Dwarf Maples

Discussion in 'Maples' started by krautz33, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. krautz33

    krautz33 Active Member 10 Years

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    I was looking to place some dwarf maples around my new pond. In picture 1, I was going to go with Murasaki Kyohime. The tree would go to left of the pine. Red Pygmy is behind the spot and Omureyama is to the left of it.

    In picture 2, I am lost. There is a Sekimori maple directly behind the spot I was looking to place the maple. The maple would go in the hole dug out in the middle of the rocks.

    If anyone has any ideas, please share.

    Thank You in advance

    Mike
     

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  2. yweride

    yweride Active Member 10 Years

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    What kind of color are you looking for, red, green, etc?
     
  3. krautz33

    krautz33 Active Member 10 Years

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    I would like a red dwarf.
     
  4. thebronze

    thebronze Member

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    Mike, what kind of pine is that?
    I've been looking for something similar.
     
  5. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Acer palmatum 'Aratama'
    Acer palmatum 'Beni hoshi'
     
  6. krautz33

    krautz33 Active Member 10 Years

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    I just planted a good sized Beni Hoshi this fall. Maybe I will move it in the spring to that area. That area gets full sun, will Beni Hoshi be okay in full sun?

    Thanks for the reply


    Mike
     
  7. krautz33

    krautz33 Active Member 10 Years

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    Beni Hoshi that I planted this fall.
     

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  8. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Beni hoshi will do pretty well in the full sun. I have seen some 15 year old plants grown in larger nursery containers in full sun on top of back weed fabric. The plants will bronze some, so don't expect the red to hold. I don't remember seeing any leaf dessciation, but some margin burn. Honestly, for their location they looked very good. The trade-off is that in shade, the green will really come through in this plant and the fall colors will be poor. I think you will be better off if you push the sun exposure rather than baby it.

    Good Luck.

    There are lots of other semi-dwarfs in Brandt's Dwarf, Carlis Corner Broom, Elizabeth, Sara -D (more green), Shaina. I consider many of these equivalent for disscussion purposes, as it will be a matter of what you can find. A nice red leaved matsumarae is Azuma murasaki if you are not growing it or Oregon Sunset. Both larger than the so-called brooms.

    MJH
     
  9. carbluesnake

    carbluesnake Active Member

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    Pixie is one that may work for you. It is similar to Bloodgood but won't get much larger that 6'. Shaina is another one of about the same size, but is a little more orange than red.
     
  10. Dale B.

    Dale B. Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    My favorite dwarf is 'Beni Hemi'. It stays small and does well in the sun. Most of the pictures that you see don't do the colors justice. The leaves at the tips of the branches stay red well into fall.
     
  11. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Placing a Maple that close to the Pine
    is the bigger problem as the spot almost
    precludes an upright growing Maple as
    the Maple and the Pine will compete for
    space. What you want is either a low
    growing, spreading dwarf like Kiyohime
    akame, Koi kiyohime or a Kashima
    yatsubusa, a low grafted, low growing
    and spreading dissectum such as Ornatum
    or Red Select, a low growing, willowy
    and spreading dwarf like Otome zakura,
    or a low growing, mounding semi-dwarf
    such as Jiro shidare or true form Bonfire
    that makes a nice, almost square shaped
    (4' x 4-6' ) mound for that spot. A "true
    bonsai" dwarf, mounding plant may be
    ideal and Shishigashira no yatsubusa will
    work fine there.

    If red, pink, orange or bronze red color
    is more important than shape and eventual
    size, then Aratama as Michael suggests is
    the right Maple. A good choice also is Beni
    yatsubusa or even the true form Wilson's
    Pink dwarf. The old Whitney Red may not
    be a bad choice either or the more commonly
    seen semi-dwarf form of Otome zakura. Even
    a Beni otome, Ueno homare or Ueno yama
    can work there also.

    Any of the above along with the names already
    mentioned will work for the second spot but
    if it were me I would go with a low growing
    Ornatum, a low grafted Red Select or a Jiro
    shidare under the Sekimori. Although of the
    two spots the second location is better for the
    Murasaki kiyohime, Kiyohime or even a
    Kurohime, Hime yatsubusa, Otohime, Chiba,
    Kashima, Ueno yatsubusa, Coonara Pygmy,
    Sharp's Pygmy or even a Kamagata. If you
    like color go with a Hime tsuma gaki or go
    with a Kaga o beni or a Manyo no sato if
    you can find any of them.

