JM late frost damage - relax or action needed?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Rosy_S_Cenario, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Rosy_S_Cenario

    Rosy_S_Cenario New Member

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    Dear fellow JM owners,

    my 12 years old 5 foot high Acer shirasawanum Autumn Moons are all potted, living on a large 3rd floor balcony facing south west in plant hardiness zone 7b. From December until March, I usually put the pots on styrofoam plates, wrap the pots in burlap and bubblewrap, also the lower part of the main stem, and water the pots a little once a week during this dormant period (I have no garden shed, conservatory or garage where to put them).

    This "winter", we had spring from early December until February (around 50°F, some days even more, very unusual) and then in late March/early April, when spring used to begin in the old days, we had two weeks of "real winter" (around 10°F, on two days 0°F, windy). My Acers show dried buds and little dry twigs all over the little trees that until now (late June) did nothing - they are brittle and snap off easily, they are dry to the core.

    Is this frost damage? Shall I prune these off in November? Should I just do nothing and relax?

    Thanks for any advice!

    Autum Moon 1.jpg Autum Moon 2.jpg Autum Moon 3.jpg
     
  2. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    Remove them now. The twigs were thinning and weak and did not make it through winter. This can happen to inner twigs that get shaded from other foliage. They don't get enough sun or energy to thicken and make it through winter. Sometimes they may leaf out in Spring but don't grow and then fail over Summer. Your just happened to be weaker and fail over winter. Frost could be a contributing factor, but they were most likely already weak.

    Leaving them on can cause them to turn black and run risk of causing infection into the trunk. The tree will be healthier if you remove them now.

    Damaged, diseased, or dead twigs can be removed anytime during the growing season. Don't let poor "right time" or "only time to prune" advice lead you to doing whats wrong for your trees health.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  3. Rosy_S_Cenario

    Rosy_S_Cenario New Member

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    Ok, thanks, so it's all just very natural, that sounds good! I was not at all aware that it is allowed to prune these off all year. Where is the best location/distance to cut? As close as possible to the existing good growth?

    In any case, the protection/watering in the winter season (that for the fourth year in a row doesn't want to arrive until March) was okay?
     
  4. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    Prune back to healthy branch and remove the dead completely. If the dead twig goes back to the trunk, then remove it at the trunk. These are so thin you don't need to worry about the branch collar like you would with thicker branches. Don't leave a stub like you would when pruning faster growing shade trees.

    Use sharp and clean pruners sanitized with 92% alcohol. If using bypass pruners make sure the face of the blade is towards what is live to get the cleanest cut. The anvil should be on the part of branch your removing. By holding the pruners in this direction, if or when the anvil does any damage it's to the branch you are removing and not to the live tissue left behind. This ensures a clean cut that will heal quickly.

    With winter storage and watering it's best to keep the roots consistently cool. What hurts your maple is sharp swings in temperature. If the roots are shaded and insulated then they cool slowly and warm slowly, staying a more consistent temperature is key. Watering depends on climate. Your watering schedule seems reasonable. Shriveled bark usually indicates not enough water. Soil that appears sawgy and bark with black spots is usually an indication of too much water.

    The worse case is roots exposed to daytime heating, sun, and then quickly cooling off overnight. This cycle will kill a tree while dormant and will cause the soil to dry out faster.

    Insulate the pot, put some extra mulch on the surface, and when possible keep it from direct sun. Some climates it's important to protect from wind, frost and sun. Using Dewitt frost cloth will offer great protection in this case.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
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  5. dangerine49

    dangerine49 Rising Contributor

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    Wow, this post reminded me of my Tamukeyama that didn't completely leaf out this spring. I moved it to a container in my backyard and was wondering what to do with it. Only half the tree leafed out and the other buds never opened at all. I asked the nursery where I bought it what happened and they said it was from our extended winter this year. Should I cut all those branches back which had no leafing?
     

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  6. Rosy_S_Cenario

    Rosy_S_Cenario New Member

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    Alright, I shall follow your pruning suggestions tomorrow. I bought some good FISKARS scissors for the task. The little tree will look a bit "bare" inside, but I guess that's the way it is. The dead twigs won't do anything good as you said.

    The bubble wrap I use for winter wrapping is white, so it should reflect sunlight off the terra cotta pots. Since I don't have a patio, garage or other sheltered and reasonably lit space where I could put them, I'll have to keep them all on the balcony. There is a wide hallway with ample space, but it's very dark even during the summer season, so that's no good place for winter storage, I take?
     
  7. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society

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    Had the same problem last year with a Pendulum julian which i have had for years without a problem,then half the tree just started to die back branch by branch over the summer until i was left with half a tree see pic , and i could see the rest of the tree going the same way starting at the top and moving downwards quickly !! January lifted tree and cut all the affected branches off (2/3rds of the main trunk) root pruned new growing medium and re potted.

    Last two pics of same tree today, ok much smaller but still alive and in a few more years hopefully it should look reasonable once again
     

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  8. mike1osu

    mike1osu New Member Maple Society

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    Wow! Very interesting!
     
  9. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society

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    All you need is one viable bud to appear and you will save your tree , pendulum julian pictured from the last post in 2018 and three pics of the same tree today. Smaller but still living and growing well.

    Just a good root prune new growing medium and re pot and water well.
     

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