New to Acers

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Fabrice, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    Good morning/evening ? eveyone

    I'm not sure if that is the right place to introduce myself, so please admins feel free to move this post where appropriate.
    I am 41 and live in Northern France facing the English Channel.
    My mother having offered me an Acer Palmatum a few months ago to cheer up my mood, I developed an interest in them and bought a couple of books on them first, including M. Vertrees' bible.

    I have a small garden, most of which is planted with hydrangeas, so I can only but grow Acers in containers. When and if they develop to overwhelming proportions, I will be able to transfer them to my sister's garden nearby where there is a lot of space available.

    I have bought a few acers recently in winter. All I could see of them so far was twigs, and 2011 will be my first season with leaves. As you can imagine, I look forward to it.

    Among those buys are :
    Shidava Gold
    Orange Dream
    Mini Mondo
    Butterfly
    Seiryu
    Fior d'Arancio
    Beni Maiko

    All of them in containers, They were in 7.5l pots maximum when they landed in my garden.

    I had read a few things on Acers and planted them as follows :

    Pebble + clay beads at the bottom
    Soil : clay beads, potting mix, small pine barks and vermicompost

    Most of them are at the bottom of a wall facing North and two facing East, all have shade in the afternoon.

    When I recently had a problem with the Beni Maiko which was kindly replaced by the nursery owner ( a boring caterpillar dug its way at the bottom of the trunk and emptyed it ) I realized it would be a good idea to get some help from people who are expert at Acers, and decided to look out for a forum dedicated to Acers.

    I also intend to join the Maple Society in a couple of days.

    I will post more pics when I have something to show except twigs :)

    Regards

    Fabrice
     

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  2. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Welcome, Fabrice! I don't count myself among the experts, but I do have several maples... ;) It will be great to have another continental member of the Society, and I think you will be delighted with the newsletter. You are lucky to be located close to the Japanese Maple nursery of M. Guy Maillot. I don't recall when his open house is but it should be soon. Also of course from the North it is quite quick to get to Boskoop!

    The most important thing about your soil is drainage, so long as the bottoms of the pots don't stay wet, you'll be fine. However I'd check and make sure there's no barrier holding up water, stranger things have happened.

    Again, welcome.

    -E
     
  3. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    Thanks Emery

    I got the Mini Mondo from M. Maillot and I'm expecting a little Hondo Ji tomorrow, from M. Maillot as well.
    I struggled to do the right thing with drainage but one never knows..I'm always on the lookout for something wrong..I check very often.
    I'm more afraid of an icy spring and the infamous Wilt fungus.
    I want to see the foliage this year... :)
    I'm posting my Maple Society Membership Form tomorrow.

    Here's a picture of my second Acer, Shidava Gold.

    Regards,

    Fabrice.
     

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  4. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    The great thing about pots it you can bring them in. My very young grafts are going into an unheated outbuilding this WE, and won't come out until end of Feb. They were already inside for a while during the very cold weather earlier, but I find they like the airflow outside better if conditions aren't too awful.

    Pseudomonas and wilt are the bane of maples in spring, the pseudomonas anyway you can avoid mostly if your back is strong. :)

    Were your plants kept outdoors or in until recently? It does take them a while to harden off...

    -E
     
  5. prairiestyle

    prairiestyle Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Welcome to the forum Fabrice!

    I love how simply receiving a maple tree can lead to a fascination with the species. The same thing happened to me a few years back - I received a japanese maple when I was working at a nursery while in college, having no particular interest in them (just trees/shrubs in general). But after watching the tree grow I became enamored with it, and soon started collecting other maples. Now I sometimes feel like I've got more than I know what to do with, but my family and friends don't mind the free trees! :-)

    It's a wonderful and rewarding hobby, and this is the best site around for those who share it. Bienvenue.
     
  6. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    Thanks a lot !
     
  7. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Wecomed here indeed!!

    When you say

    I get a bit worried, did you have a confirmed identification of the bug?, did you see it?

    Gomero
     
  8. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    Thanks Gomero.
    No, I was away when the Acer arrived in a parcel, and when I checked it because I wanted to repot it, I noticed a crack lengthwise at the base. I tried its resistance and it cracked.
    I sent a picture to the nursery man who felt sorry and replaced it. He said it had already occured once among the Acers he grew.
    None of us saw the bug.
     

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  9. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    You know Fabrice, something like you are showing in a Japanese maple may lead some people to think that it is a very, very serious matter. But I hope it is not.

    Gomero
     
  10. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    My luck, for a beginning.
    I threw it away upon discovery anyway. Wait and see.. hope it is enough.
     
  11. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Fabrice, welcome to the forums, you seem to have caught the Japanese maple habit in a big way. Plenty of good info here, I am sure you are already aware.

    Gomero, I am wondering if you are suggesting it may be the Citrus longhorn beetle that killed the 'Beni maiko'? Possibly sounds like it to me, but I have no personal experience of this pest. Fabrice, more info on Anoplophora chinensis in this pdf link, hope it is not that. One isolated beetle I wouldn't worry about, hopefully there is no other around for it to breed with and perpetuate the species.
     
  12. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    I re-read the mail from the nursery owner. He does not speak of a beetle but of a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly.
    Could a butterfly do that too ?

    Fabrice.
     
  13. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Er, no. But we can hope that the vigilance of the government will serve here. As the owner of a private garden, who has brought plants from Holland, I've already been inspected twice by the Ministry of Agriculture for the beast, so I can only imagine that an important nursery would get even more attention. Naive, perhaps...

    I'd certainly be panicked about real prospects of having an infestation. But one unknown beetle, or caterpillar, on the other hand, wouldn't frighten me too much.

    -E
     
  14. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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  15. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    Thought so.
     
