Sickly maple or adjustment?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Kathpdx, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. Kathpdx

    Kathpdx Member

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I have transplanted my beloved Japanese maple ('Aka shigitatsu sawa') from pot (after 4 years!!) to the ground this past spring. I am now seeing a very unnerving up-curling of its leaves that does not look at all like "gettin' ready for Fall".
    I'm attaching a link to my pictures of it. Can anyone suggest whether this is a temporary, delayed transition reaction... or if there could be something seriously wrong at root level or topside.

    Thank you!
    Katharyn

    My maple HERE...
     
  2. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Is this maple open to drying winds or strong sunlight? (I can see little shade)
    Could it be over (or under) watered?
    Is it in well draining soil?
    Did you tease out the roots before it was planted? (after 4 years this might be an issue)
    You would need to give more information as there are many possible reasons for its condition
     
  3. Luke Harding

    Luke Harding Active Member

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    Location:
    Westonbirt Arboretum, Great Britain
    From the photos, I'd say the Maple was a little too dry. We occasionally get similar dead leaves and it is usually down to the trees not receiving enough water during warmer weather. Acer palmatum is quite susceptible to drought. Although liking plenty of moisture, they do not like sitting in wet soil.
     
  4. Kathpdx

    Kathpdx Member

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    I am realizing that I have not taken special care to give it much direct water this year. I am watering now... and will hope to have learned my lesson for next year.
    It is under a fir tree, where I had the pot for the 4 years. And we did just have some wind what with a change in weather fronts, but not inordinate. And, I think I remembered to tease the roots apart a bit as I transplanted it.

    I am going to assume I have neglected the direct watering (and cannot believe I did this!) Thank you all for looking and advising!

    Kath
     
  5. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Hi Luke,

    Drought in Westonbirt probably corresponds to a rainy year in my garden ;-)))

    My experience growing maples in a dry (and hot) climate is that acer palmatum seedlings, once well established, are surprisingly tough and can take 'normal' (about a month without rain) drought here. Grafted palmatum selections are not as resistant and will suffer if not watered after a week or so without rain.

    Gomero
     
  6. Luke Harding

    Luke Harding Active Member

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    Yep, I would totally agree with that. Seedlings on their own rootstock are rarely a problem. Grafted varieties can be a real headache.
    The tree in the photos is 'Shigitatsu Sawa' and will be a grafted form.
     
  7. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    I would say that you will likely loose a good amount of wood off this tree if you haven't already in its history. I can see one thin branch that is probably gone already. Unfortunately, your maple looks pretty much like a number of Aka shigitatsu saws that I have seen (and many other maples for that matter)...including mine. Mine was about 9 or 10 when I planted it this past spring.

    Whether it was drought, poor culture, or the disease in the maple that has really triggered a decline, the leaf dessication will be the precursor for loss of wood in the branch tips and so on and so forth. The tree wants to live for you I am sure, but I don't think it will very easily out run the verticillium alboatrum and tight bark in it. Vascularly, the wood in the tree is just not up to it.

    I would probably keep it adequately watered, give it some granular 0-10-10 this fall, then when the leaves are mostly out in the spring and some of the rain has passed, use a balanced fertilizer on it with 12-16% N. If you can push some growth you might get it back on track. Just keep pruning out the dead wood and see what you can do with it.
     

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