
    kawa and Japanese Sunrise) throw out red
    splashes this year and they were not stressed.
    Where your Maple is, do not count on seeing
    the red splashes every Fall. You may see the
    golden tones with some hints of red in some
    years but you will most likely see the light
    shaded golden tones and no red at all in most
    years.

    Jim
     
  4. neko musume

    neko musume Active Member 10 Years

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    wow mr. shep !

    thank you so much for the reply ! i'm sorry to have been slow to respond as i haven't been on in a few days.

    i remember reading a post where you stressed the importance of a coral bark tree's exposure to sunlight and the role that cold temperatures play, in determining whether or not a tree will reach it's potential for winter color.

    therefore, it makes perfect sense that, being a coral bark, my tree's bark has actually begun losing it's rosy hue, due, i now believe, to the increase in heat we've been experiencing the past couple of weeks here in los angeles. i was wondering why the bark had started turning a light brownish, yellow-green.

    also, i was noting with some disappointment a few days ago, that it's leaves have also lost their vibrancy in colour. the bright greens and clear reds have faded to dull brownish greens and rusts, and it's not because they are dying; as they look perfectly healthy otherwise.

    i will post photos when i get a chance to.

    i will now be able to do some homework in the proper direction, thanks to your clue, mr. shep, and will try to figure this one out.

    in any event, it's such an interesting tree. one can only hope for a proper fall season here in los angeles, to get a repeat of that beautiful coloration it had when i first received it.

    i'm wondering why a couple of your coral barks had similar splashes of color without being stressed. that must have been a welcome surprise. ^_^

    thank you again, mr. shep !

    n. musume
     
  5. KathyKKA

    KathyKKA Member

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    I am the new Japanese Maple buyer for a retail nursery in Menlo Park, CA. I hope I can help you pin down the identity of your mystery maple.

    I cannot say for certain which cultivar your maple is, but it is definitely one of the many coral bark types. Among the possibilities are 'Sango kaku', 'Beni kawa', 'Fjellheim', and 'Winter Flame'.
    Of these, Sommer Wholesale Nursery grows all but 'Winter Flame'.
    Two other possible Central California grower are Van's or Hollandia, both out of Modesto. Of the cultivars mentioned above, they both only sell 'Sango kaku'.

    The difference between the cultivars are subtle:
    'Sango kaku', the classic Coral Bark Japanese Maple, is the tallest, 25-30 feet, with periodic growth spurts of 6-8 feet per year (usually more like 2-3 feet).
    'Beni kawa' is a bit shorter, 13-20 feet. Beni holds onto it's coral coloration year round in the San Francisco Bay Area, and tends to be a very dark coral-red.
    'Fjellheim' is the smallest, only 5-10'. As it originated as a witches' broom of 'Sango kaku', you can expect it to have very dense twigs & branches.
    'Winter Flame' is another smaller cultivar, only 10-12 feet. It's leaves are more deeply divided than 'Sango kaku'.

    Since the growth in your photos seems to be rather open, you can probably eliminate 'Fjellheim' from consideration.

    I hope this information helps.
     
  6. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I am the new Japanese Maple buyer for a retail nursery
    in Menlo Park, CA. I hope I can help you pin down the
    identity of your mystery maple.


    Welcome to the UBC Maple forum! I am pleased you
    know of Van's and Hollandia nurseries in Modesto. The
    nicest and the cleanest 5 gallon Garnet's I've seen to
    date were at Abe's nursery in Modesto. I hope they are
    still that good. Also, I might add that they were the
    right plant when so many of the Garnets sold are actually
    Inaba shidare instead.

    n. musume, your Maple does indeed have a name. The
    original form is actually a dwarf that will get around 4
    feet tall and then grow wider than tall after that. I know
    the form of this Maple for two reasons, I know who the
    nursery got this Maple from and I know how the source
    nursery obtained it. I brought this one in from Oregon
    in 1986 to the source nursery. The "other" nursery got
    this Maple in 1996.

