Acer seedling care; pseudosieboldianum seed source

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Calvin_yxe, Jun 26, 2022.

  1. Calvin_yxe

    Calvin_yxe New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm brand new to this forum, although I've been admiring the gorgeous photos here for many years. Hopefully you won't mind a relatively newbie's questions regarding some very 'basic' and non-named cultivars.

    I live in the frigid prairies (Saskatoon, SK) and have been endlessly envious of the climate of the pacific northwest, but alas, this is home. My hope is to grow a few tender acer species in large containers that will be moved into a 5C winter dormancy area during the harsh winters. I have some questions about seedling care.

    I received some acer seed last fall from a mix of sources (freshly collected by a friend as well as some sent in from a BC seed supplier) and stratified a few batches. The seed supplier seed was stratified for 2 months and then grown on indoors under lights in February. I had good germination of acer palmatum and circinatum, nothing from pseudosieboldianum. Unfortunately, my conditions indoor under lights must have been suboptimal, because after an initial burst of growth, they didn't seem to do great. Eventually by the time I got them outside, they were looking pretty rough:
    IMG_5735.jpg

    Are these seedlings toast? They've looked like this for about 3-4 weeks. I'm not familiar enough with the life cycle to know whether these are worth keeping. The stems seem turgid, but I can't tell if they're alive. Is lack of any further growth progress this season a sign that they're not worth keeping?

    IMG_5736.jpg
    Related to the prior question, this is one of the circinatum seedlings which initially grew well, but has stalled. I see some bud swelling but again, not familiar enough to know whether lack of further growth this season is a sign that I should just give up and chuck these guys.

    IMG_5734.jpg
    The timing of emergence from stratification was much better for these guys, and they seem to be doing well. I am learning that emerging the seed from the fridge around the time our temperatures are above zero appear to be the best strategy, compared to keeping them indoors only to shock them when they go outside (I did harden them off but with minimal effect).

    My other completely unrelated question: I have been searching desperately for acer pseudosieboldianum after discovering that it can be grown with some degree of success in our city. It is the closest thing to acer palmatum that I can get, and I've become possessed with a sort of unholy energy to grow this tree. Here is an example of a specimen someone sent me, growing in Saskatoon:
    290519894_10108955445856792_4697980194301516176_n.jpg

    I have a potential supplier in Edmonton, but I'm trying to explore all options. I'm leery of buying seed from that previous seed supplier, given the lack of germination. I'm wondering whether anyone here might have fresh seed in the fall that they'd be willing to send, as well as any leads on 1) propagation success stories 2) suppliers of this species in Canada.

    Much thanks,
    Calvin
     
  2. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Calvin,

    Thanks for asking your questions here on the forum, and I hope it's the beginning of even more participation. Let me see if I can briefly address some of your issues.

    For the seedlings, I think they will be OK, but you need to stop watering as much. Since they've only got small root systems, they don't need much. The first two pictures show all the signs of being too wet. The good news is, they have a good chance of being fine, even if there are no more leaves this year and they just crawl along. Many times seedlings don't really grow at all during the first year. You could get them into better draining medium now, or wait for fall. I'm about to move a tray of seedlings into individual tiny pots -- remember to use very small pots or godet with young seedlings, so there's no stagnant water left where the roots cant get to it -- though many would say it's better to wait until fall; I don't agree, but that probably has more to do with my local conditions than anything else.

    I don't have any pseudosieboldianum seed this year, otherwise I would offer to send you some. Mine comes true maybe half the time, and that brings up an important point: garden sourced seed is _usually_ hybrid, especially from the maple Section Palmata (including the Korean Maple, pseudosieboldianum). So it's notoriously unreliable, and you might get something that looks a lot like pseudosieboldianum but isn't very hardy. Further, even with wild provenance seed, the source location is very important when it comes to hardiness. Seed collected at altitude on a snowy Korean mountain is likely to be much hardier than seed collected in a northern valley with mild winters.

