First Time Maple Owner Looking for Assitance

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Erik OBrien, May 24, 2019.

  1. Erik OBrien

    Erik OBrien New Member

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    Location:
    Yonkers, New York
    Hello All,
    First time to the forum and first time maple buyer. I live in a top floor apartment with a huge terrace that has no coverage in Yonkers, New York (Zone 7A). I took a course on "How to Build a Terrace Garden" through the New York Botanical Gardens where I learned that some species of maples can be grown potted.

    I just purchased a beautiful Sharps Pygmy that gets full sun in the morning and partial to full shade by 1 p.m.
    Despite things that I have learned I am very nervous about its care and would like some additional help as advice on the internet is so varied.

    I am asking questions that I sent off to my instructor as well.
    Any links to more useful info videos would be appreciated.

    Thank You in Advance for anyone taking the time to help me. I know it's long but she has become like a baby to me now! ha ha ha. Her name is Makiko!

    1) Should I be moving this into a new container now? How much larger? Currently, it sits in a 10 inch wide plastic pot. I think it is 3 gallons.
    I assume I should purchase an insulated one?

    2) I know these species grow slow but I can't have it grow too tall as I am in an apartment. Will the roots have to be cut or can I just simply not re-pot after moving it from the nursery container?

    3) What is your recommendation for soil? Both type and brand wise. I've been reading that I should layer the bottom with pine bark for help with drainage.

    4) Should I take it in mid-December? Under 50 degrees?
    I fear that my apartment will be too warm up until the weather is warm enough to place her back outside.

    4a) Will an open window suffice?

    4b) I have read a blog where someone wrapped their pot in insulation! The type that one would use for their roof? There was never an update as to whether the tree survived or not but what do you think? I remember bubble wrap being mentioned in your class.

    5) Should I ever fertilize? I am reading mixed reviews on this.

    6) I have collected rain water and will only use rain water when I can but when doing so do I wet the soil entirely?

    Thank You All,

    Erik
     

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Member Maple Society

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    Location:
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    Hi, first of all your specimen looks as if it's doing very well. Secondly if you increase the pot size your small tree will grow bigger. I have a discectum that has been in the same pot for 40 years, I renew the compost every two years. A combination of Peat, bark, John innes no 3 compost and horticultural grit. I add a little microrazil to help root growth . I also trim the roots every two years. All this is done in the Autumn after the leaves have fallen. As far as protection for Winter, I always wrap my maple pots with bubble wrap. But don't worry too much as all acers need to sleep and be allowed to be totally dormant, this ensures they are ready for the Spring. Don't bring your tree inside unless you have a unheated garage or covered area you can store it.
    In the Spring you can apply a slow release fertilizer but use sparingly and 'DON'T' over water. When I first started growing maples, I made the mistake of OVER watering and lost several young specimens. Good luck and remember ,It's a tree and too much kindness is the worse thing you can do for it.
     
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  3. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Location:
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    Just be careful the glass balcony guard doesn't magnify the heat on to the tree, might want to move it back a bit if poss.
     
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  4. Erik OBrien

    Erik OBrien New Member

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    I cannot thank you enough for taking the time out to give me a lengthy reply.
    Your "too much kindness" line made me smile as that probably fits me. This is my first venture and yea, I may be treating it like a newborn and over thinking a bit.
    That said, I will take all of your advices.
    That is so super that you have a 40 year old tree.
    One least thing, I know I am not overwatering but do you water thoroughly until it seeps through the drainage holes?
    Enjoy the extended weekend.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2019
  5. Erik OBrien

    Erik OBrien New Member

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    Yes, I can and thanks for that heads up and for taking the time to point that out.
     
  6. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Location:
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    The good thing about Sharps is that they look after themselves no need to prune they will over time form a nicely rounded topped tree , as it gets older you will have to remove some of the lower minor branches off the main leader as they die back due to the lack of light, and you will also find that you end up with a tree with long branches with only a cluster of leaves at each end of the branch, but this is it's natural form/shape.