    Splashes versus streaking: the red you are seeing is
    more than a splash but this Maple will do that when
    stressed a little here. In some leaves we will see the
    red streaking and on occasion some more intensely
    colored splashing in the Fall colors, so I guess my use
    of the term splashes that we can see here when this
    Maple is given lots of sun needed to be clarified..

    Jim
     
  7. graftedmaplecollector

    graftedmaplecollector Active Member 10 Years

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    My standard sangu is just like that. Last year it was all yellow with some lime-yellow.
    This fall it's covered with light cherry-red leaves. Really nice actually, doesn't seem stressed either.
     
  8. neko musume

    neko musume Active Member 10 Years

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    kathy, thank you so much for your detailed, insightful information. and yes, it is very helpful and it drastically narrows the search to have such first hand knowledge on nurseries and their inventory.

    i think more than anything, i'm especially pleased that it is a coral bark. it will be especially interesting to compare the habits and colours of this new one, to the one
    that i purchased as a sango kaku.

    like grafted maple collector pointed out about his, the fall color on my sango kaku leaves were and are, variations on yellow and light green/yellow. but, unlike his, mine have never turned any shade of red.

    and thank you again, mr. shep, for letting me know a little of the history of this one ! i'm always amazed by your limitless knowledge on the subject of japanese maples, and all the changes that they've gone through in the past few decades since being brought into california. i'm looking forward to seeing this one's habit and shape as it matures.

    thank you all again for taking the time to reply! i will post photos of the faded color of the leaves as soon as i get a chance. just so you can see the effects of warm fall weather on them.

    ^_^

    n. musume
     
  9. KathyKKA

    KathyKKA Member

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    Hello Neko,
    Regarding the quality of color change in 'Sango kaku', mine at home rarely goes past golden yellow, occasionally into a very soft orange if we get particulary cold (rare in my neck of the woods). Mine is situated in a northeast exposure, and relatively close to my home (sheltered & insulated).

    In the nursery, however, I see 'Sango kaku's' in a kaliedescope of color ... yellow, deep gold, apricot, orange, and occasionally into glowing red. These maples are in far more exposed situations, and being in containers, their roots get much colder.

    If I think about it Monday, I'll take my camera to work and photograph the only one still with some foliage (it's very impressive).

    The thing to keep in mind with all Japanese maples and fall color is that the more exposed they are to the elements, the more they tend to color up. Plants in containers experience colder roots, usually resulting in more color change. Sadly, however, the foliage may not always look its best by fall because container plants are more prone the afflictions related sun and wind, as well as the poor watering technique of their masters (us).

    I hope this helps.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    >In the nursery, however, I see 'Sango kaku's' in a kaliedescope of color ... yellow, deep gold, apricot, orange, and occasionally into glowing red.<

    Any possibility these were raised from seed?
     
  11. KathyKKA

    KathyKKA Member

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    No, they are all grafted onto species palmatum rootstock.
     
  12. neko musume

    neko musume Active Member 10 Years

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    hello kathy,

    thank you for pointing out the vulnerablility of roots in potted plants, in relation to temperature. i honestly never thought of the role they play in a plant's fall color, as i live in los angeles, a place that isn't known for it's freezing winter temperatures.

    all of my plants are in pots, and when it came to roots, i was focused solely on making sure they got enough water and proper drainage, and not how the cold or excessive heat, would affect them.

    i will now be more aware of matters other than the exposure of my leaves to the elements and perhaps, that will help me have a better show for fall foliage next year.

    thank you again ! ^_^

    n. musume
     
  13. KathyKKA

    KathyKKA Member

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    I had to update 'Sango kaku' & fall color. I was pruning a client's tree today that is a wonderful mix of bright golds, apricots, and oranges. The coral coloration of twigs & bark was well on it's way to winter beauty.

    Her tree is in a more exposed place in her yard than mine, getting full sun in the summer, and no radiant heat from the house in the winter.

    As stated before, mine is more protected, and with only morning sun ... still only showing yellow into soft golds. Twigs look good, but older bark is still pretty green.
    This may change with the cold spell we've had in Palo Alto this past week. Brrrr.

    I've also taken pix of the colorful specimen at the nursery ... when I have time to figure out how to post them, I will do so.
     
