Digging up Japanese maple?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Dsm1gb, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    Hi everyone. I don’t post much just lurk, but

    I now have a collection of about 20 Japanese maples, with 7 of them planted in the ground, and the rest in pots.

    I however don’t own the land, just the mobile it sits on and was thinking about taking the plunge and buying a house.

    Is it possible to dig my Japanese maples up and take them with me? Is there a specific time of year (like winter) or way to do this without harm or is there always a risk?

    If it’s going to harm them I’m just going to leave them and let them be for the next person, although I seriously don’t want to do that.

    Thank you in advance
     
  2. Geezer840

    Geezer840 Active Member

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    Japanese maples of any size can be moved safely but the work involved for large trees may be significant and the risk increases with the size. Maples typically do not have deep tap roots and depend mainly on fine surface roots and a moderate amount of medium roots below the trunk of the tree. If you can mange to dig around the drip line of the tree and gather the root ball in cloth or burlap and move it mostly intact you should be able to safely relocate it. Be careful to minimize drying the roots before replanting. I recommend transplanting in fall or in early spring. I have moved small trees in summer or winter but suggest avoiding this if possible. If you will not be able to dig out the trees and plant immediately I suggest digging out in the fall and using sawdust to protect the root ball until you can plant.
    I hope this helps. Good luck.
     
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  3. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    Thank you for your response. These are pretty small trees the biggest is about 8 feet tall.

    As for the saw dust part, just to clarify do you mean I put it in a container with sawdust?
     
  4. Geezer840

    Geezer840 Active Member

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    If balled trees are left without water for an extended period of time they can die. If they are not put into pots or the ground there is a need to keep them from drying out. One method is to take the balled trees and dump sawdust on top of the balls, deep enough to come to the top of the ball, and keep the sawdust wet. This is used frequently in nurseries when balled trees are staged in lots for sale for unknown periods of time. Sawdust can usually be obtained from tree trimming companies, often for no charge. I'm sure there are other means of achieving the same end.
     
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  5. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    Thank you for the information!
     
  6. AlainK

    AlainK Well-Known Member Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Here, I repot or dig out trees in late winter most of the time, just before budbreak.

    But I think your climate is milder (? : people here imagine California as if it was like sunset boulevard everywhere!)

    Here, it was a mild winter overall, but we had a cold period just as buds were swelling on lots of trees, with temps around -10° C for several days, so I was fortunate not to have time do do that this year...

    If you have a rather mild autumn, maybe it's better to transplant after leaf fall. the roots are still active until it freezes, and they will develop if there's a period of warmer weather in late winter, so the tree will be better established when spring comes. If there's a cold snap, a layer of mulch or any kind of like protection should do.

    20°C today, exceptionally warm, and they forecast 22-24 tomorrow ^^
     
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  7. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    Thanks for your reply.

    I’m in a high “desert” valley (zone 7b) at 4500 ft with a 14,000 ft mountain range surrounding us. we get all 4 seasons, it’s nothing like the California people imagine. In fact we’re hardly even recognized on the map .

    It was almost 80 F during the day a week ago but dropped down to around 37 F the last couple nights. Most of my (in the ground) maples have leafed out almosts completely. Some in the pots are just starting, while others are still waiting. I don’t know if this pertains from tree to tree? Or the type of conditions etc.

    I have not used any type of fertilizer, I’m afraid to in fact, but I’ll have to do some more research on the type of fertilizer for the potted maples as this is there second year that I’ve had them in pots.
     
  8. emery

    emery Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi there, some maples leaf out earlier than others for sure. Some can be really late, too, I have some pots that where the buds aren't even swelling yet.

    So I do think you can take most of your trees with you when you move. The ones in pots should be no problem, but do remember that they need to be covered, otherwise the wind from (say) the back of a pickup will dry out and kill the branches. Whether they've got leaves or not when you move them, if you can stick them in a closed vehicle it's better, or at worst, cover them with burlap or some kind of tarp. Be careful they don't sit and cook in the sun during moving!

    I'd try and dig up what I could, and get everything into pots now where possible, if I had to move before next winter. Otherwise, wait until they lose their leaves and do it then.

    Good luck, moving is no fun.

