Bark of maples

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Gomero, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have been reading this forum and I find it very interesting treating subjects with good depth.
    Since this is my first post I would like to introduce myself. I am a (male) amateur gardener in Southwest France and I have a, mostly, shade garden with a lot of maples and more particularly Acer Palmatum cultivars.
    Many of the maples I grow have attractive leaves and/or bark.
    While the influence of environmental factors on the leaves is well documented, I cannot say the same for the bark, it is hard to find anything on the subject. My own experience has shown that bark coloring seems to be affected by sun exposure, although I am not 100% sure.
    Are there any general rules or each tree is a special case.
    Any help or related links would be appreciated.
    Regards,
    Gomero
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Some, esp. sec. Macrantha (snakebark) maples prone to sunburn if moved from shady to sunny area.
     
  3. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Nice to see you over here Gomero:)

    I am not sure that any one answer will suffice. While I have heard, for example that Sango Kaku requires some level of sun to exhibit its best red bark color, I am not sure this is true or the rule in most cases. Therefore, you might be on a case by case basis.

    I would venture a guess that many of the grey, green, or somewhat yellow bark trees would not be too affected no matter what the sunlight. As would go for any of the more visually interesting barks: flaking, peeling, cork-like. I get the feeling that many of these qualities, as well as the more natural bark characterisitics would be unaffected by sunlight, while a more unnatural color like red, would be affected by some additional factors.

    Just trying to help things a long with a guess. Do you have some particular trees in mind?
     
  4. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks for the replies, glad to see you here also.
    I have in mind in particular the Sango Kaku and the Eddisbury for which I have a hard time obtaining the original vivid red colors, I do not know what I am not doing right.
    Regards,
     
  5. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Gomero:

    I have not grown Eddisbury but I believe it is a
    seedling from a Sango kaku originating in England.

    A long while back I made reference in another thread
    about the true Japanese form of Sango kaku. If you
    were to look at the second pic on this page the color
    of the branches is the closest I've seen to the original
    cutting grown Maple imported in from Japan to Don
    Kleim back in 1966.

    http://www.esveld.nl/htmldia/a/ex/acpedd.htm

    On ours and I wish I still had mine just for this
    purpose, the trunk color of it was the same as
    the coloration of the branches depicted in the
    2nd photo. Some years we would see a grayish
    color mixed in with the orange cast rose pink
    coloration to the bark. The Sango kaku that
    is the industry standard in the Western US is
    actually a seedling that was selected years ago
    in Oregon around 1973.

    As another reference to Sango kaku: look on
    page 201 of the Vertrees/Gregory Japanese
    Maples
    3rd Edition book. Both photos of
    this Maple were taken by Mr. Don Kleim from
    the far Southeast side of Don's front yard at
    Cumorah Knolls in Clovis, California.

    Sunlight does indeed play an integral role as
    to whether we will see coloration in the twigs,
    branches and the trunk. It is not unusual for us
    to see coloration in the twigs and branches but
    not the trunk some years. The old Japanese
    form always colored up in the trunk for us
    no matter how much or how little sunlight
    it got. With standard Sango kaku the bark
    has to have sunlight in order for it to color
    up.

    There is another factor that determines when
    we will see trunk coloration and that is how
    cold it gets and when it gets cold. It is not
    unusual to see Japanese Sunrise in the East
    Coast and in some sectors of Oregon achieve
    a brilliant orange coloration but that is not
    totally dependant on sunlight but due to the
    cold, not intense cold but more so mild cold
    in order for us to see that superb coloration.
    We should see that coloration allover the
    tree. With Sango kaku, especially the ones
    that were grafted and cutting grown offspring
    from the seedling grown in Oregon, we may
    not see coloration in the trunk every year but
    if we get some cooling starting in September
    in most locales except for us here which for
    us is around October instead, we will or should
    get some coloring in the trunks.

    We generally need both sunlight and coolness
    for us to see the coloration in all areas of the
    Maple. If the Maple is grown in high shade we
    may see some coloring in the twigs and some
    branches in most years but we may not see
    much for color in larger sized branches nor in
    the trunk of the tree regardless of how cold
    or when it became cold or not. Both sunlight
    and the effect of cold go hand in hand together
    if we want to see allover bark color to the tree.