    A lot depends on availability. I have been
    referencing true forms which are not always
    seen or have been made available from our
    nursery sources yet.

    Beni hime cannot handle our warm temperatures
    here but there is a semi-dwarf form that has been
    around in nurseries since the early 90's that is much
    better suited for us. We had both forms in the Maple
    collection. The true dwarf form is a natural bonsai
    plant and has leaves about thumbnail size and smaller.
    They cannot handle sustained foggy weather, warm
    or cold winds as the leaves will just shrivel up on us
    big time. It is a choice plant for collections if we
    protect it from the hot afternoon sun and wind. I've
    been through 3 of them, lost two in containers, one
    young (about 5 years later), one older (about 12 years
    later), hedged my bet and planted the last one before
    the two container plants died out. It has been in the
    ground for 18 years and is only about 3' tall and
    about 4' wide.

    Jim
     
  12. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Here is some advice to better learn the dwarf
    types. I recommend having the Vertrees 2nd
    edition Japanese Maples book and study how
    Mr. Vertrees grouped the Japanese Maples into
    their corresponding groups. There are some
    crossovers in that some of the unusual feature
    Maples are dwarf forms and some are semi-dwarf
    in nature. Another thing to consider is that it can
    be argued that any Japanese Maple that will grow
    under 20' tall at maturity can be considered a
    semi-dwarf. I did not make this generalization
    so either save or point your comments to someone
    else. For how I learned these plants the Maple has
    to be under 15' for me to consider it a semi-dwarf
    and for a long time I was told no taller than 12' but
    we have some of these plants due to our number of
    growth cycles in a year that can indeed get up to
    15 or more feet tall when many areas only see
    them get up to 9 feet tall at maturity. Another
    thing to consider is that not all of the trees Mr.
    Vertrees references or shows photos of were
    his plants which gives rise to slight errors in
    the descriptions when the information was
    edited. Then when some of that information
    was paraphrased in the newer edition of the
    Vertrees/Gregory book those errors of
    enthusiasm as they were not made on purpose
    become compounded even more. It is a risk
    the author takes when they write about a plant
    they do not know very well and have not ever
    grown and in some cases never actually seen.

    To apply Japanese Maples in a landscape requires
    us to have knowledge of the eventual sizes at
    maturity. We have to know will the shape we
    want the plant to be for us work in that particular
    spot. Going out an buying names of Maples will
    not help us here as the name of the Maple itself
    is the least helpful to us. It helps to know the
    name of the Maple but so many times the plant
    we are buying is not what we end up getting.
    The plant may be similar to the name on the
    tag but there can be great disparity in what the
    Maple will end up becoming for us for size
    and shape. Bonfire originated from a California
    nursery and is not mainstream in the nursery
    trade. The first Maple to come into the US
    of this series long before Europe had this
    Maple that did become mainstream was Seigai
    and now no one seems to know what this Maple
    looks like other than some select people in
    Japan. Later Akaji nishiki came in from Japan
    and it became the nursery industry standard
    plant but is marketed much of the time as
    Bonfire. The growth habits of these three
    Maples are all indeed different as one can
    get up to about 9-12 feet tall, one will only
    get up to about 6 feet tall at maturity and then
    start to grow wider and one will be a blocky
    4 foot tall by 4-6 feet wide at its maturity.
    Oddly enough the 6' tall form is the faster
    grower when young and then fills in later
    once it reaches a certain height for it. You
    have to see it grown in more than one
    location such as in a few areas in Oregon
    and perhaps Washington as well and in
    Japan to know how this Maple behaves.

    In regards to Beni hime let me point out
    that the true dwarf form has been confined
    to collections. This form has not been
    propagated for resale and when it was
    propagated it was destined for select
    collections here in the US and in Japan
    only.

    What we see on the Esveld web site
    is the semi-dwarf form which is the
    more commonly seen form for a rather
    rare Maple to start with. It is the
    semi-dwarf form that was propagated
    in the nursery by grafting, not the
    true dwarf form as that form was
    only propagated by cuttings to retain
    the dainty and delicate size of it.
    Don Kleim did outlet some of the
    dwarf form cuttings to a few Oregon
    grower/collectors but they had real
    problems grafting this form also as
    their scion takes were a paltry
    percentage and then when grafted
    onto non dwarfing rootstock their
    plants no longer were the true dwarf
    but became the semi-dwarf form
    instead. The leaves became much
    larger in size and so did the size of
    the plants. When some of these plants
    can get up to 9-12 feet tall they are
    no longer a dwarf.

