Give your Maples a drink in March

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Acerholic, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I thought I would do this thread as I have been experimenting over the years with different watering regimes in March.
    The one thing I have noticed beyond anything else, is that if you fail to water in March due to having a wet Winter and especially February, then ground trees do not flourish throughout the Summer and do not give a good show in the Autumn.
    March is very soon upon us and here in Southern England and the long range forecast is dry for the next two weeks. So after all the experimenting, I will be watering all my ground trees in seven days time. All my water tanks and butt's are full, so I can make use of the stored rain water. But if you don't have rain water harvesting, then do think about some tap water for your maples at a time when they are going to leaf out.
    I have been carrying out this watering regime for the last ten years and it has served my trees well. I did miss doing this five years ago due to a holiday and I had no end of troubles with my trees for the rest of that year.
    I am not saying this method is what anybody else should do, but I wanted to share my results.

    As a footnote, do consider water butt's to collect rain water from your roofs. Potted maples really enjoy it.
     
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  2. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Good advice. Actually, I had planned to water my potted trees tomorrow. I saw that some of my bonsai, in very shallow pots need it and it seems we aren't going to have some rain, or very little in the coming week.
    "Akadama" is rather expensive, but I always use some in my bonsai mix if only to know when to water : when the particles get light brown, it's time to water the tree.

    Bottom right-hand corner : wet. See the difference ?

    acerp-ryusen-sem20_210223a.jpg

    Of course, for large containers, the price of akadama prohibits the use of it...
     
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  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Have you thought about going down the cat litter route Alain ? Or Molar clay as it's real name.
     
  4. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    The problem is what we can find here (in France, EU) is usually full of chemicals : perfume, etc.

    I found a brand that was apparently rather "organic", tried it with young seedlings, it was not convincing at all. It's a bit like zeolite that was trendy a couple of years ago in the bonsai microcosm : it retains water, OK, but when it dries out, it"sucks out" what's left of humidity from the roots. Not so good when the cure is worse than the disease...
     
  5. monicasanchez

    monicasanchez Active Member Maple Society

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    Hello.

    Very good advice, no doubt. Here in Mallorca (Spain) it usually rains in winter, but little, and although the humidity is high (the plants wake up with drops of water on themselves and remain like that until late in the morning), the maples appreciate a weekly watering from late February / early March.

    The problem is that the tap water is terrible hahaha We have to mix it with lemon or vinegar to lower the pH. But is it worth it.

    @AlainK, have you tried planting them in coconut fiber? Or cheek (pómice in Spanish), although this substrate dries very quickly.

    Regards!
     
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  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good morning Monica, hope you are well and looking forward to a lovely Spring. Expect you are actually already there. Good to hear that you follow the March watering regime. I did expect you would do, although it is quite a procedure for you to have to mix it for your plants, shows what a passionate gardener you are and why your maples do so well.
     
  7. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I haven't tried coconut fiber yet, tough I've heard good things about it. I already use some pumice in my mix, esp. in bigger pots : it's lighter than lava rock (pozzolan) when it dries, so it's less effort to move the pots.
     
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  8. zfrittz

    zfrittz Well-Known Member

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    Good morning, I wanted to comment that in areas where we do not have quality water, the ideal is to have an osmosis equipment, since maples suffer a lot with calcareous and alkaline waters.
    @AlainK akadama is the best substrate for maples by far and although you mix it, it is life insurance for our maples, as you say it always warns us when there is a lack of water due to the change in color and being so porous it never floods the roots.
    Years ago I did a test with a maple seedling planted in 5 to 8 mm thick akadama. And I drip it from March to October 12 hours a day and the roots when I transplanted it were perfect, I don't think any soil is capable of maintaining a maple like this, I have also tried several soil for cats and none have been good.
     
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  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    That is interesting J, I was going to try it but after your advice I will stick to Akadama for my pots. Our trees are worth the extra cost.
     
  10. Shin-Deshojo

    Shin-Deshojo Well-Known Member

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    Hello D,
    Great thread you made, i didn't reply as i am watering my trees all the year when needed including march as i observed they drink alot when they bud.

    Just a thought about akadama;
    If you do bonsai then you are doing right, as said it's the best.
    But if it's for potted maples, unless you are rich I would recommend you to try a mix of pouzzolane/peat or like i did this year the same mix with adding perlite.

    Eventhough I pot my maples in aquatic pots so I have more air circulation and I can ground or unground them whenever I want without disturbing them, I have very good results.
    My maples are happy and got lots of fine roots everywhere.

    Ofc I do this to establish a strong root system before definitely planting them in the ground.

    But IMO, this is a good alternative soil for potted maples.

    Here is a Shin Deshojo I have in a big pot since 3 years, he will be planted today or tomorow in the ground:

    20210225_173030.jpg
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    This one is a Beni Maiko if I am not wrong:

    20210225_173447.jpg
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    And the last three pictures are Beni Chidori, momoiro koyasan, and kasagi yama newly potted with the add of perlite in the mix:

    20210225_173821.jpg
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    20210225_173843.jpg

    Not trying to say my methods are the bests but i thought I'll share my experience...
    Maybe give it a try?
    I'll be happy if it does improve your potted maples in any way.
     
