coloration with ukigumo question?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by paxi, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    I have a 3-4 year old ukigumo (in ground) which had produce excellent coloration in the past but this year came out entirely green. The leaves still have the texture and irregularity of shape as years prior with a few exceptions. For those who have had the plant, is it likely to wax and wane in variegation over the years, or once it goes green does it ever come back? I have avoided the word "revert" becase I am not talking about one branch or shoot, but the entire tree.

    I did see this thread here:

    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?p=148744

    and this from Mr. Shep concerned me:

    "all green with no variegation,
    can remain non variegated and these leaves should be
    plucked off from the rest of the tree when we see them. "

    This would be my entire tree! From what I can tell from past coloration the the tree would have been a ukigumo rather than a floating cloud (see Mr. Sheps explanation of the difference. )
     
  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Sometimes a soil rich in nutrients can impact
    how well a variegated Maple will have variegated
    leaves. One of the reasons why we do not advise
    fertilizing new plantings right before or soon after
    planting in ground. Having a Ukigumo leaf out all
    green does not bother me but if all of the successive
    flushes of new growth are devoid of variegation
    then we might have a problem.

    We had some greening issues when Ukigumo
    and Floating Clouds container plants were over
    fertilized in the nursery, generally seen when
    we fertilized them with a granular, rather than
    a liquid form of nitrate Nitrogen. Once we saw
    some variegation by the third flush of new growth
    we felt a lot better about these plants.

    Ukigumo being a more vigorous plant than
    Floating Clouds can revert more often than
    Floating Clouds usually does. Meaning it
    is not unusual to see Ukigumo be all green
    in color when the plants are too "happy"
    with their growing environ. It is when we
    see overly vigorous new growth that have
    unusual green different shaped leaves is
    when the tree is wanting to return to wild
    type in many but not all cases.

    We saw some of this unusual growth when
    Ukigumo was grafted onto seedling amoenum
    rootstock, much more so than when these
    plants were grafted onto seedling palmatum
    and matsumarae rootstock. As an example,
    I saw last evening a large Sango kaku with
    the old style coral trunk coloring we bought
    as a landscape plant three years ago was
    throwing out a rather vigorous limb sport
    right from the lower trunk. I plucked off
    this sport from the tree fast as I then
    knew this tree was grafted onto seedling
    amoenum. If I let that sport stay on the
    tree it would eventually take over the
    entire tree and in short order we would
    no longer have a Sango kaku but end up
    with a rich green colored tree that had
    none of the same characteristics of the
    Sango kaku. This kind of limb sport
    return can easily do the same thing
    to a Ukigumo or a Floating Clouds
    which is why we recommend plucking
    these growths off the tree as soon as
    we see them. A reversion of non
    variegated growth is not so worrisome
    if the leaf shapes are the same as
    what the cultivar would normally be
    had those leaves been variegated.

    Jim
     
  3. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Paxi one question,have you pruned a little every year?because i read that some variegated jm want for maintenance a little pruning every February(in my zone 9 b)
    HTH
    alex
     
  4. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    Thank you for the detailed reply. I will get a pic up if it would help. For what it is worth, have never fertilized, but growth seems vigorous at this location (seems to fit your description of being "happy at this location"). Alex, have not pruned, but "plucked" the occasional all green leaf in the past.
     
  5. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have been growing two Ukigumos from two different European suppliers for the last 5-6 years and they have been consistently 'Ukigumos' without any detectable difference from one year to the other. This winter I bought a third one (7-8 years old plant grown in the ground) from yet another supplier and to my surprise in unfolds like a 'Floating Clouds' according to Jim's description. Of course, I would have to wait at least another growing seasn to reach a final conclusion.

