My first maple!!! Need some advice.

Discussion in 'Maples' started by fishinfool, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. fishinfool

    fishinfool Member

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    It is a Red dragon, and I'm a little dissapointed. I ordered it online without seeing the actual plant. Here it is:
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    I wasn't expecting such a high graft or for it to be leaning over, almost touching the ground.
    For now I'm keeping it in a pot. I put the rootball into the middle then put soil mixed with coconut bark around the roots. I soaked it down with water and it ran out of the drain hole, it also rained really good outside last night. I don't know what to do about it almost touching the ground. Should I stake it up straight or just pull it up some? Should I just leave it be and let it get acclimated? Right now it is in a shady location with some diffused light through a large birch tree. I could really use some ideas to make it look beautiful down the road, if thats possible.
     
  2. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    is one young graft (one year i presume)use one stick of bamboo,for me is better if remain in pot for one year again,for more info read FAQ "how to plant a maple"
    on top page of this forum.
    ciao
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2008
  3. fishinfool

    fishinfool Member

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    Thanks for your response. It is a one year graft. I'm not real sure what you mean when you say "on stick of bamboo". Does that mean it is grafted onto a peice of bamboo or tie it up on a stick of bamboo? I'm definetly keeping it in a pot for this year at least, maybe for good. It gets pretty cold here in winter so I'm planning on moving it on my unheated porch where is stays slightly warmer than outdoors, and out of the windchill.
     
  4. mattzone5b

    mattzone5b Active Member

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    Yes, bamboo which is sold in the garden section of home depot or lowes look more attractive than other staking options. Stake your tree to the bamboo but be careful to check the points where it is tied every so often as not to constrict the tree,etc. Red Dragon is often known as a super slow grower so it might be several years before its attractive. The high graft will look more normal once the tree fills out a bit.
     
  5. fishinfool

    fishinfool Member

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    Thanks that what I thought was meant but had to be sure, lol. One more question, how do you think it will fare with cold weather, Michigan zone 5? It gets pretty cold with here with lots of snow. I work for a landscaping company and have seen a few japanese maples up here that seem to being doing quite well. One nursery has a gorgeous Viridis (hope thats spelled right). Its caliper is about 2inches so I can imagine the price tag on it. Most I see are bloodgood, or some form of red Japanese.
     
  6. mattzone5b

    mattzone5b Active Member

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    Well, hopefully someone in zone 5 can comment but I imagine it will be fine. While its in a pot don't disturb roots until the spring if you repot or plant in the ground. Protect it from late spring frosts after the buds swell and are about to open. Dieback from the late frost is common at this time. Protection from the winds and sun will help.

    As the tree becomes more established red dragon can take a good bit of sun but I would keep it in a pot until it has the shape you are looking for then you can turn it as you wish to show the best side when you plant it in the ground. Older trees are tougher usually as well. Wind protection and warm roots are the keys to keeping jm's safe in the winter, especially potted ones.

    If it gets too cold wrap the root ball with something like burlap or pile mulch around the pot. Roots die before braches so that is your focus while whole tree protection isn't bad either. Once its in the ground, root freezing isn't quite as bad because the ground has gradual change and is insulated. JM's don't like rapid change and need a dormant period so don't keep them too warm in winter, 33-47F in winter would be optimal for pots and your tree will rarely die below that temp but I play it safe and take precautions. Some people have temps for JM's in the ground at -15 degrees F and don't have problems but I get scared. :)
     
  7. fishinfool

    fishinfool Member

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    Thanks that helps a lot to confirm what I thought. I'm not leaving it outside unprotected. I'll keep it on my porch where it stays cold but out of the wind and snow. Last winter we had wind chills -30, maybe even colder a couple times. Hopefully I can keep the temp from getting too cold. I don't know how cold the porch got but I know it was cold out there. The porch is all windows with no heat. I think that I might put styrofoam over the windows to help insulate it. Would the tree be fine with very little to no light? Also I'm a little worried about the roots freezing in the pot. I know I could put the pot in the ground but with the tree being so small I just don't think it could handle our harsh winter.
     
  8. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    I've never had great luck overwintering plants in pots here in zone 5 Maine. With no exceptions that I can think of, they've done better in the ground.

    There are a number of problems with pots. First off, you're giving up the natural protective mechanisms provided by the earth (which retains a certain amount of warmth and thus keeps the roots safe and snug) and snow cover, which is like a blanket of insulation.

    Secondly there's the water problem. Plants can get dessicated in pots if you let them get too dry -- especially as the planting medium will thaw out and start to dry whenever there's a warm spell -- but at the same time, it's hard to judge how much or how often to water, because you've also got to be wary of oversaturation leading to root rot.

    Thirdly there is the instability of temperature in a pot, as the air just outside the pot will be constantly cooling and warming, sometimes drastically so. A warm stretch in February, which is not unusual, can fool the plant into thinking that spring has come, causing it to break its winter dormancy -- and then die straightaway when the temperature plummets again.

    I know many people have great success overwintering plants in pots, and that there are ways of compensating for all these problems. But my own experience has not been good. I've planted all my maples right in the ground in their permanent homes. I think in the case of maples, as long as they haven't been overfertilized and they're given a chance to harden off properly for winter, their natural dormancy will protect them better than my own well-intentioned but still artificial efforts.
     
  9. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    why not use dwarf Norway maples?is the best maple for zone 5...
     
  10. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Norway maples are a pest species here. They seed themselves prolifically, and the seedlings root tenaciously and grow like weeds -- an unbelievable headache when they get in amongst your perennial beds. Older trees cast a gloomy dark shadow. The ground beneath them becomes too dry, dark, rooty and nutritient-starved to sustain much of an underplanting.

    We have many maples that grow beautifully here and make better neighbors for the other plants in the garden.
     
  11. fishinfool

    fishinfool Member

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    I want a small beautifully shaped tree that grows slowly. Norways that I looked at all grow large and are pretty much like all the other maples around. The area that I live in has tons of wild maple, mostly sugar but their are others. There's one right out the window probably 60' tall. It would take 3 adults to wrap their arms around it. They are everywhere. Now Japanese maples are a little rarer, I do see them but not very often. I've seen some out in the open that dont do so well but the ones that are protected seem to do pretty well. I planted a bunch of white pine and spruce trees at one job where there was a JM and it looked lovely. It was some type of red dissectum, it had fine leaves, I loved it and thought I had to get one. I've got a good protected area for it that will be out of the north and west winds and also protected from some snow. I just haven't decided if I should put it in the ground or keep it where I have a little more control over the temps and it will be totally out of the wind.
     
  12. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    There's a guy who lives someplace in upstate New York (zone 5) who posted a list of Japanese maple varieties that are thriving for him out in the open. His list includes: Katsura, Asahi Zuru, Ao Kanzashi, Beni Otaki, Butterfly, Eagle's Claw, Higasayama, Kamagata, Katsura, Mary Katherine, Mikawa Yatsubusa, Murasaki Kiyohime, O Kagami, Omato, Orido Nishiki, Saoshika, Shishigashira, Waterfall, and Ukigumo.

    He also had a (shorter) list of varieties that had proved not to be so hardy: Beni Kawa, Sango kaku, Seiryu, Hanami Nishiki, Kotohime.
     
  13. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Norway maple "Marit" when is old is 4/5 feet....pic in www.esveld.nl
     

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