    Jim
     
  13. Dale B.

    Dale B. Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    My source for my 'Beni Hemi' scion wood is 35 years old and 30" tall. It has done very well in the heat of Atlanta, GA in near full sun. My grafts onto standard palmatum rootstock seem to exhibit the same traits as the scion source although I have only been grafting it for 6 years or so. The leaves are about the size of a dime. My grafting success has been good. I believe that the problem that most people have in grafting this dwarf is that the scion caliper is very small. I find that it is easier to graft it on young rootstock with a caliper of 1/8" or so.

    Dale
     
  14. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I had not thought of using Kamagata in that spot, but I think that would be quite nice. The plant is pretty tolerant and if one finds the right shape plant it you be ideal. We got ours as a liner and the leader was bent just a bit above the union, to almost 90 degrees, so that it grows outward. Next to a pond, this shape is very nice. Our Aratama is also grafted very low and has a couple strong leaders that give it a strong lateral habit at a young age.

    People often think of dissectums for overhaning ponds and such, but a dwarf or semi-dwarf maple with the right form can be striking also. I saw that your Beni hoshi is pretty upright now, as are the ones I have seen, very tall shrubs. Now the one I have has a main leader that is arching outward. The grower said he would have clipped it back for scion wood, but I have let it go. While in time, it will fill in to be more upright, I like the idea of being able to prune it to keep its "alternative" shape.

    The dwarf forms that Jim mentions are quite ideal where dwarfs are needed, but I think he is correct that many of the true dwarf forms of popular maples are hard to find. I have yet to find Bonfire in Oregon, we don't see Beni yatsubusa sold, and when we run into a Wilson's Pink or Otome zarkura, that is a great likelihood it will not be the correct plant. I think this speaks to the fact that many of the dwarf forms of maples, like other maples, can look so similar at certain times of the year that they are hard to tell apart. Once mixed up, it is rare that they are straightened out. In the dead of this past summer I was talking with a grower about two plants he had, one bought as Akaji nishiki and the other as Wilson's Pink. While we tried to sort it out, they both looked the same to me. I think it is quite likely they were.

    Dale,
    A 30ft Beni hime? Wow. Maybe some plant steroids in its past. The small Beni hime I have has only one desire and that is to head toward the ground. All of its long slender chutes have a very lateral and downward curvature. It will be interesting to see when it decides to grow upward.
     
  15. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Here is a photo of the Kamagata I mentioned.
     

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  16. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Beni hime came about as a sport from another
    Maple in Japan. Don Kleim did not get his plant
    until 1977, the same time he got the dwarf form
    Otome zakura. The original Okukuji nishiki that
    came into the US in the early 80's was also a dwarf
    and the one thing all three of these plants have in
    common is we changed them by grafting them. To
    keep them dwarfed down, as they looked when they
    came into the US, they had to be propagated by
    cuttings.

    I'd like to see some photos of the larger* Maple
    Dale referenced. I should know it from seeing
    some photos of it.

    The sourcing of Japanese Maples in the South
    becomes real important to know as the original
    plants all revert back to one of four nurseries.
    Two on the East Coast (Pennsylvania) and two
    on the West Coast (California). Another primary
    source for collection material was in Maryland
    but that source was not a nursery per say but was
    more specialized in japonicum and their related
    species forms of palmatum type Maples. The
    original filicifolium came into that source back
    in the late teens as an example.