    -E
     
  9. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I have found over the years that JM will take as much stress and pain that you wish to throw at them , i dig up various cultivars through out the season (May to November) root/branch prune re pot etc and find that they don't suffer in any way shape or form and 99% of the time they look better for the work carried out on them, the other 1% might take till the following year to come back to normal but come back they do.

    Added pics of three seperate cultivars which had major branch and root prunes last year in June , July and November and all of these have suffered no problems what so ever despite having one of our worst winters on record for many a year.

    First group pics Murasaki Kiyohime done on the 14/06/17 in the ground for 6 years lower half of tree removed, then top half shaped with hedge clippers note the deep cuts on the branches lifted root pruned and placed in 40ltr pot
    Second group Kashima exactly then same method 6/07/17 note the size of the root ball placed into 80ltr pot
    Last set Osakazuki 17/11/17 this was the easiest of the three to do took most of the main anchor roots of then straight into 80ltr pot , roughly spent 2 hours on each tree from start to finish.

    Plus during the month of October i also did another 14 trees and all have no issues this season great new leaf and growth , i find a lot of people are scared of doing any type of maintinence work on their JM and just tend to leave them in the pots they bring them home in from the garden centres and think they will be fine not realising that containerised JM and ground grown trees do need work doing on them at some point in time to keep them fit and healthy otherwise they will develop problems.

    I also think that costs play a lot in peoples minds not wanting to damage in any way their at some times quite expensive purchase from the garden centre , you have to be brutal with them to be kind it helps them in the long term which is what we are all trying to acheive with our trees , it never ceases to amaze me just how much cutting lopping pruning of JM you can do with out inflicting damage.

    So i wouldn't be scared of digging your trees up and re sighting them to your new home you should have no problems , let me put it this way if i ever moved believe you me every single tree will be coming with me !!!!
     

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  10. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    Wow thank you for the information. I never would have thought about root pruning inground JM’s

    Is there a specific way to do this? I’ve always been scared to even wiggle the roots free before planting. I’ll have to read up on it. Most of my containerized JM’s I’ve already moved to the ground because I was under the assumption they like the ground better.

    You’ve got some beautiful JM’s thank you for sharing!
     
  11. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I was exactly like you when i first started with JM read all the books asked all the questions etc and merrily planted away numerous cultivars and waited to see these lovely trees turn into things of wonderous colourful delights , well the vast majority of the trees will do exactly what it say's on the ticket no problems, but you will find some trees won't for some reason turn into the described colours which they should why i have not the faintest idea?

    One thing to take into consideration are my zone and continent are completely different to yours , this will probably have a bearing on the work you can undertake.

    So what i found out was if i left them in the ground for xx period of years yes they would grow as all trees should in the ground, then when they reached a point where i was happy with the size and shape of the tree i would lift them containerise them and then low and behold the following year i would see these amazing spring and fall colours which i had never seen before ? , so this is why i am constantly lifting my trees through out the seasons always trying to think ahead. Have dozens of various reticulated cultivars now these fascinate me on how to get the right colours to show through out the season , think i am finally getting there purely down to light and shade.

    In 2010 bought a pretty Tsuri nishiki in a 8ltr pot lovely fall red and gold colours re potted for the following year same again even better colours (see pic) great lets put this in the ground this will look stunning in 2012 well it's never shown any colour again come the following fall seasons , so i left it alone to grow which it has lovely shape on it now, lifted this last year after another colourless no show so hopefully we will see the colours return this fall.

    See pics of the Tsuri nishiki included of the lifting and root pruning plus the tree as of yesterday looks ok to me at present.

    Have a large Kamagata pic 9 which is coming up shortly , in the ground for 6 years not shown any interesting colours for spring or fall but the container ones which i have had one or two over the years are completley opposite to the ground ones, always show good spring defintion on the leaves and stunning fall colours.

    Pic 8 potted kamagata spring 2017 which regretably i sold soon after (doh) and pic 9 my ground tree today looks ok but not as good as the potted one. Have just let this grow to a stage where i am happy to lift knowning it's reached a good shape over the years and will look very nice next year in it's new pot.

    So when i get round to lifting (currently doing lots of work in the front garden non JM related ) maybe in a couple of months time, i will take pics from digging up to re potting and you will see how straight forward it can be , nothing to be scared of , just try one and see how you get on think you will be supprised i was!!

