palmatum seedling

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Pieter, Dec 3, 2022.

  1. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    We've had an Acer palmatum of some variety for around 45 years and for the first time this year did I notice a seedling after all that time. Where it's located at the moment it's very much in the wrong place, so, now that it's into senescence I guess I'll have to dig it up with as much of the surrounding soil as possible to avoid interfering with the roots and transfer it to a pot -2 gallon or up- which I'll dig in or whatever else is suggested.

    What are the odds of it surviving for any length of time? Other maple seedlings -not palmatum- I've had over the years have all been finicky and I'd be lucky to get them to around 5-6 years or so.
    Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hi Pieter, seedlings can be rather hit or miss tbh. Some live for many many years as in your 45 year old, but others give up after 3 to 5 years.
    Acer palmatum seedlings do better than others in my experience, hence why they are used as rootstock for cultivars etc.
    So for yours I would suggest you carry out the lifting in late Winter, around end of February and plant up in as small a pot as the roots will allow. They don't like too big a pot and prefer their roots to be quite snug.
    I would use the soil it is growing in now and add a little potting grit for drainage.
    Place in a shady position and leave it alone until you see the roots coming from the bottom and then go to the next size pot up until the trunk is more than a thick pencil size so you can plant out.
     
  3. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    How big or old is the seedling? Might have some implications for the best way to deal with it.

    If the soil where the maple is located is located is even slightly heavy and the tree is not too delicate I would be tempted to bare root it while dormant in Jan/Feb to get it into all proper (ie well draining and moisture retentive) potting mix. Dig up a big plug of soil around the seedling and then chip away at it with chopsticks or similar to remove the soil without damaging the roots.

    With appropriate care there is no reason it should not survive as long as any other Japanese maple. After all, the grafted maples we buy are themselves grafted onto ordinary seedlings.
     
  4. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you, Derek and maf. The seedling is perhaps 15cm, only had 2 leaves on it this year. Seeing as both of you suggest dealing with this in Jan/Feb I'll leave it until then. Meanwhile I'd better make sure it's mechanically protected so it doesn't get stepped on, like slipping as bottomless pot over it!
    Thanks for the advice and have a Merry Christmas!
     
    maf and Acerholic like this.
  5. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    You too Pieter
     
  6. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Pieter,

    I would follow maf's advice :

    ... and of course protect it from the frost after it's repotted.

    Here, I would repot it in late February, when the buds are just starting to swell...
     

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