Leaf retention, etc.

Discussion in 'Maples' started by GHerold, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. GHerold

    GHerold New Member

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    I'm new to this group, so I thought I'd get my feet wet by making an observation and posing a question. All of the Japanese maples in our area (Cedarburg, Wisconsin) have retained their leaves this winter. However, 'Arctic Jade,' a hybrid of Acer palmatum, dropped its leaves. Has anyone seen this before? Any problems once spring and new leaves arrive?

    I only have one pure Japanese Maple ('Skeeter's Broom') because of hardiness issues here. Other than 'Bloodgood,' from which 'Skeeter's Broom' originated, are there other cultivars with exceptional hardiness?

    I am successfully growing A. griseum and its hybrids 'Gingerbread' and 'Purple Haze,' 'Arctic Jade,' 'Northern Glow,' A. shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon' and 'Mr. Sun,' A. spicatum, A. triflorum, and A. tegmentosum 'Joe Witt' and 'White Tigress.'
     
  2. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hello, and welcome to the group!

    The phenomenon you're seeing is called "marcescense", here's a wiki explanation: Marcescence - Wikipedia

    In most maples (Japanese maples anyway) a process called abscission causes the base of the petiole (leaf stalk) to dry out, curl, and disconnect from the developing bud above it. But sometimes and early freeze will kill the leaves before this happens, in which case they will stay on (marcescent) all winter sometimes. This year, folks throughout the US south east experienced it, some before there was even a chance to have fall colors, which is pretty disappointing...

    The good news is, there's no problem what so ever for the maples the following year. As the new growth advances, the swelling buds will cause the old leaves to fall naturally. The only issues that might occur would be related to the early freeze, if the sap is still up, but typically the sap doesn't run very hard after the second flush of summer growth.

    Some people like to go and clip off the marcescent leaves, but personally I think they add winter interest.

    Nice group of maples you have. Shirasawanum is generally hardier than palmatum, though I have heard that 'Mr Sun' while very pretty can be a bit tetchy. Should have no problem with the others, though tegmentosum can by sensitive to bark damage from late frosts more than winter cold, esp. 'White Tigress' which can be a very fast grower. Wish I had a 'Joe Witt', they're only barely available on this side of the pond.

    I have heard great things about the new Iseli cultivars wrt hardiness, and I know there are some JMs that will grow in zone 5, but can't recall which ones. @maplesandpaws do you have an idea?

    Cheers,

    -Emery
     
  3. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Hello GHerold!

    I'm in zone 5, and very near you. I'm less than a mile from the lake, however, so I get some of that warm buffer that helps keep some of the JMs happy in the coldest stretches of winter. I've found that almost any of them will grow here, as long as they're not bright bark (coral bark) cultivars, and as long as they get some protection when they're young. Protection from the winter wind is key. If you're looking for very hardy trees, I can highly recommend A.s. 'Moonrise," A.p. "Emperor One," A.p. 'Fireglow,' A.p. 'Tamukeyama,' A.p. 'Orangeola,' A.p. 'Seiryu,' and my very favorite cold-hardy cultivar, the hybrid 'North Wind.' All of these made it through the two polar vortex winters with no problems at all. In general, the Iseli hybrids (of which there are several now), the shirasawanums, and the japonicums are the trees I never worry about in the winter. I have an acquaintance who has also said Acer sieboldianum has been very hardy-- much more than Acer palmatum.

    Do you know Diana at Topiary Gardens? She runs an exceptional JM nursery in NY, in zone 5a, and many (most?) of her cultivars she's also field grown in rural 5a, so she can really tell you what will grow in zone 5 and what won't. She's found that most cultivars will survive it, especially if they're wrapped and given protection during their first few years. Older trees survive better. If you haven't ordered from her, I'd suggest giving her a call. She'll probably be able to list off dozens of JMs that would thrive for you. (I'll also say that the size and quality of her plants is unbelievable for the price....so if you haven't tried mail order, hers would be a place to try.) Rod Ulmas is a member here who also grows a substantial number of cultivars in zone 5, and he may have some recommendations. In general he and I have found that many online JMs are rated zone 6 as a default, when often they'll grow in zone 5. I always double check sellers' and nurseries' zone ratings with more accurate sites like Topiary Gardens. Davidsans can be helpful, too, in what they rate as hardy/non-hardy, though they're substantially south of us.

