Budburst! How early Spring is connected to last Summer

Discussion in 'Maples' started by JT1, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    Euclid, OH USA
    I came across a very short and sweet article: Budburst
    by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
    April 23, 2016

    Budburst! » Arnold Arboretum

    Not only does the article give us some clarity to discussions on what is bud break by showing pictures of Acer palmatum during budburst while providing a definition. But the article also talks about the storage of energy 7 to 8 months before budburst in mid to late Summer during the previous season.

    The timing of mid to late Summer is a bit subjective and is different depending on the region of the world you live and micro climate influence. The information ("eruption of leaves and flowers that have been tightly packed into each and every bud for the last seven or eight months") gives us each a solid timeline that we can work back from the time of year our budburst.

    For my area my Japanese maples budburst between mid April to May 1st. Not sure, just go back through your photos and check out the date as I just did as I write this thread. So if we work back 7 or 8 months from that date we come up with a time in which next year's buds are being formed. For me this is about August to September 1st. Given it takes a couple of weeks for buds to form, I would say late July would begin that critical time for next year's budburst.

    Why am I making such a big deal about mid to late Summer when I am sharing an article about budburst? Good question!

    How we care for our maples in August has a direct impact on their health and vigor come next Spring. I know for me August is hot, dry, and almost always in the middle of seasonal drought. It's a time where people have gardening fatigue and begin to neglect their gardens and watering.

    My food for thought is we must keep up with caring for our maples in late Summer as it is a critical time for next year's leaf development and vigor. Also in the short term, I have found keeping up with your maples through August and into September is the difference between having a short fall show with damaged leaves and having a brilliant fall showing with picture perfect leaves!

    Putting forth an effort into the late Summer care of Japanese maples pays dividends come next season and ensures a great fall show that is longer lasting in my experience! Next season when you start to get gardening fatigue come late Summer, remember this article, dig deep and get re-motivated, and remember that next seasons Spring show and the health of your maples depends on action and efforts!

    Next time you have a maple with poor performance or decline during early Spring; remember to look back to the previous Summer. Then you can identify and reach conclusions on why your tree has declined based on history. Learn from it to prevent further loss and develop a better mid to late Summer care program.

    I use a slow release organic starter fertilizer in mid July for container grown and landscape maples. I water container grown maples every morning and ensure that landscape grown maples get 1" of water a week. Also late June to early July is a good time to add mulch to areas that have settled or disrupted by wildlife to help keep roots moist and cool before the hottest and driest part of Summer sets in.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  2. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member

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    Jacksonville, FL USA USDA Zone 9
    Excellent advice. While I don't deliberately grow any maples, I noted that another early spring harbinger is beginning to bloom. In November. Admittedly, we did have a cold snap for us. Zero chill hours as they are calculated, but a few days where we didn't need air conditioning. I don't like Bradford pear for a host of reasons, but several in my area are actually covered in white buds and flowers.

    Mainly, it's just Acer rubrum around here. I've seen a few others.

    Related to the novel concept of thinking ahead for your best displays, my relatives shear their azaleas into box shape with monthly trims. They rake the pine needles out from under them. And they lament the sparse blooming in spring. They don't know that I water them when I can. I've pretty much always kept in mind that they form the intent to bud somewhere by mid summer.
  3. HMBrown

    HMBrown Member

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    Hants, UK
    I am no gardener, but I have an Acer tataricum subsp ginnala 'Flame' in a clay pot on my front lawn in Hampshire, UK. This was propagated by Hillier Gardens, UK, presumably from a plant they have in the Gardens, and put in a plant sale for Volunteers/Members a decade or so ago. The plant has several times burst its buds on or about Valentines Day, 14FEB, but sometimes into March.

    Currently Hillier Gardens has four listed 2003.0025 A/B/D/E all in WG820, Winter Gardens, the west side of the roundabout outside the Visitor Centre (presumably C was lost), last measured in JAN2016 at 3 metres or less. (Mine is much smaller).

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