    Gomero
     
  6. jwsandal

    jwsandal Active Member

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    Paxi-

    I have 2 'Ukigumo's' from 2 different suppliers. 1 is in a large pot and the other is in the ground. Both are around 7-8 years old. I consistently fertilize both in the spring (can't resist) with low nitrogen fertilizer and would like to say I am consistent in how much and the brand I use. Both trees have been in the same location for the past 3 years without being disturbed or having a change in the amount of sunlight they get. Last spring, both trees came out with nearly 100% variegation and were stunning to say the least. This spring, both trees are only around 10% variegated (an estimate). I know for sure we had 2 very different winters in the past 2 years with last winter being the 3rd coldest on record (and very wet) and the one before being very mild. I guess my point is, aside from soil/fertilizer influence and the influence of sunlight on these plants colorations, maybe winter conditions plays a large role (like mean temperature or soemthing).

    I also think this cultivar, which I have owned each of these 2 trees for the past 5 years, is just somewhat inconsistent at best for its amount of variegation. As best my memory serves, with the exception of last springs show, this plant shows around 30-50% variegation on the leaves with remainder being 'typical' in color and shape.

    Justin
     
  7. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    The question of Paxi:

    still remains unanswered. My new 'Ukigumo' has about half of the branches green and I wonder whether or not I should prune them off (my two other 'Ukigumos' have never displayed any kind of branch reversion, so I do not have any experience on this).

    Gomero
     
  8. jwsandal

    jwsandal Active Member

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    paxi-

    with gomeros help, let me clarify by saying it is my opinion that the 'Ukigumo' cultivar does not revert in the classic sense such as other cultivars such as 'Ao kanzashi', 'Beni shi en', or 'Butterfly' in which the reversion looks like a typical red or green palmatum of various leaf shape and much different from the cultivar leaf type

    in my honest opinion, 'Ukigumo' is rather inconsistent year to year in the amount of variegation it will have- in my opinion, after watching my 2 trees over the past 5 years, only prune your tree for shape if you so desire and hope for a better year next year-

    part of the joy and frustration with japanese maples year to year

    justin
     
  9. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    I have bought several large Ukigumo over the years. A couple Ukigumo I bought durning the winter have been disappointed in spring when they came out with mostly green leaves. In both cases pruning would not help since i would cut down 95% plus of the tree. I had them for a few years and nothing changed, they still stayed the same. Those trees have been removed and passed on to someones field tree.

    My comment is this, if you do not have a good tree it is not worth it to hope it will come back, since it most likely will not come back to the a great tree. Ukigumo are spectacular trees.
     

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  10. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    Location:
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    I have three Ukigumos: one in deep shade, another in bright filtered light, and another with some sun and filtered light. I am happy that I have not experienced any reversion whatsoever in any of these trees over 6 years' time, and I feel the one in the "bright filtered light" performs the best in terms of color. It's such an amazingly beautiful tree. I have one high on the bank of a ravine where the late sun lights it up, and it just glows like floating clouds. It's very beautiful.
    mapledia
     
  11. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Most of us in a warmer climate will have greening
    issues with the more commonly sold and nursery
    grown Ukigumo.

    We had the Japanese form from a well known
    nursery in Japan and I can safely state after being
    around this form of Ukigumo for almost 30 years
    it can be quite inconsistent with its coloring from
    year to year. We did some experimenting with
    light, nutrients and with soil pH to see if we could
    influence the amount of variegation we could see.
    With some trials we felt we could impact the amount
    or influence the variegated colors but only for the
    short term.

    We gave up selling Ukigumo around here as a
    wholesale Maple, still sold it retail as we felt we
    could not compete with some of the Oregon
    growers that were able to sell their form of
    this Maple that was able to hold its color longer
    than ours could. We always felt that Ukigumo
    does so much better colorized in an acid soil
    which meant for us, keep it in a container, but
    once planted in the ground we lost a lot of the
    variegation by around the fifth to seventh year.
    I know for some people once these trees go
    green in color with slight variegation they do
    not ever seem to get the high white and cream
    coloration back. For some Maple varieties this
    is normal in that when young and juvenile they
    tend to be much more variegated than they are
    as mature and adult trees. Mr. Vertrees alluded
    to this fact in his writings and those of us that
    have seen the same trees he wrote about knew
    exactly what he was talking about.