    In my garden and yard I'm growing:
    Emperor One
    North Wind (Iseli hybrid)
    Seiryu
    Sango kaku (utterly destroyed by our cold winters-- don't even attempt it)
    Orangeola
    A.s. Moonrise
    Fireglow
    Tamukeyama
    Umegae
    Lemon Lime Lace
    Ruby Stars (did not make it, but was a new graft and I experimented with keeping it potted over the winter)
    Tsukushigata (did not make it, but was likely diseased when I bought it)
    Ariadne (needs protection)
    Mikawa yatsubusa (needs protection)
    Shin deshojo (needs protection)
    Scolopendrifolium (no longer have it)
    Iijima sunago (no longer have it)
    Baldsmith
    Red Dragon
    Kuro hime
    Kashima (has shown excellent cold hardiness)
    Waterfall
    Ukigumo
    Shidava Gold (did well for several winters, but was hurt by last winter's sudden deep freeze...would not recommend)
    A.s. Bashful
    Momoiro koyasan
    A.j. Aconitifolium
    Elizabeth
    Corallinum (Topiary Gardens cultivar)
    A. siebold. Kumoi nishiki
    Grandma Ghost
    Saoshika (lost one, but I'm trying it again because last year's sudden freeze was unusual)
    Ki hachijo (which may be borderline, but I'm trying it anyway)

    The trees at the top of the list above have been with me for five or six years-- toward the bottom more like one or two.

    In addition to these, I also keep several cultivars in pots (which I store in an unattached garage over the winter):
    Chitoseyama,
    Manyo no sato
    A.s. Yasemin
    A. s. Johin
    Corallinum (Acer1987 cultivar)
    Ki shuzan
    Ao meshime no uchi
    Orange Dream
    Chishio Improved
    Filigree (not doing great)
    Mure hibari
    Aconitifolium
    A few seedlings
    Sazanami (did not make it-- probably my fault)
    Wilson's Pink Dwarf (did not make it-- -probably my fault)
    Orange Dream

    And this year I'll be adding:
    Villa Taranto
    Mirte
    Moonshadow
    Utsu semi
    Shirazz
    Tsuma gaki
    Killarney

    I hope that helps!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  4. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    That's one of the Iseli hybrids I was referencing, it has gotten rave reviews. A Japanese Maple crossed with a Korean Maple if I remember rightly. (In fact, many of the JM cultivars, especially but not only those sold as "shirasawanum" are hybrids).

    Shouting out to @maplesmagpie for the really great post!

    -E
     
  5. Iowa Jim

    Iowa Jim New Member

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    First timer here: Thought i would let you know what i am growing in northeast Iowa in zone 5a. 4 year olds- illijima sunago ; johin ; mikazuki ; red dragon ; golden full moon ; fire glow ; 3 year olds jordan ; autumn moon ; burgundy jewel ; ukigumo ; yasemin ; esk sunset ; All in ground and doing well except the burgundy jewel is fair. If anybody has any questions about any of these feel free to ask, would be more than happy to help if i can: Have a nice day everybody.
     
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  6. debviolet

    debviolet Active Member 10 Years

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    I am also in zone 5, 5b. Growing quite a few:

    A.p. Hubbs red willow
    Peaches and cream
    Toyama nishiki
    Sagara nishiki
    Tsuki gata
    Green mist
    Red pygmy
    Higasayama
    Beni kawa
    Orangeola
    Kim
    Amber ghost
    Murosaki kiyohime
    Moonfire
    Ruslyn in the pink
    Manyo ? Maroon and green leaf
    Orange dream
    Ukigomo
    Ryusen
    Omure yama (uh oh, not sure that spelling is quite right)

    A.s. Aureum
    Autumn moon

    A.c. Pacfic fire

    Plus 5 more, 3 palmatums, 2 shirasawrums whose names I'd have to look, if anyone is interested....and young a.p. Cynthias crown jewel, young a.p. Akane that get a 360 degree staked burlaped winter windbreaks for now

    Cheers, Debviolet, in western Massachusetts
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
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  7. Iowa Jim

    Iowa Jim New Member

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    I will be waiting a week to let you all know how i come out of winter, as were just starting to leaf out now. We had -25 to -28 below zero for 4 or 5 days, with only about 1 inch of snow at that time. I had all of my maples behind a 7 foot wind screen. Right now it doesn't look good.
     
  8. Iowa Jim

    Iowa Jim New Member

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    I might as well start with the dead list-esk sunset, fire glow, illijima sunago, johin. All the rest that i have had some minor damage but nothing serious. They all where protected by wind screen and mulch and they had good roots when i pulled them out, they just did not leaf out. Took a trip yesterday to davidsans and bought another esk sunset, so i will be trying one more. I also picked up a north wind as maplesmagpie said hers was very hardy. I was talking to the worker at davidsans yesterday and he said they lost over 600 trees to winter kill. I believe they are zone 6. I am new to japanese maples,only been doing this for 5 years , but one thing i know is that these cold hardiness charts are a bunch of baloney. I had a mikazuki right next to the esk sunset and it come out just fine. mikazuki is zone 6 and esk sunset zone 4. All my trees were healthy going into winter and no rabbit or vole damage and no sign of any diseases. So much for global warming.
     
