Planting new Japanese maple- root flare question

Discussion in 'Maples' started by james vee, Apr 6, 2022.

  1. james vee

    james vee New Member

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    Hello all,

    I recently purchased 2 twomblys red sentinels and I have a question about planting depth of one tree specifically. They both came in root control bags and I can easily identify the root flare of one tree and am confident I will plant it properly. From the root flare or top of the soil to the location where branching begins on the tree trunk is about 9 inches.

    The second tree is another story. See the pics- there are two very thick roots which were obviously cut prior to being sent my way. One root is significantly higher on the trunk than I am used to seeing and I am not sure if the tree should be planted so that this root is at about soil level. This would leave about 5" from the root or soil to the beginning of branching on the trunk. If I plant so that the second root is at the soil level and leave a good portion of the top root above ground- this will leave the tree at a level I'm used to and about 9 inches from flare or soil to branching.

    What would you all advise? Leave that top root mostly exposed and only cover it with soil at the end where it starts to turn downward? Or bury higher on the trunk so that most of the top root is covered with soil?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     

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  2. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    My idea would be something like this, I'm fine with some surface root showing:
    PXL_20220406_155052133.jpg
     
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  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good morning James, I agree with M @maf, leave them exposed, IMO if you cover them with soil you will get root growth upwards. I would also pin them down and just cover the ends with soil. They are rather unsightly like that !!
    Looking at the freshness of the cut, it was done prior to sending out to you. But that's OK. You do seem to have good fine roots below the larger ones, so there will be no problems for your trees.
     
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  4. james vee

    james vee New Member

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    Thank you both very much for the replies and information! I really appreciate it.

    I just want to clarify to ensure I'm understanding. While you both are advising to leave some root exposed it looks like maf's recommendation is to leave a small portion of the top root exposed while Derek's recommendation is to leave a larger portion of the both roots exposed.

    Again, I really appreciate both of your responses and just want to clarify. Am I trying to plant using maf's line or the line on the picture I have attached? Thank you!
     

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  5. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hi James, I would cover only up to the Red tape and leave the rest exposed. As I said, if you cover further up towards the trunk it will encourage rooting upwards. It is also right to have the trunk free of soil to avoid rotting. Hope that's a bit clearer.
     
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  6. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Having looked at it again, I would aim for somewhere in the middle of the line I drew and the one you show above.

    One thing to consider is that witch's broom types of JM do not always develop large root systems, at least not quickly, so you want to ensure what structural roots exist are well anchored when planted to aid in keeping the tree stable. Particularly when you consider the thick lollypop shape of the top growth is quite a windbreak. Therefore, if it was my tree, I would plant it somewhat deeper than you have shown in post #4 above to ensure the top root was helping to steady the tree.

    If I am not mistaken, the orange tide mark on the trunk indicates the soil level it was growing in at the nursery? If so, it seems to have been growing healthily enough at that level for some time, and while it would be of benefit to expose more of the roots I would err on the conservative side.

    Also worth mentioning that I have witches broom maples that I have grown at the same level as they were planted in the nursery containers and these have never grown a root flare as such, even after many years. I think that with the way these plants grow they do not always grow a traditional root flare as seen in "normal" JM's.

    While I was writing this I have seen additional response from @Acerholic and he is encouraging to plant a little shallower than I suggest. All I can say is weigh up both opinions and make your own mind up - good luck!
     
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  7. dicky5ash

    dicky5ash Generous Contributor

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    The only thing I’d add to the sensible responses from @maf and @Acerholic is that I would probably put a strong stake in at 45degrees to the trunk..and tether the tree to it...this can be removed in a couple of years after the roots have had a chance to fully establish..the stake will help minimise rocking and will help the roots form without too much disturbance. Stakes can leave marks on trees so I tend to wrap the stake at the point it touches the tree with 3 or so wraps of black ground fleece. I find this minimises the hard stake rubbing off the softer bark of the tree to be planted.
     
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  8. james vee

    james vee New Member

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    I very much appreciate the time taken by each of you who have responded. While, it appears I still have a decision to make- you have provided with very valuable information to consider in making my decision.
    Here's to hoping the tree and root system are happy at whatever depth they end up at :) thanks again
     
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  9. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    The tree would be happy, if you take seriously the advice, shared above. Planting too deep = unhappy Japanese maple.
     
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  10. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Agree with this, too deep and you will have problems in the future.
     

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