    Yes, Michael, I know about Akaji nishiki and
    Wilson's Pink dwarf in certain locales in Oregon.
    If people knew the growth habits of both Maples
    then they could concentrate on the shapes of the
    leaves and the colors of the foliage in a growing
    season. I will admit though when we are dealing
    with plants 7 years or less in age it can be rather
    troublesome on people to sort out some of these
    Maples without having a bona fide stock plant to
    use as a base. This is precisely the area where
    some of the Maples became misnamed as people
    wanted wood from a grower/collector to graft but
    they had no "control" plant, a stock plant on hand
    to base or compare their grafted plants to, to
    confirm or deny what they had. Then when the
    wood got mixed up and the labels on the wood lost
    during shipment it became a nightmare scenario
    for some people with some of the names. I will
    say that there were some collectors that knew
    something was not right and went back through
    and tracked names down, drove down to J.D.'s
    more than once to see his plants to better know
    what their grafted plants were but many of the
    mom and pop operations that became interested
    in having Japanese Maples after J.D.'s book came
    out did not do that but instead relied on others to
    tell them what they had. When someone told
    them their plant was an Asahi zuru when it was a
    Versicolor what name do you think the Maple was
    sold as in their nursery? Even the old form Asahi
    zuru is seldom seen today (the variant form of it
    is more commonly seen) but the Waka momiji
    variegated which has much more pink in the
    leaves in the Spring and more pink during the
    growing season with little to no white in the
    leaves is still around, thank goodness but online
    it is also misnamed. To better know which is the
    right plant a person has to go back the original
    sources that had the plant come in from Japan.
    J.D. got his Asahi zuru from someone else as
    an example but he did have the right Maple.

    Jim

    * I messed up on the height of Dale's plant
    also in regards to yweride's comment to
    mjh1676. There is another dwarf that came
    to us out of Japan similar to Beni hime but
    it is exceptionally rare to find anywhere.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2005
  17. yweride

    yweride Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    mjh1676, you have misread dales post, 30 inches not 30 feet. As far as a height of any grafted maple it really depends on a number of factors, such as height of the graft union and if staking or pruning has been done.

    Beni hime is one of my personal favorite plants no doubt; the largest one I have seen is about 30 years old and is 4 feet tall, this plant being from a low graft of course.
     
  18. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Hi,

    What about Baby lace? Michael has a very nice pic of it in the gallery. I saw this cultivar at a local nursery and it was really cute. I would've bought, but the 1 gal. pot had $50 written on it!...and the tree was TINY. Still...it was real cute. That might fit your spot and give you the color you're looking for?

    Layne
     
  19. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Sorry Dale,

    If I look at the LCD monitor too long my contacts go south and then the " looks much like '. I all make more sense now. Contacts still giving me trouble.

    Layne,

    I like Baby Lace a great deal as far as a dwarf dissected form, but I don't think I would put it in the open like that. Something with more substance in the leaf would make a better statement in my mind. Now if we could protect Baby Lace a little in the landscape, then go for it. It is pretty tough, but I am not sure what it can handle. And you are right, they typically are small--growing only a few inches a year. The other problem I have seen with them is for some reason they don't force a very good root system. They seem to be a bit unstable in the trunk and near the soil line for some years. It doesn't make sense, but it appears to happen often.
     
  20. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Hi Michael,

    One of the interesting things at this nursery where I saw this Baby lace was that it was one of the very few maples that survived the later summer heatwave we experienced here in Los Angeles. It was a mild summer and my potted maples were doing well even after I moved to a sunnier west facing location. But then we got hit with a short, intense heatwave in late summer that did a number on my and friends' potted maples.

    The Japanese maples around town that grow in the ground faired much better...better even than last summer, even after the heatwave. However, all the maples at this nursery showed signs of heat stress. My friend was so disappointed saying that just a few weeks ago all the maples looked magnificent. They had unbelievable Butterfly and Shishigashira in HUGE boxes...that were burned. The only maples that looked good were the Sango kaku in boxes and plastic pots and this cute little 1 gal. Baby lace.

    I don't know the summertime conditions where Mike is in PA, but the sun and heat shouldn't be as intense as it can get here in LA...at least I think.

    Layne
     
  21. Metro Maples

    Metro Maples Member Maple Society

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    Location:
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    Here's my choice: Coonora Pygmy. Takes the heat and sun better than any dwarf and is spectacular in fall. Its small palmate leaf would look good next to that prickly pine. Shaina is also good. Oregon Sunset is also nice but would need pruning to keep it smaller, it grows all summer in warm sun. I also like Mikawa yatsubusa but would be hard to find one of any size.
     
  22. carbluesnake

    carbluesnake Active Member

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    Location:
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    Coonara Pygmy is a great choice. Metro, why didn't I think of that? The little leaves will make a great texture contast with the pine.
     
  23. Doit2day

    Doit2day Member

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    I would vote for a Red Filigree in the space there in the second pic. It would have a fine lace cascading effect over the rocks and the wood retains a burgundy red color in winter. Nice area you have going there.
     
  24. dawgie

    dawgie Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Beni ubi gohan is another good choice for a dwarf red. It is a linear lobe, supposedly smaller in size than Red Pigmy.
     

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