Okigumo or Not?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Bill, May 17, 2019.

  1. Bill

    Bill Active Member 10 Years

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    I have had a maple that was tagged as Okigumo for the last 15 years or so. It has never shown the variegated white and green leaves that this variety is supposed to exhibit and I had given up on it as being likely mislabelled at a nursery. The leaves are all green and are shown on an attached image.

    The tree is about 3 meters high now and shows leaves similar to Sekka Yatsubusa.

    Today I was clearing around the base of the tree and what did I find but two small branches at less than a meter or so from the ground that had appeared and showed the correct variegated colouration. I am sure we have all seen lots of plants where a graft dies and the rootstock sprouts something different, but not the reverse, where the top of the plant is aberrant but the lower portion is correct to this degree (obviously upper branches/leaves often revert to a general palmatum shape - and many times grow out of that and take the correct shape/colour after awhile, but I don't recall seeing this particular situation where a tree takes 12 or 15 years before showing, albeit in a small way, the leaf that it is supposed to have.)

    I welcome any comments and suggestions. In the mean time I will leave the 'correct' branches in place and see what happens..... IMG_0208.JPG IMG_0207.JPG
     
  2. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Active Member

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    I air layered a branch of Ukigumo. The following season it had only large solid green palmate leaves. I defoliated it. It subsequently produced a flush of nothing but the expected green flecked white leaves. And it has born the expected foliage every season since. Somewhat like your experience, but mine with having air layered a branch that previously had the characteristic Ukigumo foliage.

    IOW, I suggest that you remove the solid green leaves and see if you too get a full flush of normal Ukigumo leaves.
     
  3. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    I definitely know of this phenomenon (green leaves replacing variegated ones, then the plant eventually settling down to produce variegated leaves), but in my experience, the green leaves are usually more transitory than what Bill reports. I suspect that it's a question of vigour. When the shoots are robust, they tend to be green, whereas leaves that are preformed the season prior, or are slower to develop in the new season, are more likely to be variegated. The best 'Ukigumo' plants I've seen are grown in containers and show little extension growth.

    Bill, are you fertilizing this plant? Is it shaded? This might be a question best answered by a commercial grower.
     
  4. Ken Hamilton

    Ken Hamilton New Member

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    Hi there. I have a similar situation where A. p. ┬┤Butterfly' has over a period completely reverted to green, not from below the graft but in sections at a time.

    The speckled variegation in your case is probably a viral feature which through vigorous growth the plant has overcome.
     
  5. Acerholic

    Acerholic Active Member Maple Society

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    This is my Ukigumo, it was taken from the ground last year due to poor growth and colour. I must agree that this Maple does seem to prefer being in a pot. Very pleased with the way it is turning out, will probably keep it as a patio specimen from now on.
     

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  6. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I have found over the years mine prefer to be in the gound, but they must be well protected from the sunlight so they can show more of the white in the variegation.
    Some pics of mine today well hidden behind other numerous Maples :-)

    Actually this is the first time i have ventured to go and look and see how it's progressing this season , and i have also found some large green leaves which always appear every year but i always make sure to pinch them straight out.
     

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  7. Bill

    Bill Active Member 10 Years

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    My Ukigumo is old and now quite large - one of the tallest maples I successfully transplanted. This is the first time in 15 years that it has shown any of the typical foliage.

    Not really an option to remove the green growth - that would leave me with a 3 meter high stick (actually a decently thick trunk now) with exactly two 'proper' branches all of about 12 cm or so long - I doubt that a tree that size would like (or survive) such treatment.

    My garden is primarily species Rhododendrons which receive no fertilizer at all (doing that can even be fatal to some lepidotes), nor do my Acers. The only supplements used are the odd bit of acidic fertilizer for rhodos suffering a bit of chlorosis, but I haven't even needed that so far in the new garden.

    The new location of the tree didn't occasion anything in terms of special growth - except for the two small branchlets with the variegated foliage. I guess I'll leave the branchlets in place and watch it for the next few seasons to see what happens.

    I am never sure whether a sudden change in foliage is temporary and will revert or whether I should prune, so tend to leave it awhile. I have an Aratama in a pot that suddenly sent out a long branch three time the height of the rest of the plant. I have a Beni Komachi that for the most part shows typical foliage but reverts easily (a habit of that cultivar, I believe) and it gets regular restorative pruning.

    Thanks for the thoughts on the Ukigumo.
     
  8. dangerine49

    dangerine49 Active Member

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    Interesting comments. I have a small Uki that I bought back in Feb. 2017. I potted it and it never displayed much variegation. I kept it pretty sheltered from too much sun. Finally I decided to plant it in the ground last fall on the north side of my house which gets very little sun. This spring it now displays nice variegation.
     

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