  16. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Fabrice welcome:) the caterpillar is, cossus or zeuzera i'm sure 90%..
     
  17. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    Thanks Alex ; it reassures me a little bit.
     
  18. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    A little update of my collection of Acers . First year with them.
    Orange Dream is in ground, the rest in containers.
    I have others stored in separate place : Butterfly, Circinatum, Orangeola, Enkan, Green Globe, Mini Mondo, Hondo Ji, Shaina.
    Next year I'll put them all in Air pot containers for Hondo Ji did very well in it.
     

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  19. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Hi Fabrice,
    I live in an area with clay soil about 6" below the surface. I have great success growing Japanese Maples in my area despite the less than desirable soil conditions. I build up my landscape beds using my mix of organic matter (peat moss and pine bark fines 3:1 ratio, the peat moss I buy has up to 20% sand mixed in it).

    I prefer to use small pine bark chips (1-2 inch long) as mulch applied 1.5†to 2†deep. Never pile mulch up against the trunk of the tree. I believe pine bark chips will allow for good water penetration by reducing the amount of water run-off. The mulch will allow the roots to breath. Also the peat along with the pine bark mulch feeds the tree and as it breaks down it will help improve the clay soil below. I do not recommend using dyed mulch or shredded mulch. In my opinion dyed mulch does not add any organic matter and it increases the risk of fungus and disease. Shredded mulch tends to mat together which increases water run-off and decreases the roots ability to breath. I think it’s always a good idea to apply a fresh coat of mulch over the root base in late fall to protect the roots from the cold winter. There may be a better option for mulch available in your area, but keep the ideas above in mind when selecting mulch.

    I also recommend spraying Japanese Maples with lime sulfur spray in late winter. Lime sulfur spray applied in late winter, in my opinion, helps reduce bug and disease outbreaks during the growing season. A light amount of sand mixed into your planting material also helps prevent disease and increase root development (I have experience with the results in using sand and recently I was talking to a grower and they said sand helps prevent disease in their newly grafted Japanese maples.)

    In spring be on the lookout for aphids on tender new growth. Be careful using insecticide spray or organic sprays to treat aphids. Many will create brown spots on the leaves and many times it’s not effective in eliminating the problem. Even if you kill the active aphids, a few days later more will appear as the eggs hatch. I prefer to use my fingers to gently slide them off the delicate new growth and off the undersides of the leaves. If you see ants on your maples in early spring, it’s a sign of aphids. The ants will farm aphids on your maples. You can also use a hose to remove the aphids from the undersides of the leaves with a moderate spray of water, but be sure the spray is not so hard that it damages the leaves. If you choose to spray using water it's best to do so in the early morning when watering.

    Reserve evening watering only when necessary during the hottest part of the year. I prefer to water in the morning. Some maples grown in container or as bonsai may need watered morning and late afternoon in the hottest part of the summer. Be sure that the container drains well and that the base is not sitting in water (I do not use trays under my maple pots, if water sits in the tray the base of the pot can't breathe) Watering in the evening on a regular basis invites slugs and disease. Be sure to water maples deep, giving the water time to drain into the roots. If you don't give the water time to settle, it will only run off and water only the surface. I prefer to keep the water moving to saturate the surface first, then come back to the area and water more deeply.

    You can use a mild fertilizer in the spring and early summer. Usually a fertilizer for roses (rose-tone or a slow release granular) is a good choice for Japanese Maples. There are many organic options out there too, but I do not recommend exceeding 10-10-10. In mid to late summer it’s not a bad idea to fertilize with a 0-10-10 to help harden the new growth developed during the growing season and prepare the tree for winter. If you fertilize using nitrogen too late in the season you will be more likely to have die back over the winter. Be sure to apply the fertilizer carefully out where the roots are and not at the trunk. Too much fertilizer can cause new growth to be long and leggy (several inches between leaf pairs on the new growth is undesirable) and it can quickly turn a specimen tree into a leggy mess. 1 to 2 inches of growth between leaf pairs is desirable.

    Never prune in late winter or early spring as the tree will lose too much sap. You can maintenance prune when necessary during the growing season. A good rule of thumb is to allow for 2 to 3 leaf pairs of new growth before pruning. You can also pinch off the leaf embryo if trying to maintain size or thicken the branch.

    For patio container growing, I recommend Acer Palmatum shishigashira and Acer Palmatum kamagata. I know there are plenty of varieties that are great for patio container, as I have 7 other varieties growing in a container and 9 others growing as bonsai. I base my recommendation on experience finding both Shishigashira and Kamagata do wonderfully in a full sun area on my brick paver patio. We had a hot summer with a heat index of over 105F in July. Kamagata and Shishigashira seemed to thrive in the extreme heat and dry environment (my patio was like a brick oven in July and neither tree had any signs of burn or die back).

    Since you already have the Vertrees' bible, may I also recommend “Bonsai with Japanese Maples†by Peter Adams. It’s an excellent book for bonsai, but it’s also excellent for growing / maintaining/ pruning Japanese maples than can be applied to growing Maples in the landscape.

    I hope you find the above useful. The information provided is what I have learned by maintaining a growing collection of Japanese maples in zone 5 (started with a Sango-kaku four years ago and now it’s a collection of 45, including 9 that I am growing as bonsai.) I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, I only speak from my experience. I am new to this forum too and I hope my reply is not too long.
     
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  20. Fabrice

    Fabrice Active Member Maple Society

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    I am so sorry JT1. You must have spent a lot of time writing this and I have just noticed it.
    I have my little google document where I copy/paste most of the interesting pieces of advice written by maple growers. I think I can copy your whole answer ! :)

    Thanks a lot !

    Fabrice, regards from France.
     

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