  9. debviolet

    debviolet Active Member 10 Years

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    "Global warming " is a misnomer. The science says increased climate volatilty: more drastic and unexpected temperature swings, for instance. Here in western Massachusetts, a late frost after unseasona ble warm weather resulted in leaf bud loss on my several maples that were slightly downhill in a marginally sunnier location, and less than 20 feet from my others that are fine. Never happened before. My local nursery said they suffered alot if damage in their tree yard and they have been around at least forty years.

    Erratic weather us going to be very difficult to deal with...3 summers ago here we had zero rain all summer: another wierd and very rare occurrence here
    The weather it is a-changing, sadly
     
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  10. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    A few Winter's ago we were at 70F in late January or early February at 8pm and by 8am the next morning we were at -25F. It killed some very old specimens that winter, trees that survived record lows and blizzard in the 1970's and record heat and drought in the late 1980's. Sometimes it's not the extremely cold or hot, it's the extreme swings that kill. Even the most seasoned cultivars could not tolerate a 100 degree drop in 12 hours. I don't know what the future holds but it's these extreme swings that concerns me the most when thinking of my collection of plants. The growing violent weather concerns me when I think of my family and friends.
     
  11. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Agreed, JT and debviolet... these erratic weather conditions are the hardest on our trees, not necessarily extended highs or lows. Two years ago I lost trees when our autumn, well into November, stayed warm and in the 70s. (Normally November cools from the 50s to the 30s, and we have our first gentle freezes mid-month.) By early December it was well below zero and we had the lowest temperatures of the winter. None of my trees had gone fully dormant, and in fact many of them had not hardened off the new growth that had continued into October and November. It was the worst weather event I've seen affect my JMs. Worse than the Polar Vortex winters of '13 and '14.

    Iowa Jim, I'm surprised to hear about Fireglow and Johin. Fireglow has been very hardy for me-- even making it through both Polar Vortex winters as a newly planted 2' tree. And Johin I'd think would be hardy, too, since it's Acer shirasawanum. I've only had that on in a pot, though, so I don't have personal experience keeping it outdoors over the winter.

    Iijima sunago is interesting.... I had one for a few years and it died after a couple years of what I thought was good health. Same thing with Scolopendrifolium, actually. Both of them died in a similar way, and came from the same seller, so I was more inclined to think they had been sick when I got them. Perhaps it was compounded by a hardiness issue as well?
     
  12. Iowa Jim

    Iowa Jim New Member

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    I thought i was the guru of japanese maples ,going the first four years and not having any problems. I see by your reply that i am not the only one to lose some trees. I have a lot to learn yet about these great trees . The lesson i learned this year is that i need to get a thicker skin or get out of the game. Its just so heart breaking when you lose a tree. I might try moving to Florida and raise palm trees.
     
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  13. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Maples are really not for the thin skinned, unless you have really ideal conditions. And even then, as everyone is pointing out, the "new normal" weather patterns really mess up every region. Even in places like the Carolinas there were lots of losses this winter.

    I'm not a real old timer compared to some but after 20 years or so I know that some trees don't thrive, even in perfect conditions, and when they get stressed, it's even harder. Others will sit there without growing for 5 years, then suddenly discover they're happy and get on with it. My experience is that well produced JMs are typically less tetchy to establish than some of the rarer maple species, but that it always pays (at least here) to let a maple grow out a few years before planting. I usually plant from 12l, about 3 gallons.

    'Johin' is x palmatum, (as most of the shirasawanum cultivars) so maybe it's less hardy than others?

    -E
     
  14. Iowa Jim

    Iowa Jim New Member

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    Thanks for the reply: I knew Johin was a cross ,but thought i would try it anyway. I have made the mistake of buying some small maples that first year i started doing this. I then started with the 5 and 7 gallon trees and they were establishing a lot better. I have always bought my trees and put them in ground the very next day ,maybe i should grow them in the pot for a couple of years first. I know what your talking about a tree that doesn't want to grow and then suddenly takes off. I have a beautiful Red Dragon that finally starting growing after 3 years of not growing a inch. Hopefully i will have better luck with the new Esk Sunset and the North Wind that i just bought. I still think Florida and the palm trees might not be a bad idea. thanks all;
     

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