    WRT germination, it isn't a great germinator. Dirr suggests that 3 months cold stratification produces "good" germination, which I'd randomly define as above 50%, but my experience is much worse. Of course if seed isn't fresh, or wasn't collected at the optimal time, results will be even worse.

    Have you looked into the Iseli "Jack Frost" series? These are pseudosieboldianum hybrids developed and selected over a 40 year period for the express purpose of cold hardiness. I don't know if any of these would work for you, but worth a try. Otherwise I urge you to check on the source of any pseudosieboldianum you buy, and to avoid grafted trees: they will be on palmatum understock, which will freeze before the top, but the top will end up just as dead. I've had the misfortune to run into tender understock problems many times.

    Hoping this helps, cheers. -E
     
  3. Calvin_yxe

    Calvin_yxe New Member

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    Thank you for the excellent and detailed reply!

    I had a suspicion that seed might not come true. Any opinion on softwood cuttings? I’ve done a little bit of research and it sounds like it’s overall tricky but not impossible. I will do some more reading.

    The Iseli Jack Frost series are borderline here - one nursery (same one, in Edmonton) carries it and has only a few each year because they aren’t too popular. With that said, I know someone in Regina who has kept a low-growing ‘pure’ palmatum for several years, with minimal winter kill! It’s quite impressive. I know several gardeners here who zone push successfully so I’m hoping to implement some of their tricks.

    Thank you for the advice Re: the seedlings!! I will repot them. Any advice on medium choice? I read so many conflicting things on various bonsai forums (soilless, don’t use peat, use peat), I haven’t quite gotten the sense of what they like. Do they appreciate a faster drying medium and frequent watering? I grow Madagascan orchids so I can appreciate how important watering frequency / medium water retention is…just haven’t figured out what these trees want yet.
     
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  4. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    To add to what Emery said above, another possible cause for the burned leaves is fertilizer burn - I don't know what you have fed these seedlings so don't know if this is an actual possible concern. Either way a quick repot into fresh medium will freshen up the root zone and now would be my preferred time to do so. My experience is that young seedlings are very tolerant of disturbance, if it is positive disturbance. The buds and stems look very healthy, at least on most of the ones I can see in the pictures.

    It is worth also recognizing the growth cycle of these types of maples in Section Palmata. The initial flush of top growth is followed by a period of root expansion when the top part does not grow, possibly followed by further flushes of top growth. Further top growth is dependant on how much food reserves can be accumulated and other environmental factors. Sometimes seedlings will just have the initial flush and expend all their energy on storing food reserves for next year rather than gambling everything on extra flushes of growth this year.

    Also, size is not an indicator of healthiness or toughness of genetic material in these types of Acer seedlings. The fastest growing ones can turn out to be the least hardy as the fast growth they put out is often soft and weak and not very cold tolerant.
     
  5. Calvin_yxe

    Calvin_yxe New Member

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    Thank you both for your thoughtful replies.

    Any recommendations on potting media? I've amassed an unhealthy collection of media over the years: horticultural pumice, akadama, diatomaceous earth, peat, high-porosity promix, pinus radiata bark in multiple grades, perlite, sand, etc. I've read about using a gritty mix in certain bonsai forums, but not sure if that applies to the seedling stage. Any tips would be much appreciated!

    I'm going to visit this friend tomorrow, who's neighbor has a mature korean maple. I'm going to beg for a few cuttings and see what happens. Any advice or guidance in rooting cuttings would be highly appreciated!
     
  6. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Calvin,

    If you have soma Akadama left, it's an excellent medium provided that the gauge is not too high : 5/7 mm is perfect.

    If you add 20% sieved pinus radiata bark of the same grade (5/7 mm), it will be an excellent mix for repotting young seedlings, taking summer cuttings, or air-layers.