    Best regards,

    Jim
     
  6. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Jim,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I have 2 Sango kakus, one 8 years old and about 2.5 m. tall and the other just 2 years old. Both were bought locally and are grafted, the most likely origin is Holland.

    What baffles me is that in both cases I have not been able to reproduce the bright red colour the twigs had when I bought them (in the winter time for both of them). They probably had optimum conditions that I cannot figure out. The very young twigs do turn red (but not as bright as in the picture in page 201 that you quote), the older twigs, and the trunk, turn a dull red only on the south side that sees the winter sun. The northern part remains yellowish-brown.

    Concerning the influence of cold weather, I have not made enough observations. I live in zone 8 and we generally get the first frosts beginning of November.

    I am also observing the behaviour of other red bark maples (Acer xconspicuum 'Phoenix' and Acer pennsylvanincum 'Erythrocladum') that I have planted recently. Both seem to require fair amounts of sunlight, otherwise there is significant loss of colour.

    Kind regards

    Gomero
     
  7. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Gomero:

    When do the leaves on your Sango kakus start to show some
    Fall color? Have you been fertilizing these Maples with ample
    amounts of Nitrogen? Too much Nitrogen can adversely affect
    the Fall colors of the bark. I've seen the two-toned coloring of
    the tree this year on a large Sango kaku in a 30" box in a nursery
    that did the same thing. Where the tree was exposed to sunlight
    the most was where the right coloring appeared and on the reverse
    side where it got high shade it was a grayish brown in color but
    the twigs and some of the higher branches colored up on both
    sides. We did not get our first frosts here until November also
    this year. In varying years in the past we have received frosts
    early as late September and as long as they are light frosts, not
    freezes we will get our best Fall color to the bark. Cold does
    play a role in the development of bark color and so does sunlight.
    Cooling night time temperatures and ample sunlight is what will
    generally trigger the bark color. I am assuming your 8 year tree
    is planted in the ground. How much sunlight is it getting? You
    are going to have to help me with your climatic conditions and
    your settings for your Sango kakus. What kind of permanent
    watering system are you using?

    In most years we have the first balled and burlap Maples arrive
    from Oregon to some wholesale but more predominately retail
    nurseries here in the Central Valley by November. The Sango
    kakus are so red in color due to the onset of cold it would
    make one think they are Beni kawas instead. In most years
    here we do not see the coloring to the trunks until December,
    long after the leaves have dropped off the tree. We have to
    have a series of frosts for us to see good coloring on our
    Sango kakus here and in some years we do not see much
    color at all, even in the twigs, no matter whether grown in a
    container or planted in the ground.

    It was the old form that colored up in the bark in December
    every year for us but it was a weak plant, stressed real easy
    with any hot or cold winds but its color was Coral - an orange
    cast rose pink, not really a red at all. Most of us have the
    seedling and the one shown on page 201 is the seedling and
    not the true Japanese form as we called it. I cannot speak for
    Holland but I do know that a great friend of ours in Northwest
    Germany abut 900 miles away from you does get cold and
    some snow even in September. For that much shade for the
    Eddisbury Maple, in the second photo, tells me for it to color
    up like that it has to have mild temperatures in late Summer
    and very early Fall in order to do it. If someone knows more
    about that, please help out. I seriously doubt the Maple has
    that bark color year round. If it did everyone in a cooler
    climate would want one.