    ..Mark
     

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  12. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    Thank you for the reply,love the pictures and information!

    So you even root prune when the tree is not dormant? Is it basically spreading the roots and cutting the ends off? How will I know which to prune and which to leave alone?

    I know this is sort of off the topic but some of my trees that were red on arrival are completely green the next season and so forth. I’m wondering in my particular case if this is due to a lighting issue or just like you said different from year to year? I’m always giving them more shade then sun my climate is 7B

    Do you use any fertilizer? The concensous I’ve read is no, but some people advise a very small amount particular to JM, Have yet to even get to that point.
     
  13. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Yes i even root prune when not dormant , the vast majority though are always done when the leaves drop so all my pruning is done in late Autumn early winter don't forget we have a much milder winters here in the UK but saying that we have just had one of the worst winters for many a year , even now at night times it's still cold i had to bring all my hanging baskets and bedding plants in last night for fear of a frost !!

    Added some more pics again of a Peve Chameleon which i did last year and this one shows you just how much fibreous roots can grow in your pots ,thought this one looked ok at first then i just teased the medium to have a look at the roots and they just cascaded down couldn't believe how much came out of a medium sized pot. The dustbin is over two foot tall and the roots nearly touch the floor , then it's just basically gently combing all the root strands away from the main root ball and trying not to go underneath and damaging the main feeder roots , once it's all flowing down you just trim them all away and you are left with a nicely trimmed root ball ready for re potting.

    Pic 4 placing the tree in new growing medium and new larger pot, gave a good watering first to the ball and dusted with mycrohyzal powder to promote new root stimulation and re growth cover up with the medium and a good layer of pine bark nuggets on the top for protection.

    Pic 5 Same tree today again has taken nicely, usually looks at it's best around June time nice easy job to undertake only takes about 30 minutes to do.

    Fertilizers just use a basic osmocote mixed in with my growing medium can't say that it will have much affect with the tree in it's dormant stage but this is the only time i use any.

    Will give all the containerised trees a good feed in the spring though with a liquid seaweed sollution , then basically all my trees are left alone to their own resources and just watered when needed works well over the years with no problems.

    For the light and shade question all i can say is you just have to try solve this one yourself , it really is a case of trial and error over a period of years of moving different cultivars into areas of light and shade and find out where they are more productive in , added three more pictures of my garden where everything is broken down into the top of the garden is the more sunniest the back of the house is the most darkest and shadiest and behind my workshop is a mixture of both but tends to be more on the shadier side come late afternoon so there are eight ground trees planted there which are thriving at present Ghost's and other various reticulates.

    The last pic at the rear of the house is again ghosts and numerous other reticulates , you can see the sun setting in the west above the houses and this will occur from 6.00pm till around 8.30pm when this pic was taken and this just allows enough sun on them without the intense heat which will cause havoc on the leaves and then these will go all through the season without any problems and then they will provide good fall colourations.

    Hope this helps in some way it's a long waiting game with JM and you will be amazed how many curve balls they can throw at you over the years :) ...Mark
     

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  14. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    Wow your backyard is like Heaven! So amazing! thank you for showing me, and thank you for the great info!
     
  15. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Well after six years in the ground with no fall colours look what happens when you re lift root prune and containerise , back come the colours.

    Not all maples like to be ground planted i have found over the years, this is about the sixth tree now i have re planted back into containers and the following fall colours have all been stunning compared to the non descript ground grown colours of previous years.

    Have more re lifted trees which are colouring up nicely at present and will post later when they are fully out.
     

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  16. Dsm1gb

    Dsm1gb New Member

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    Wow stunning. Thanks for returning and adding content to the thread! I wish mine would look like that in fall. Mine don’t usually show color this time of year.. a few start to but it’s more or less they just end up turning brown before I can catch the true beauty.

    Partly I think it’s due to my regions climate,it’s hot and then fall hits and all the sudden night/morning temps drop quick for a few days, even to needing the stove lit,but then turn back to warm and almost hot again which causes stress. Just my opinion or I’m doing something wrong.

    I was also under the impression that every tree preferred the ground?
     

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