    A+K
     
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  7. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    PS : I would definitely keep, and use :
    pumice,
    akadama,
    diatomaceous earth,
    pinus radiata bark in multiple grades,
    sand (but only "quartz sand", not river sand that can be -here- rather alkaline, and at least 3 mm)


    perlite : here, it retains too much water. I use it for young seedlings of flowers and plants that I later put in the ground.

    peat, high-porosity promix : don't know about "pro-mix", but peat is not good. It keeps too much water, clogs the pot, and then there's a risk of root rot.
     
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  8. Calvin_yxe

    Calvin_yxe New Member

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    Amazing - thank you for that specific advice. I’m going to need to find myself a sieve!

    Calvin
     
  9. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    You can find some in shops that sell tools for construction workers.

    I also made some with plastic mesh (the kind used against rabbits in plantations) or anything that could gradually sort out particles, even kitchen sieves <LOL>

    Sometimes one can find cheap, efficient solutions. There's not always a need to get and pay full price for a "pro" tool when you can use your imagination... ;-)
     
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  10. Calvin_yxe

    Calvin_yxe New Member

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    I just realized after reading your message I have no idea what 5/7mm means - is that 5/7th of a mm (0.7mm)? That seems awfully fine! or does it mean 5 OR 7 mm? Sorry - this may be a very stupid question!
     
  11. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    That's not a stupid question, it's a matter of units of measurements, and cultural background.

    In Europe, and most part of the world, we use the decimal system : 1 metre is divided into 100 cm (centimentres), which are divided in 10 mm (10 millimetres)

    An inch is 2.54 cm. A foot 30.34 cm (or so, nit sure), a yard is 91 cm, a mile is 1,604 km, etc.

    See : inch centimetres - Google Search

    I meant 5 to 7 millimetres, so :

    0.5 cm (5mm) is 0.1968503937, or ¹³/₆₄ of an inch.

    07 cm (7mm) is 0.27559055118, or ⁹/₃₂ of an inch.

    I find it so much easier to use the decimal system. will the Britons get back to the "avoirdupoids system" (*) to make sure they've split from the rest of europe ? Huh, huh... ;0)

    (*) one of the 40% words they adopted from the French, the Latins, the Europeans...
    (**) they're not using LSD any more since 1974 I think: Librae (pounds),Soliddi (what we used to call "sols", or "sous"), denarii ( "30 deniers", the price Jesus was sold for. It's still used for the quality of weaved fabric, especially stockings). Now £1 is 100 p. I think. Haven't crossed the Channel for quite a while, it may be different now...
     
  12. Calvin_yxe

    Calvin_yxe New Member

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    Merci! Nous utilisons également le même système au Canada! : ) I was just in St. Malo, Bretagne last week and I already miss the kouign amann!

    I just wasn't sure what '5/7' was, as it seems to resembled the imperial system of using 3/4" or 7/8" to denote fractions of an inch! haha :)
     
  13. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I can't blame you ! Now my kids are over 30, but Brittany was our favourite place when they were young, sleeping under a tent, going to the beach, and singing karaoke at the camping site (we had a hit singing "Douce France", huh, huh...)

    In one these camping sites, there was a baker coming in the morning, selling bread, the local paper ("Ouest France") ... and kouign amann ! Those who don't know can't imagine. When we left, we put one in the car, "sur la lunette arrière". Fatal error : the butter melted.

    Salted butter, crêpes, billig, etc. Thank you for reminding me all these wonderful tastes of Brittany.

    Ever tried "Kig a farz" ?... Better have dozens of friends to share, but it's soooo good.
     
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  14. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I like to make a living soil that drains freely but does not dry out to quickly. My feeling is that many of these "gritty mixtures" dry out too quickly which is not beneficial to soil microbial life. Therefore I use a combination of water retaining and water draining components. I would mix as many of these items as possible, including some loam also, to make a matrix of particles that includes a large range of sizes from very large to very small. The pictures of your soil mix looked pretty good from what I could see. I also think peat is a valid addition to a mixture precisely because it has water holding capacity (sorry Alain). This is all assuming the pots can drain freely from the base.