    Jim
     
  8. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    This pic was taken on 23rd March 2004
    I have had this tree for about 7 years
     

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  9. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Jim,
    Some answers to your questions.
    Fall color for the Sango Kakus begins second half of October. They are not fertilized, they receive twice a year a thick mulch of well decomposed oak leaves. They are both planted in the ground and one (the old one) receives morning sun and afternoon shade, the other the contrary: morning shade and afternoon sun. I am attaching two picks taken this year that show this rather poor coloring, specially when compared with Whiskey's that seem to be in full sun all day long

    My Eddisbury was bought and planted (in the ground) in March 2004 with beautiful coloring, has had sun from 11:00 to about 14;00-15:00 during the summer and basically no sun now. Its bark/twig colors have turned a dull rose. I think I need to move it to a sunnier position.
    All of this is empirical and I would love to learn some explanation of how all this works.
    Kind regards
    Gomero
     

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  10. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Eddisbury

    Gomero:
    Here is a link to a picture of Eddisbury in the dormant season. The bark color is the "dull rose" as you describe it. I believe this color to be correct.

    Eddisbury-Plant photography

    As far as your Sango kaku, I think it is important that we balance the lineage factor with the scientific emperical part. In any case, depending on the parentage of the tree you have, it could require colder temperatures or longer exposure, meaning you may not see the color until later in the winter.

    In any case if you would like to view some more professional Acer photos, here is the link to the rest of the Plant Photography gallery.

    Plant Photography Gallery

    Best Regards,
    Michael
     
  11. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Gomero
    Your trees appear to be fine healthy plants
    Patience may prove that colour will improve with maturity
     
  12. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Sam:

    I agree we are not dealing with distressed Maples. I see
    nothing out of the ordinary. As we learn more about
    Maples grown in select climates we can see just how
    different these Maples can be for us. Sometimes
    we expect too much of the plant and wonder what we
    are doing wrong when we are seeing what the plant will
    do naturally in the setting we have provided for it. For
    the most part our job is to leave the Maple alone and
    enjoy the benefits of it. When we try to force issues
    with Maples is when we can run into some trouble
    and then we have to be able to accept the blame for
    messing up the plant that was not showing problematic
    symptoms to start with.

    Jim
     
  13. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Moisture?

    Here is another thought. I live in a relatively dry climate, but in the colder parts of the year, the moisture content in the air in the morning is much higher. While in the afternoons it becomes very dry.

    My red and coral bark trees show much deeper color in the mornings after the cold night and when the moisture content of th air is higher. Not so much a function of the bark itself, but the effect of the moisture making the color appear deeper. One of my trees will appear nearly red in the mornings and look coral or rose color by afternoon.

    While this may not effect the appearance of trees with very red bark, as the one Sam pictures, it may be relevant to those with more rose to orange bark causing them to color better at different times of the day.

    Michael
     
  14. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    "Your trees appear to be fine healthy plants"
    "I agree we are not dealing with distressed Maples".

    Well, friends, I've never said I had a problem with my trees. Just that I have not been able to reproduce the bark color the trees had when I bought them.
    I am basically looking for insight on the environmental factors affecting bark color and for an explanation of that effect. I really appreciate your comments and, I hope, we have all given some thoughts to the subject.

    Kind regards,
     
  15. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    I have done a bit over 3000 pruning contracts and pruned entire golf courses. In all those years of work, I never saw any weather or sun factors alter bark color much at all. The sun can bleach color a bit, but I think it's such a minor and inconsequential thing - bark - that you might not want to burn yourself out on that.

    As for twig color, I'd be willing to bet that fertilizing and forcing growth probably has some kind of affect (not neccessarily better either).

    I tend to find more storm or weather caused damage on fertilized trees here than on trees that were not fertilized. Fertilizing:

    makes leaves bigger (increased sail)
    makes limbs longer (increased leverage / ice, rain, snow)
    produces salts which can kill beneficial microorganisms in soil
     
  16. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Mario,

    Very interesting, your experience tells you that bark color is not affected by environmental conditions. On the other hand my observations tend to point to a different conclusion. This certainly proves that we do not know for sure.

    The cellular level mechanism for color and color changes in the leaves is, I believe, well understood and a Web search produces some interesting articles. Is the same explanation valid for the bark and twigs?, is anybody aware of articles on the subject?

