drooping leaves on bloodgood maple

Discussion in 'Maples' started by yvette, May 21, 2020.

  1. yvette

    yvette Member

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    I have a young bloodgood maple planted two years ago. It has looked very good for two years and is about 8 ft tall . I have clay soil and think the tree may have received too much water . Instead of splaying out horizontally the leaves are hanging at about a 30 degree angle and a couple of them have curled up. Is there anything I can do for it except hope that it stops raining.
    thanks
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Japanese maples are touchy about drainage, if it has become diseased there's nothing you can do now. Otherwise the answer of course is to move it to a better draining position or do something to make the existing spot less damp.
     
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  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    @yvette, I live in an area of heavy clay soil and I love maples, so twice a year I add grit and compost to my garden to help drainage. (42 years have been doing this and will continue to do so ). Even so some of mine have struggled this Spring due to the exceptional Winter and early Spring rainfall, resulting in oxygen starvation to the roots.
    Japanese maples like their roots to be damp but not wet and they should be allowed to dry out between watering.
    In your situation as mine, you must consider helping the drainage for your tree as soon as possible. Also if the soil around your Bloodgood has compacted, I reccomend gently spiking and loosening the surface area. Japanese maples are shallow rooting trees so you do not have to spike very deeply at all.
    The rule of thumb IMO for a healthy plant is to replicate a plant/tree natural conditions as best you can. You will then give it every chance of survival.
     
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  4. yvette

    yvette Member

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    thanks for your help!
     
  5. yvette

    yvette Member

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    My quandary now is do I risk mucking around in the root system to see if there is a drainage problem? There is a rhodo only 1.5 feet away which is growing well and I have only been here 4 years but I have added compost every year. Is the drooping of the leaves definitely a sign of too much water? Drier days are coming so maybe it is safer to leave it at this point and hope it will recover??
     
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    @yvette, IMO I would still gently spike around the base now. It will do it no harm. Then in the Autumn you can start to do more work on the drainage. After a lot of rain, then a dry spell, clay sets solid so no oxygen or water can easily get to the roots.
    Your tree will become dormant in the Autumn, so even lifting it to sort out the drainage and replanting is not a problem. I lift and move some of my maples successfully in September and October that have outgrown a space. Re the drooping leaves, maples need very good drainage and on clay soil with lots of rain your symptoms point to that.
    You say you have added compost, but have you added grit. You need to break up the clay to allow your maple to breath and the water to drain well. Compost alone will not do that. My ratio is 5 to 1 in favour of grit.
    Re your Rhododendron, over here it has become a menace, it grows absolutely anywhere. So there is no comparison with your maple IMO.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Increasing sand (or grit) content of a volume of soil has no effect on drainage until the point where the modified soil has a finished sand content of more than half. And a small area of coarser soil in the midst of a larger area of damp heavy clay may end up becoming a collection point for water, in the manner of a sump.
     
  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    @Ron B, Hi Ron, totally agree with your comments. I myself have removed tons and tons of clay over a 42 year period, replacing it with good compost, topsoil and horticultural grit. I have also incorporated a French drain.
    When I started with maples in 1978, I made mistakes in the size of the planting hole, but I soon learned that as long as I made a square hole 3 times the circumference of my tree pot and back filling with top soil, grit and compost my maples did very well.
    Even now, twice yearly I dig in grit and compost. It is an ongoing procedure on clay soil. Don't think I'll ever stop tbh.
     
  9. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Acerholic - Is it specifically Rhododendron ponticum you're talking about or do you consider all rhodos to be menaces? Rhododendrons are very popular here in SW BC where they grow so well. I don't know why R. ponticum hasn't become invasive here as it has in the UK.
     
  10. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    @Margot, Hi Margot, to your question, councils have been removing large amount of Rhodedenron ponticum as they are highly invasive. It destroys habitats and thus whole colonies of native plants and animals dissapear. It is a non native species to the UK.
    This is all listed on the UK Countryside info site. It is on the verge of being classified as a weed in UK.
    But IMO it is so beautiful.
     
  11. yvette

    yvette Member

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    thank you! I will do what I can now and move it in the fall. I am encouraged that you think it will last until the fall. I only mentioned the rhododendron which is definitely not a menace here lol because they do not like sitting in wet soil either.
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Poking holes isn't likely to do much for aeration of the site - at least not enough to save the plant if it is in fact taking a nose dive. And damaging the roots of Japanese and related maples can admit verticillium.

    The common Pontic rhododendron of Britain and n. Europe is often likely to be of hybrid origin, more of a beast therefore than true R. ponticum.
     
  13. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    Whichever Pontic rhododendron it is that grows so aggressively in Britain, do you know why it hasn't also taken over here? I know my great grandmother and others were growing R. ponticum in Vancouver in the early- to mid-1900s so it's had lots of opportunity to self seed. I'd love to know why it hasn't when you'd think the growing conditions in BC must be as favourable as they are in Britain. Given a choice, I'd prefer it to Broom.
     
  14. vbx

    vbx Member

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    There is a guy on youtube who claimed humic acid turned his clay soil into something plants can thrive in. He posted his results after 2 years.

     
  15. yvette

    yvette Member

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    Thank you! Never heard of it but I want to try it!
     

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