    Maybe you are thinking of vermiculite? Perlite holds very little water and very much air. Perfect for adding oxygen to the root zone.
     
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  15. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    No worries, mate ;-)

    We live in diffrent climate zones, so adjusting the right amount of what is what and should be is a matter of what we call here" le doigt mouillé" , litterally "the moist finger", the way one tries to finfd where the wind goes from... ;-)
     
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  16. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Just to add to my criteria of what constitutes a good soil for potted Section Palmata maples - I don't want to have to water every day during summer, which would be necessary for some of these "gritty mixes" during hot sunny weather. What happens if you are too busy on a particular day or want to go away for a few days?... for those of us who do not employ a full time gardener we need a soil that can last at least two days between waterings in the very hottest weather we are likely to see in our zone, and at least three days in more general sunny weather. Equally, the soil mix needs to drain freely enough that the roots will not become waterlogged even if it rains heavily for several days in a row during cool conditions.

    Also, if the soil mix is alive and well populated the microscopic organisms living there will create the optimum pore spacing to allow good drainage and oxygenation over a wide range of conditions.
     
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  17. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thumb-up.jpg
     
  18. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    In my view, the best substrate is a local decision. I describe my approach in the Maple Society FAQ, which you can find here, and click on the + next to "substrate for pots".

    Japanese Maple FAQ - Maple Society

    Sorry for shouting, but BE VERY CAREFUL on this site, and do not go there at all unless you have a very secure browser. In keeping with the shameful state of the MS, the site has been hacked, the hacker has added links to various sites that may be trapped. There is no way to know where navigation of the site will take you. I saw this when I went to find the above link yesterday. (They ought take the site off air immediately to clean and verify the whole thing, but would take a lot of effort, so...)

    I don't like any peat content, as it stays too wet in our high humidity environment, but I know some who swear by it. I use a bit of coir sometimes, but have found the long fiber kind much better than the ground type. Greenhouse growers and propagators often use nearly pure coir (less so peat, because of the environmental issues, and expense), but pots in those hot greenhouses dry out really fast. If the coir is too chunky, it holds water like a sponge and (here at least) almost never dries out.

    Ah, the kouign amann! Of course we had some during our recent trip to Bretagne, it's one of the best things on planet earth, when done as it should be. I was pleased to discover that our nearest boulangerie in Paris is now doing a very respectable kouign, because two administrations back it the boulanger was Breton and we were totally spoiled.

    @Calvin_yxe sounds like you have lots of ingredients to experiment with! -E

    P.S. re: zone pushing, it's a dangerous game because it works until it doesn't. It's very frustrating to grow a tree for 5-10 years and have it suddenly croak in an unusually cold snap. Our friend (but maybe no longer on the forum) Rod lost about 80% of his JM collection (I think in zone 4) from the famous Polar Vortex.
     
  19. Calvin_yxe

    Calvin_yxe New Member

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    Just wanted to share photos of a tree I had the privilege of seeing and taking a cutting from yesterday. I know it’s probably quite boring and basic for most acer palmatum afficionados, but for someone like me in zone 2 with -40C winters and who believed it was impossible to grow any acer palmatum relative here, I was completely blown away!!!! This tree is 12-15 foot tall, growing happily with minimal die-back in a yard enjoying south-east exposure. The owners are lovely and keen to learn, but not horticulturalists, so I suspect the tree hasn’t been pruned in years. Despite this, I saw minimal die back. I did see some leaf chlorosis…perhaps iron or nutrient deficiency of some sort?

    05B72436-756C-450E-8BF3-8E6D369BB874.jpeg AE32CF95-AC8D-48A9-B294-C20FBD8215AB.jpeg 13AF195A-4F98-4543-9555-150232179CD5.jpeg C860E3B4-01C0-4AEC-803A-94BBEE7FE49E.jpeg

    Someone suggested that this might be pseudosieboldianum but I wonder based upon leaf shape whether it might be one of the Iseli Jack Frost crosses. Interestingly, the leaves appear somewhat hirsute with very fine white hair/fuzz along the stem and on the leaf. Not sure if this is an adaptation of the cold hybridization.