    Kind regards,
     
  17. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Mario:

    Most of the Japanese Maples as we know them will
    not be seen planted around golf courses as a landscape
    plant. Most Japanese Maples are used as accent plants
    in a landscape in most locations. Here a tall growing
    Japanese Maple is used as a focal point in a landscape,
    the plant the eyes immediately goes to when we peer at
    a landscape, whether it is a commercial business with
    limited area to develop with plant material, the front
    yard of a home or a specialized setting in order to
    highlight the Maple. In extensively developed
    landscapes Japanese Maples have been used but as
    solitary plantings for the most part by most landscape
    architects here. What has always surprised me is
    that Oregon with so many of the Japanese Maples
    originating there, that landscapers have not incorporated
    in various forms of Japanese Maples in their landscape
    plantings. Certainly not even close to the numbers of
    plants being utilized here as we even have seedling
    green Maples used as street tree plantings now. Even
    in Fresno there is hardly a location with any real area
    to speak of that does not have at least one Japanese
    Maple such as Bloodgood, Oshio Beni, Burgundy
    Lace, seedlings of Palmatum Aureum or a large green
    seedling or two in their landscapes. That is not true
    with Oregon. The impact that Don Kleim had upon
    the nursery industry and other entities related to the
    nursery industry just with one plant is more than evident
    around here, no matter where we go, almost everywhere
    we go. I would not be surprised at all that just Fresno
    alone has more Japanese Maples per capita planted in
    the ground for landscape purposes than all of Oregon
    combined. If I had not been around Oregon a lot I would
    not make such a boastful statement but from what I've
    seen I know it is true. Keep in mind that the University
    that is referenced on page 201 as cited in this thread is
    an institution of higher learning I am more than just
    familiar with.

    I think what Gomero wants to know in analytical
    terms for his Maples is something that even today's
    researchers are not going to be much help for. I've
    seen current studies on Maples in which for their
    scientific brethren the chemical terms and the
    terminology sounds good to impress people but
    the facts just aren't there yet. We do not know for
    sure what is going on with the physiochemical
    processes that involve the Maple leaves turning
    red yet in the Fall. In recent annual reviews of
    compiled Plant Biochemistry and Plant Physiology
    journals I am not seeing a whole lot of data or
    emphasis placed on having a better idea as to the
    realm of chemical processes that are going on in
    Maples. There have been some studies on manipulating
    some of the chemical interactions but not so much
    with the plant pigments. We do know from old studies
    that Nitrogen, Sulfur and in some cases Calcium can
    affect the coloring of the leaves and the bark. If we
    had a better idea as to what is going on within the
    plant we would already know what the chemical is
    in Acer ruburm that seems to be rather harmful to
    horses. Is it an Aliphatic acid that this is causing
    the problem or a derivative of one that is causing
    the hepatic and renal failures? The jury is still out
    as to whether other species of Maples are also
    injurious as a lot depends on who we talk to. One
    Vet school will say yes, there are other Maples
    involved that can be harmful and another Vet
    school will say no, only the Scarlet Maple and
    we do not know for sure why that is as of yet.
    At least the second Vet school is being honest
    about it!

    Gomero:

    It is your job to search the internet for a reason
    why your Maples are not coloring up the way
    you want them to. Actually, I've already told you
    the reason but you did not understand it. Try to
    read some overly technical gibberish in which the
    people involved do not have an understanding of
    what they wrote. Happens a lot with publish or
    perish Universities. What you want you will not
    get until you experience cold earlier in the season
    than normal. Then when you do get some cold
    early you can go back to this thread and see I was
    right. Moving a healthy plant in order to achieve
    better sunlight can help your situation but it is
    Mother Nature that you need to change to help
    you the most. Additions of nutrients into the soil
    can help facilitate better bark color for you but
    you are still reliant upon cooling night time
    temperatures as well as bright, unfiltered sunlight
    for you to see the coloring closer to what your
    Maples had when you first bought them.

    Jim
     
  18. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    A follow up on this thread.

    My Sango kakus did acquire an acceptable red coloring of the twigs after a few nights when the outside temperature dropped into the teens. This tends to confirm the important role played by the temperature in the coloring of the bark. However in the two years old (and older) twigs and branches the red coloring was in the sun exposed side only which seems to indicate that sun exposure is also a factor.
     