    You will have to re pot and root prune over the years and increase pot size to keep it happy.

    Pics of mine from last year, keep the sun on it and you will see nice reds, give some shade and you will also get some orange hues as well as the last pic from a few years ago in a more sheltered spot.
     

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  7. Erik OBrien

    Erik OBrien New Member

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    Wow!!! Absolutely stunning!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    The red one leaves me awestruck.
    Your pics make me want to buy another!
    I have been to Japan many times and it is absolutely surreal sitting under them drinking tea watching the leaves fall.

    Thank You for telling all this info.
    It makes me more comfortable.
    Yes, because of the sun exposure I am starting to see reds on the edges.

    When I do water should it be very thorough? New York summers are insanely hot. I have a little garden and have to water it very often.
     
  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Member Maple Society

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    Hi Erik, before watering, check the compost with a finger. You can feel how dry it is. Give it a good drink and if you see water coming out the bottom that's fine. The one thing you do not want is for it to sit in water. Maples do not like that. One comment from Roebuk is very important in that your glass balcony could magnify the heat and scorch your tree. So in hot Summer afternoons a little shading would help it a lot.
     
  9. Erik OBrien

    Erik OBrien New Member

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    Many Thanks yet again.
    I did indeed move the tree a distance from the glass and also elevated it above.
    I received a response from the instructor who taught the class I attended and now feel well equipped and confident.
    Hope you are having an enjoyable holiday.
     
  10. emery

    emery Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi there,

    Quick response because #3 is wrong, work the bark through the soil if you want to increase drainage. Putting it at the bottom will just raise the water table in the pot.

    You'll need to bring it in in polar vortex conditions, but otherwise Yonkers is good conditions. So long as the roots don't get below (IIRC) -15C, it will be fine. You can bring it in and out as required, mostly it will be happier outside as your apartment will be hopefully too warm in winter. JMs like summer heat, but need enough water to deal with transpiration. Yes, water until it comes out the holes, and make sure the soil is getting wet, not just the sides of the pot. Only water when it's mostly dried out. And make sure you don't use anything under the pot that keeps the roots wet, which maples don't like. I put all pots on a raised grid/mat.

    Usually the soil you bought the maple in is either what it was in in the greenhouse or what it was moved into to sell. It's usually too peaty for the long term, but the question of soil is vast -- don't know if anyone outside of the UK knows what John Innes is! :) -- but the key is free draining. I use about 50% pozzolan with 25% composted pine bark and 25% small pine bark chips. But you can search the forum for many other suggestions. Because of your summer heat, mine is probably too free draining for you, soil really needs to be tuned for location; there is no single good answer.

    Unless you change the soil you need a little fertilizer, US folks like Fox Farm, I use a little osmocote. Avoid high nitrogen and never use urea-based nitrogen fertilizers on Maples.

    Search the forum for roebuk's posts on root pruning, they have pictures and are very useful for the purpose.

    best, -E
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
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  11. Luke’s Maples

    Luke’s Maples Member

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    Hi Emery. Can I please ask which kind of Osmocote you use? I have searched for it but it seems there are a few different kinds.

    Thanks
     
  12. emery

    emery Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Sure, there are lots of different kinds. I mostly use Fertiligene "Special plantation" because it's easily available here, not sure what the UK equivalent is. Engrais osmocote Fertiligène - Plantation et rempotage

    It's a little high in urea N (17-9-11) but has a good K and works fine so long as you don't use too much. I sometimes use the hydrangea version, but the key is to use way less than they want you to.
     
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  13. Acerholic

    Acerholic Member Maple Society

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    Hi Luke, just to throw something else in the mix for the UK. I have used Miracle Grow slow release for 'ericaceous' plants.(pink lid), I use very little, as Emery states the manufacturer always wants you to use more. I spread a small amount around the base in May cover with bark and that's it for the season. As I've said in previous threads I might use a folier feed in July if they look like they need it. Maples do 'not' require a lot of feeding if any.
     

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