Coral Bark maple selction help

Discussion in 'Maples' started by j0nd03, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. j0nd03

    j0nd03 Member

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    Greenwood, AR
    I live in west central Arkansas near the AR/OK border. We have hot HOT summers with more than 30 triple digit days last summer that are usually very dry. I think the average June/July/August precip is less than 10" but can be as low as a couple of inches or if a stray thunderstorm comes my way, much higher than the surrounding area. We have clay loam soil with decent drainage that has been pasture land for at least 5 decades. I also live in a small valley and the microclimate around the house makes me prone to late freezes even if a mile away never frosts. Lastly, most of the area around the house if full sun nearly all day.

    Now the fun part! I would really like a coral bark or two at my house. I would prefer to plant them in the ground but am open to container planting on the front porch with a southern exposure that gets shaded by an awning most of the day. I saw some Sango Kaku leafing out at a local nursery very early in the season yesterday and they were incredible! They were protected in a sort of greenhouse and the other cultivars of japanese maples had barely swollen buds if any at all. I think this alone would make them suffer at my house due to the late freezes we get. I would like some suggestions for coral bark cultivars that would do well in my location (if any exist).


  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    Won't work if site very hot and dry for significant periods in summer. Water cannot be too hard either. Wild Japanese maple woodland tree from monsoonal southeast Asia, humid summer with buckets of rain what it is adapted to - and will often be growing in shade of larger trees in nature.

    Even here in the dullest part of the US Japanese maple cultivars fade and burn in summer if position not cool and humid enough during hottest weather.
  3. j0nd03

    j0nd03 Member

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    Greenwood, AR
    Well there are specimens that have done pretty well around my area. A neighbor about a mile down the road has a huge Emperor I or similar on the north side of his house that is probably around 9+ hrs sun per day in the middle of summer. I have not seen any coral barks with size however.

    Thanks Ron
  4. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Yes, you can grow Sango kaku, Senkaki, Waka momiji
    Red stem and Beni kawa where you are located but
    there are a few obstacles that you will have to overcome
    before these plants can better adapt to your location.
    As always in a location similar to ours there are risks
    that we have to face up to and do something about
    before we can be successful growing these Maples
    in an environ contrary to where they would prefer to
    grow in.

    You will have to give these trees a steady supply of
    water, through auxiliary irrigation such as sprinkler
    watering such as overhead sprinklers or ground based
    sprinklers if you are not wanting to garden hose water
    your Maples just to sustain them. Drip irrigation,
    depending on how many emitters, amount of water
    applied by each emitter and the type of emitter
    on a drip line may not be ample enough as a
    a standalone to allow adequate water penetration
    down far enough to the roots and root zone to be of
    much help. Otherwise, you might have to give your
    in ground trees a hose "drink" or two even every
    day during the hot Summer months just to better
    ensure water percolation for these trees until
    they better adapt. Once the trees adapt you
    can water less frequently but until then the
    amount of water applied and how often you
    water will better determine how successful
    you will be, whether the trees are in ground
    or grown in containers. Go back in time
    and look at some of the trees we have in
    the ground in olden day threads in this
    forum that reside in a location that annually
    gets less than 10 inches of precipitation a
    year that is every bit as hot as you are there.
    You will even see a red leafed Maple
    growing right in harms way directly into the
    warmest portion of the yard, facing due West
    right into the hot winds and hottest sun of
    the day.

    Clay soils are not so much of an issue with good
    to decent drainage. What will be a larger concern
    is salt accumulation in the soil as well as salts
    in the water to be applied to the plant. If your
    water is neutral with or without minerals, even
    Lime content in the water, then you should be
    okay. The pH of the soil becomes very important
    for you there. If your soil is alkaline, whereby
    the soil pH is 8.5 or above then you might have
    a dogfight to get these trees to settle in, look
    good and grow well for you. A soil pH of neutral
    7 to saline 8.5 is one that you can manage
    your trees a whole lot better without the signs
    of continual salt burn to the leaves. Your trees
    without some wind protection from your prevailing
    wind direction can cause severe wind burn to the
    leaves until these trees better adapt. In a front
    porch with a protective awning facing South
    suggests to me these trees will be in containers,
    which may be better suited for you to grow
    these trees in containers for a while prior to
    your wanting to plant these trees in the ground.
    An eastern exposure with early to mid afternoon
    wind protection is best for the Coral Barks
    around here. They can do well in time grown
    out in the open landscape like they were in
    ground at the nursery in such an exposure.

    For more information on soils, plant selection,
    water application and site preparation check
    with your nearest Cooperative Extension
    service through the University of Arkansas
    or check with Aggie Horticulture through
    Texas A&M University.

  5. j0nd03

    j0nd03 Member

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    Greenwood, AR
    Thank you for the well thought out response, Jim. I really appreciate it. I am having soil samples sent off this week for a nutrient assessment and to determine the ph.
  6. j0nd03

    j0nd03 Member

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    Greenwood, AR
    I recently purchased a small rooted cutting of 'Sango Kaku'. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the hardiness of the root system compared to the species acer palmatum they are usually grafted on to. I will have it potted in a net pot for the next year to grow a more fibrous root system. I figure this will be a cheap investment to "test the waters" with coral bark maples in my area.


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