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  19. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I am somewhat familiar with the Toulouse area, as my wife is from there, and I've spent a good deal of time there in all the seasons. We live in the New York City suburbs, which seems to be good for Japanese maples in terms of moisture and coldness. Usually I get excellent fall color on all my trees. I have also seen good bark color on Sango Kaku, although I do not have one myself.

    Toulouse is much milder climatically than here and also much dryer. The winters are wet, but the growing season seems a good deal dryer, and also hotter, more Mediterenean in character. It is also farther north enough to get much longer days in the summer, but I don't know if that makes a difference. As you say, your trees likely came from Holland, and I'm not sure just how far north Japan is relative to here and southern France. I always look for Japanese maples in Toulouse, but haven't seen one yet. Here they are in practically every yard, and I have a couple of dozen in the ground and containers. Mostly you see Bloodgood or palmatum seedlings, as Jim says in California, but many quite large.

    I'm not sure when I will be back in Toulouse, perhaps next summer or in October, but if you are close, I'd love to arrange for a meeting to see your trees if you'd like.
     
  20. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Jacquot,
    Let me reassure you that the climate here is just fine for Japanese maples, at last count I had 59 different cultivars healthily growing in my garden (plus a good sampling of hydrangeas, azaleas, etc.). I live very close to Toulouse and I'll be happy to show you my maples, just send me an e-mail proposing dates.
    Kind regards,
    Gomero
     
  21. parislights

    parislights Member

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    Hello my first post too .

    I have one little japanese maple, an Eddisbury that I got after another maple society member gave me some advice on the subject. Went to the Uk to pick it up from Karen Junkers nursery, as a 5year old, a year and a half ago. It seems rather well adapted to its new home altho bout 3/4 of it (the bottom trunk is always in the shade) does get considerably more sun all year long here in Paris! We have had a very cold winter . Ive finally gotten a friend to photograph it as it looks like it has a new wound and I wondered if anyone had advice bout it. If it needed treatment, if so what kind etc.

    The color is pretty much always like that. It is lighter where it receives no sun on the lower part of the trunk but otherwise in the winter, it is that really glorious red. The leaves also have little red tips.

    It's a lovely tree and I am considering going back to get a second and third tree if she still has any! She had very beautiful sangokakus too but my friend counseled the eddisbury as a slightly easier tree for a beginner. I didnt see the tree that this one was cloned from but the other trees she was cloning from were absolute stunners! It was a great experience to see these much larger,older maples ! I am also planning a trip to see another older eddisbury in situ in the UK at the national arboretum this march.

    -parislights
     

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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  22. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Gosh!, someone pulled up my first post in the forum ;o)), reading it again it sounds to me like like prehistory.
    And, bonus, this reply makes my 900th contribution!!!

    Gomery
     
  23. nelran

    nelran Active Member

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    Gomero,

    Felicitaciones! Please keep going with your always interesting threads.

    Nelran
     
  24. parislights

    parislights Member

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    yes Sir! Congratulations! I was reading through everything bout the sangokakus cause that is where Ive started in mapleland! And there are some really wonderful pix in this thread! Certainly hope to learn a bit more bout these magnificent trees!

    Also wanted to ask if anyone has ever seen these varieties (the coral bark maples) in Japan? I find it quite odd that you all reference the dutch, americans in oregon, the uk but never japanese trees/suppliers and collectors! Is that because you all here at the maple society have no contacts there ? Just wondering!

    Voila! Thanks also for your advice with my little eddisbury. Its sitting out there in the morning sun!

    -parislights
     
  25. parislights

    parislights Member

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    Goodness never thought it might be a problem to have tacked my post onto Gomeros post about his coralbark maples, reviving this somewhat older thread! ! Certainly never thought I had highjacked Gomeros thread. I figured as Gomero was in France and the other thread concerning maple bark problems seemed a bit heated and full of professionals and some extremely serious collectors, that this was the friendliest place to start out!!

    Ah well. Certainly would appreciate the advice and counsel with my little tree but I guess I will brave starting a new thread up there!

    -parislights
     

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