  14. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Here is a little background that may help and
    it may confuse people. The true Japanese form
    of Sango kaku will turn some reds in the Fall.
    Generally, these were leaves that had become
    pleached with hot weather and the pleaching
    in this particular case on this Maple looks like
    an iron and a zinc deficiency working in
    combination with each other as they will look
    on many other plants with the tell tale chlorosis
    and the shrinking down of the leaf size (little
    leaf is what the zinc deficiency is universally
    known as).

    The second form of Sango kaku to come in from
    Japan in 1968 will not turn reds at all in the Fall,
    even in most areas of Oregon. It was this form
    that is shown in the Vertrees 2nd edition book in
    which we get even gold tones here with rose-pink
    Fall colored petioles with no orange in the leaves
    unless we get some sustained cold and then the
    leaves can turn a light orange but an even shade
    of orange on the exterior portions of the leaves
    with some gold tones held more toward the centers
    of the leaves, with no flecking of other colors.

    In the early to mid 80's a new form of Sango kaku
    came into the wholesale market out of Oregon that
    has red colored bark and twigs as opposed to coral
    of Sango kaku. We first took notice of the coloring
    in the bark and then we looked at the leaves to know
    what we were seeing with this Maple. Sango kaku
    will have two color leaves, some are a medium to
    light green and other leaves are a yellow green but
    this other Maple had medium green leaves rather
    similar to Beni kawa that we had in the nursery but
    our form of Beni kawa that came in from Japan in
    1977 was a dwarf Maple. The form we saw were
    15 foot tall fifteen gallon sized plants with the
    medium green leaves so we had to investigate what
    Maple this one was as we knew it was not either
    form of Sango kaku we had in the nursery, nor was
    it Beni kawa that we also had. We later determined
    there was a second form of this same Maple and it
    was that one that I brought in from Oregon, the
    same one that Neko now has.

    In Oregon there was a seedling from a cutting grown
    Sango kaku that was indeed grafted as the seedling
    had more vigor when young than either form of
    traditional Sango kaku had. This selected seedling
    can turn some red in the Fall but it had predominately
    gold and orange tones and blends of gold and orange
    as Fall colors here but in Palo Alto and let's say near
    the V.A. Hospital or the Stanford Medical Center
    also can have some red mixed in with the Fall colors.
    Most nurseries carry the seedling now and since it
    came about from a cutting grown plant it can be called
    Sango kaku in the nursery trade and it has been since
    around 1985. This form now has become the industry
    standard. I see the seedling in almost every nursery
    I venture into nowadays.

    Jim
     
  15. graftedmaplecollector

    graftedmaplecollector Active Member 10 Years

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    Mine went all yellow last year, and this year was mostly cherry-red with some yellow.
    My leaves come out and stay lime-green until fall. I've never had orange fall color or dark green summer color.
     
  16. neko musume

    neko musume Active Member 10 Years

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    mr. shep,

    thank you so much for the history on not just my tree, but sango kaku in general. i find that the background of some of these maples are just as complex and fascinating as the trees themselves.

    knowing this, plus some of the comments and observations that you previously posted regarding the effects of climate and geography on sango kaku, really helps to explain such great variances in this particular cultivar.

    as to the confusing part, at what point do all these slight differences constitute an entirely different tree, and which form is supposed to be considered the standard. i know this question was brought up in a couple of other threads regarding other cultivars and i don't envy anyone this decision.

    as for myself, it is simply reassuring to know that it is normal for a sango kaku to exhibit more changes in appearance than is explained in books and websites.

    since the beginning of december, we've finally begun having consistent cooler weather here, where days are mid 60's and nights are mid 40's.

    i will post photos if the leaves change color yet again before dropping, and will take note of the bark color also.

    to grafted maple collector: please post some photos of your tree prior to leaf drop if you have any. i see you have one posted in the maple gallery that shows both the growth habit and the color of your sango kaku at five years old.

    in fact, having just recently looked through the photos in the gallery posted under sango kaku there, i see a great deal of variance in both leaf shape and color.

    thank you again, mr shep ! your knowledge is very much appreciated ! ^_^

    sincerely,

    n. musume
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2005

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