    Wish me luck with the cuttings - I’ve tried to read and follow the guides I’ve seen online. The timing may be wrong but given this is on someone else’s property, my options are limited. I’ve begged the owners for seed in the fall; with the overall lack of palmatum cultivars in the city, what are the chances the seed are fertile and true to cold hardiness?
     
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  20. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Oh my ! I've never been exposed myself to such temperatures.
    I think the lowest I had to bear was -30° or so, when I worked on the slopes of Avoriaz, a ski resort in the Alps. We had to shovel the snow blocking the skilift before the tourists came, and believe me, we soon took off our jackets, even if we still had icicles hanging from our moustache <LOL>
     
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  21. Calvin_yxe

    Calvin_yxe New Member

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    Shockingly my friend in Toronto, Canada told me of some bakeries selling it. I haven't tried it yet, but now that I've had the real deal (and not only that, but I've sampled 4 different bakeries in St. Malo and have found my favourite amongst the four!) I feel like it's just not going to be the same :D


    Thank you for that link and your advice. We live in an incredibly harsh and unwelcoming climate, and it is a tough life for those of us passionate about horticulture. Despite this, the gratification of success becomes that much sweeter.

    I find once it's below -35C, it's all the same! Difficult to breath, frost bite in 10 minutes if exposed, and eyelashes start freezing shut. Every year we drop to about -50C with the windchill for a few days, and there's a few nights where it's colder here than the surface of Mars. It's an odd feeling to sit in my living room, knowing that the only thing standing between me and a completely uninhabitable world is just a couple planks of wood, some insulation, and brick! Winters are so long. Yet, it is truly miraculous to see the world come to life every spring - watching trees leaf out is like watching life spontaneously erupt from cold dead stone. I'm endlessly envious of the wonderful climate of the PNW and Europe (I will never have broadleaf evergreens) but there seems to be enough to keep me entertained here despite living in an ice cube.
     
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  22. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Such a pity...

    So much was involved by volunteers, for free, trying to build knowledge, and "pshitt", it just goes down the drain because...

    Whatever the reason(s), I find it very sad that the MS is now an epiphenomenon of FB : what the f*** with knowledge as long as I can get many "likes" ?... I post photos there too, and have Pavlov's reaction when the ghosts like it. I indulge in that too. Instant response, answer, reaction, good or bad.

    But it also means all the "serious" work that had been done is now like dust. Nothing to rejoice about.

    There should still be something to build, in a cross-language platform maybe.
     
  23. Shauna156

    Shauna156 New Member

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    Oh it's lovely! I'm in zone 4b/5a (Northern Ontario) and I gotta say, your post is giving me hope!! It almost looks like a straight up Sieboldianum--which I've heard do well in colder zones even zone 4 (though with protection of course). I'm looking for a Kumoi Nishiki specifically! :) I'll attach a link to the generic Sieboldianum leaf in the meantime as I really think its a good match and might explain its thriving--well at least partly! There must be a microclimate going on too to be doing so beautifully in such a cold zone!
     

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  24. Shauna156

    Shauna156 New Member

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    One last thing I forgot to add. You mentioned suspecting the tree might have chlorosis (and it surely might!) but thought I'd let you know that there are some cultivars of Sieboldianum with speckled leaves that have a similar look. Kumoi Nishiki is one!

    Keep us updated on how it goes with the tree!!
     

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  25. Calvin_yxe

    Calvin_yxe New Member

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    Wonderful! I didn't know acer sieboldianum was cold hardy was well. I found a source of pseudosieboldianum but will wait until I'm in a more permanent fixture to order. The cuttings have been rooting for about a month. I'm curious when I should check for roots, but I'm loathe to disturb the cuttings.
     
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