Soil compaction problems

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Acerholic, May 12, 2020.

  1. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I thought I would post this thread as I've noticed a fair few postings asking about maple branch and leafing out problems this Spring.
    First of all let me say that after many years of being a National Trust member of England, I have visited their gardens and loved to walk under and view the ancient trees in their collections. This is where compaction comes in. All of the visitors have inadvertently damaged wonderful old trees. The national trust have now fenced off around the base of many trees and loosened the surface to allow the trees to breathe.
    Now this is where some maple lovers old and new are also having problems. We are having mild winters and very wet Springs , followed by weeks of dry weather that then forms a mud crust around our shallow rooting trees, depriving the roots of oxygen. This then shows up with troubles in the branching and leafing out in Spring. There is also these days the use of stones around maples for decorative purposes. This again exasperates the problem.
    So my point is that if we can spike and rake our lawns in Spring we should encourage everyone to spend time and gently spike around the base of maples in pots or in the ground to give them air to breathe. They will thank us for it, as I'm sure the ancient trees of the National Trust have done.( if they could talk to us).
     
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  2. zfrittz

    zfrittz Active Member

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    I put a photo of a nursery, although I do not have photos of maples, they also had trident maples, so you can see how trees are planted to avoid excess water.
     

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  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Very good point @zfrittz, I always plant as high as possible. Together with good planting, ariation of the surrounding compacted soil gives our trees a lot of help.
    I'm seeing dead or dying limbs on the maple site a lot, with questions WHY.
    I look at it as simple analogy ; if whilst in bed we are awoken with a dead arm that we have slept on stopping the blood flow hence oxygen flow , imagine a tree without oxygen flow for several months. = dead limbs as would we.
    I did wonder if you would reply to this thread as I'm well aware of your thoughts from previous postings by you on good planting techniques for oxygen flow.
     
  4. zfrittz

    zfrittz Active Member

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    In another bonsai nursery, the maples had them planted in a kind of flower pots made with concrete blocks that are used in construction, and the trees planted on top.
    Something like in this photo
     

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  5. zfrittz

    zfrittz Active Member

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    You must always look at the place where they grow naturally, maples are mountain trees, therefore the soil has to have a lot of stone, for the oxygenation of the roots, being mountain the water does not stagnate and runs down the mountain , the earth is very loose, how do we provide that? Well, planting in a mound and using coarse-grained soil, screening it to remove dust and particles below 2 or 3 mm. and of course it's putting a drainage layer.

    Why are some branches drying up? because almost no one screens the earth, because we do not put enough sand in it, or because even if we do all that, we plant it in a hole in which the plant drowns.
     
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  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @100% like and agree.
     
  7. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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  8. zfrittz

    zfrittz Active Member

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    I have gone out, although it is raining enough, to teach you one thing.
    Look at where this maple is planted. A drainer.
    look at the grains of the earth where it is sown. they are 3 to 4 mm. the grains of the internal part in the drainer are 5 to 10 mm.
    Look at the health of the roots that protrude from the drainer.
    Can that tree have any problems with oxygenation? never will.
    It can dry me of thirst, excess fertilizer, anything else, but the root will never die for lack of oxygen
     

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  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @zfrittz excellent point. Sadly all our gardens become compacted over time and we don't have the correct soil in the first place. But we must equally endeavour to improve our soil all the time.
     
  10. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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  11. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    It just crossed my mind: I wonder if one can hook up an inexpensive power washer wand to an inexpensive home air compressor and make their own air spade for and 'everyday' cost.

    It seems such a simple and obvious idea. But, I have no intention to dive down that hole! Simple sounding things always 'eat my lunch' (with all their little complications/impracticalities).
     
  12. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    What a tool, my maples would love that on my heavy soil that compacts without anyone walking on it. So so expensive though !!!!
    @Osoyoung, looks like there is a hidden inventor in you. !!!!?
     
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  13. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    I am a dreamer.
     
  14. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Osoyoung, lol, there is nothing wrong in that !!!
     
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  15. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    A couple of years ago I visited Kew Gardens. There is a beautiful specimen of a Turner oak (Quercus x turneri 'Pseudoturneri'). it was aging and showed signs of stress year after year, they thought it was about to die. But in 1999, it was uprooted by the storm. They put it back on its roots with a crane, and it revived. They realised that visitors had compacted the soil. When I was there, there were gardeners pumping sometghing into the soil with sorts of drills and hoses, they told me it was nitrogen.
     
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  16. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hi @AlainK , good morning to you, hope its warming up nicely there. This is the reason I started this thread after seeing the damage to wonderful old trees and them being revived by keeping people away from the underneath area. I thought that as there were a lot of questions from people who had taken over gardens with maples struggling, I would pre empt any more questions about trodden down compacted soil.
    There is a very good video on this tree and its care on BBC that transforms how we look after trees.
     
  17. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I'd love to watch it: is it available online?
     
  18. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I think the Turner oak episode was when the Air Spade was invented.

    It looks as though it's possible to rent it, at least in America, but certainly not in France. (The Spade, not the oak). That would be a good solution.

    I have a friend who is tree manager for the Royal Parks, he looked at a poorly beech here and said "Easy, just air spade it and inject activated charcoal." Right, easy!

    Speaking of oaks I have a lot of Q. cerris up, if anyone wants one. Might make good bonsai @AlainK ? Those oak galls freak me out BTW...
     
  19. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @AlainK , It's on Facebook BBC London. Titled 'Kew the Turner Oak ,what a tree taught us'. I can't seem to copy it for you sorry
     
  20. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Btw , I have a seedling growing from an acorn I picked up from that very tree.
     
  21. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Here it is. 8 years old now. Thinking of Bonsai tbh as I definitely have no room for an Oak, lol
     

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  22. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    The oak tree in Kew Gardens that taught the world a lesson. This is a BBC video of 4 minutes.
    If you type the above in your search engine, you can watch it on your PC ,TABLET OR PHONE. It is what I've been trying to say at the start of this thread. (Compaction)
    Thankyou to @AlainK and @emery for the reminder.
    My little tree came from an Acorn collected from the ground by the Turner Oak at Kew in 2012 by our eldest granddaughter (6 at the time). So apart from the above usefulness to this thread, it also holds a very special meaning to my wife and I.
    Please watch the short video.
     
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  23. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, I've seen this one, good piece Try this link https://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories...in-kew-gardens-that-taught-the-world-a-lesson

    Funny I had remembered it as the 1999 storm, what we still call La Tempête here in Normandie and no doubt elsewhere in France. But I guess that one came further south. I still remember vividly running out to get big masonry jacks at 7am on Boxing Day to hold up the house. Lucky I knew who had some! We lost hundreds of trees here, but I hadn't really started planting maples yet.

    Derek don't think your link worked, but easy enough to find by searching! Lovely that your seedling has that connection.
     
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  24. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks for the link, I too thought that it was 1999.
     
  25. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    You blink and 12 years pass lol
     
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