Chilling requirement for japanese maple?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by sgbotsford, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford Active Member 10 Years

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    I bought a cute japanese maple in a low pot (not a true bonsai, but one that may have some potential) It was an impulse buy. We enjoyed it all summer.

    I know that these trees are not hardy in Edmonton. In the fall once it had dropped all it's leaves I put it in a shed, over a barrel of water then put foam pad around it, and topped with a garbage bag. Temperatures inside this have been -3 to +2

    My idea is to keep it here long enough to satisfy it's chilling requirement, then to bring it out into our conservatory (brightly lit, but seldom over 14 C in winter.) My notion is that this would give it 'spring' it would break bud, and be an inside plant until it can go back out on the deck.

    How long does it need to be cold before bringing it in?
     
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @sgbotsford good evening, this is quite a common question on how long does a maple need to be asleep. I have found that around 3 to 3 1/2 months is best, but sadly these days of changing climate they don't get all the rest they need as it doesn't get cold until mid December and warms up in early February over here.
    So to your question, I would ensure your maple stays asleep for a good 3 months and don't be too hasty to wake it up.
    Hope this is of help.
     
  3. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford Active Member 10 Years

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    Should be good then. It was leafless in early October. I'll look at bringing it in in February.
     
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Sounds good to me...
     
  5. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor

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    Do you have a link to something where I could read more about the need for dormancy in Japanese maples - like how long it needs to be and at what temperatures?

    I'd never have thought to worry about this before and maybe don't need to now but our winter so far has been very mild.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Margot good morning Margot, this thread discussed the matter.
    Dormancy
    Tbh it is not something to be worried about as there is absolutely nothing we can do about how the climate is changing in our gardens. Please don't shout at me for saying this, as I know we are all doing our best to help the environment, but any reversal on what is happening could take many decades even it is possible to reverse. So my point is unless we keep all our trees in pots and have a cold storage facility we will just have to live with it.
    Sadly Maples along with other deciduous trees, will be weakened by lack of sleep. Bit like ourselves when you look at it.
    Sorry I don't have better news for you regarding your maples. Wish I did as good news is hard to come by atm.
     
  7. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor

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    This only restates a potential problem. What I would like to know is what constitutes dormancy? What temperatures and what length of time satisfy the need of Japanese maples to 'sleep'? Are very low temperatures for a short period of time as satisfactory as fairly low temperatures for a longer time?

    Even though there may be absolutely nothing we can do about how the climate is changing in our gardens, I think this is definitely something to worry about.
     
  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Once they drop their leaves they are dormant, but are they fully asleep!!!?. Here in Southern England I had new leaves appearing up until the beginning of December this year, so asleep 'I think not' and I know that these trees will start trying to leaf out in February.
    Fully asleep IMO is when the new buds are not showing any signs of swelling. That is when I gauge that they are fully asleep. Again I like them to have 3 and a half months in full sleep mode, but that never happens these days.
    Regarding worrying about it. There is a saying we had at my work. 'Would it help if I worried'. The answer is always NO.
     
  9. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Of course, potted trees will be more sensitive to frost than those in the ground. If you can keep it in a place with temps between -2 and +3, that's perfect.

    Can you post a photo?
     

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