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  11. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Shin-Deshojo good evening I, that is some great advice and I will look at giving it a try. I do have maples in pots, but also some in shallow Bonsai training pots. So not fully Bonsai. I agree to have Akadama for large pots you would need a very healthy bank balance that would dwindle very quickly. Atm I use a very gritty mix with John innes no2 or 3, Peat, Perlite and horticultural pine bark.
    Your photos are showing some amazing root growth and the method of waiting to plant out until you have this is very sound indeed. It is something that J @zfrittz has promoted time and again on the forum. I am so glad that you have also advocated this. He uses the baskets as well if my memory serves me right.
    I was also glad to hear that you carry out the March watering regime when the buds are swelling as it is easy to forget to water after the long wet Winter months. I think it's not intentional for us to not water at this time. More of an in built 'let's forget about the wet Winter' type of thing, if you get my drift.
    Enjoyed the posting I.
     
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  12. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, that's a good trick. It's used in the bonsai world in particular for pines, whose roots are a bit "touchier" than maples. When the roots grow and reach the side of the container, instead of circling inside the pot, they dry out, and more fine roots appear closer to the trunk.

    I've seem threads on Ficus in particular where the tree is planted in an aquatic container which is itself put in a larger pot filled with a non-organic mix (lava rock, coarse sand, pumice,...). Thus, when you lift the aquatic container, you just trim what's grown out of the holes in the container.
     
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  13. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Not something I've tried 'YET', but will do now.
     
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  14. zfrittz

    zfrittz Well-Known Member

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    @Acerholic This type of pots is the one that I use the most and the difference is noticeable, whoever has not used it can see it and will notice the difference in growth, although there is a problem with watering that has to be very frequent because it dries quickly, The ones that I have planted like this in summer, there are days that I have to water them twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
     

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  15. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Off topic for a moment . . . what is that ornate-looking gizmo with the dials in your photo behind the maple?
     
  16. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Salad cullenders, what a good idea J and it works as can be seen in the photos.
     
  17. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @zfrittz J is that a valve radio?
     
  18. zfrittz

    zfrittz Well-Known Member

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    Good morning, in addition to maples and bonsai, another of my passions is the design and manufacture of high end amplifiers with a steampunk aesthetic.
    This amplifier is the one I have to listen to music on the computer, it is completely handmade and as you can see it is made with vacuum valves, as they were made in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s of the last century, but with Components of the highest quality that exist and all made by hand, as a curiosity, the largest vacuum valves (6c33C) that are seen, are those used by the Russian MIG 25 combat aircraft in the 70s.
    For those who do not know, steampunk is a retro-futuristic aesthetic of Victorian style, which was put in a way around the 80s, the seeds of steampunk go back to the 19th century, when Jules Verne, HG Wells, Mary Shelley and others wrote about steampunk themes- ish.
    I put some photos of the amplifier.

    Forgive for the talk, which has nothing to do with maples.

    Greetings
     

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  19. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Maybe nothing to do with maples but how else would I ever have learned about something so amazing and impressive?
     
  20. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    But you learn something every day, thankyou for sharing this J, it is as you say very Jules Verne in appearance and a good question Margot.
     
  21. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I forgive you. Amen.
    Reminded me of films by the Studio Ghibli, and of course the many novels by Jules Verne that I read when I was a kid...
     
  22. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    @zfrittz that amplifier is a thing of beauty! Bravo, and I expect it sounds great too!

    @Shin-Deshojo I use a very similar mix, but instead of peat I use composted pine bark in small part, but mostly pozollan (which I can never spell) at small caliber, pine chips, and some perlite. JMs absolutely love this, though some of the larger maples prefer more soil.

    I no longer use coir, I found it compacted too much and dries very easily (like peat). A rougher coir mix is a bit better, but as soon as there are fibrous chunks it holds a huge amount of water.

    I experimented extensively with cat litter as an additive some years ago, based on information from one of the bonsai boards. I found the same brand that was being used, and it worked quite well for about 2 years, before breaking down and forming big clumps. Sorry I don't remember off-hand the type of clay. I stopped using it, in any case. I know some people in the US that swear by something called Turface, which is used to increase the playability of sports fields. Unfortunately we don't have it in EU so have never tried it.

    Collanders and aquatic pots work really well for maples, but an expensive solution where quantity is involved!

    cheers, -E

    P.S. in his Book for Maples, Yano talks about importance of keeping maples watered during the winter season, especially for those inside. Thanks to this thread @Acerholic I will forthwith remember to do so!
     
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  23. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    A wonderful book, that is so hard to find to purchase. Out of print and extortionate prices for used ones.
    I've had 9 days with no rain here, so will start my early Spring watering regime tomorrow. I do of course water my pots undercover during the Winter, 'but very sparingly'.
    Hope you have a colourful and perfect Spring E.
     
  24. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks, you too D! It is drying out here too, a good thing if it doesn't go to far.
     
  25. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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