    I can say that the Oregon form of Ukigumo from
    certain Oregon nurseries is the form of this Maple
    that I would recommend for others to have, rather
    than the Japanese form that we had and sold for
    many years. What we saw from our tree grown
    in high light (sun) revealed more greening issues
    than the Oregon form would. I came away from
    Oregon nurseries many times wondering why our
    Maples of their form of Ukigumo never looked as
    good as theirs do in rather short order. Even as less
    as two years later we saw less variegation from our
    trees of theirs than the same aged Maples did in let's
    say Eugene and Boring, Oregon. The Western Garden
    Book
    assesses micro climate zones for a reason and
    lists where certain plants will grow better and even
    look better than other zones will. One thing we have
    to keep in mind is that cooler zones than us around
    here with Western Garden Book zones 8 and zone 9
    can have variegated Maples that look better longer
    than we do. I know after visiting several foothill
    nurseries in a WGB zone 7 that their variegated
    Maples consistently held their color longer
    than ours do in a zone 8 and zone 9, even
    from Maples they got from us. It is a
    telling story, albeit aggravating at times,
    to see just how a Ukigumo from us looks
    in Placerville, Palo Alto, Woodside, Santa
    Rosa, even Eugene, Oregon and Olympia,
    Washington, than the same Maple of ours
    looks like for us during the growing season
    here.

    Jim
     
  12. eq72521

    eq72521 Active Member

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    Location:
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    Just to add:
    My Ukigumo was lackluster last year, mostly green. Didn't touch it and it came back all nice this year. I attached the pic.
    It is a good plant for me, with little if any dieback. Proably 5 years old now.
     

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  13. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    I finally got around to taking a picture of my green ukigumo:
     

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  14. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    I had not realized there were distinct different forms of Ukigumo until Mr. Shep enlightened me on this issue. His post was wonderful, very insightful and informative, and I've been mulling over what he said. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I have 3 Ukigumos, and all are white/cream with the green dappling normally seen on this cultivar. I've not had any reversion (and hope never to have this), but all my plants come from Oregon. And like Mr. Shep stated, the Oregon forms held color better, for whatever reason. Thank you, Mr. Shep, for a really wonderful educational post. I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise.
    mapledia
     
  15. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Paxi,

    That's exactly what mine did this year. Very green with little variegation. I will wait to see if its better next year...
     
  16. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    maybe is Ukigumo variegated?
     
  17. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    Leaves on some of my ukigumo have vertually no green color to them. They will pick up more of a pink color than a green as they move into summer.
     
  18. NJACER

    NJACER Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I had not notices this thread in my visits to the forum earlier in the spring but wanted to add a comment on my observations. I thought it was quite interesting two weeks back at our spring maple gathering that four people asked about ‘Ukigumo’ not having muck variegation this year. I have two plants in the garden that were both acquired from east coast nurseries. One is 15 years old and the other 13 and both were about five gallon trees when acquired. My trees have never shown a full white appearance that is sometimes seen but have consistently held nice variegation. This year there is little to no variegation and I attribute that to the unusual winter we had on the east coast. My trees are not fertilized and I have an irrigation system so water is not an issue.

    We had warmer than normal fall temps and then starting in December lots of snow. We average about 2 to 3 inches of snow at the coast and this year we had six feet. We also did not have very cold temperatures in the winter. That combined with a very warm start to spring, temps in the nineties and high eighties would be my guess as a possible cause. Spring leaf out was two to three weeks early in my area this year. In the fifteen years of growing this cultivar I think this is the third time this has occurred. I agree with Justin that this is not reversion but just a bad year for the characteristics of this cultivar. I have never pruned out the green leaves and it returns to normal coloration on its own. I find it very interesting that people in all areas are seeing the same results on this cultivar this year.

    Ed
     
  19. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    here is a Ukigumo grown in the Vancouver WA area, it is similar to one I showed in another post
     

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