Spring Problems

Discussion in 'Maples' started by kaydye, May 2, 2010.

  1. kaydye

    kaydye Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Location:
    Live in Mapleton, Illinois, zone 5
    I've been growing maples in containers for about five years now. They're on my patio, etc. in the summer and are stored in the garage in winter (never gets below the 25 degree F. mark). My problem seems to be the transplanting part. Using a mix of bark/well composted soil/and coir and transplanting in the fall, I either get maples that grow like crazy or have parts that either don't bud out or grow these giant long whips. This year it's a particular problem with a few. I figure I'm doing something wrong in the transplanting part, but am not sure what. I'm thinking that the newly transplanted maples were either too dry or too wet during the winter storage part. I water them once a month, sometimes putting snow on the pots if it's too cold in the garage (if it's available and if it's too cold in the garage to water) then as the temp warms the snow melts. This spring I have some that have done too well (I'm really worried I am going to have to start restricting growth by root pruning and cutting back branches) and look like the transplant was what they needed. Others have, as I mentioned above, have parts that have not budded out yet. Some of the buds still look like they will (what causes that?) and some look like they will not. We have had a really early spring here, like 2-3 weeks early, could that cause it? Did I do something to the roots in fall when I transplanted them? I don't compact the soil with my hands, I gently bounce the pot so the soil settles around the roots. Then these giant long whips on part of the plant...do I cut these off? If so, where and when? do I cut for the shape of the plant? Should I leave these branches on because they are feeding the rest of the plant? One plant, in particular, A. palm. 'Tsuma gaki' gives me fits every year. This year it is the worst that I've seen it. I had decided it likes a little more moisture, so last fall I transplanted it into a bigger container (from a cedar box to one of those lightweight containers that look like ceramic/terra cotta pot). I have had it in a container since 2005 and I still can't figure it out. Well, I was just hoping that if there's anyone out there who has the container growing to a science that they could give me some suggestions. Thanks.
    Kay
     
  2. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Kay,
    I also grow many maples in containers.

    they happen often due to heavy fertilization or when the plant is heavily shaded; do yours leaf out in the garage?. I do not get many of those whips and when they happen I just prune some lengtht off.

    this happens to me all the time in some maples (always the same). Once the plants has decided that enough is enough in terms of leafing out then I prune off the remaining bare branches. What causes it?, definitely Pseudomonas plays a role in some cases but probably not in all cases. It may be some genetical vascular weakness (whatever that means ;-)) for that particular plant.

    Gomero
     
  3. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I am coming round to the idea that the best time to repot containerised maples is after the first flush of leaves have fully expanded, usually around late May in my climate, because this is the time when significant root growth is just beginning. (Probably not a good time if you also need to majorly root prune). September is also a good time but the plant has less time to readjust before winter.

    Winters here are mild enough to leave the containerised maples outside, and I literally do not water them for six months over the winter season, just relying on rain and (some years) snow to keep the soil moist enough. If I had to overwinter them in a garage or similar I would try to keep them on the dry side, watering once a month sounds too much given the maples are not very active at that time of year. (depends on soil mix). I would be more worried about giving them too much water in the dormant season than not enough.

    I do not get the long whips, and do not know what causes them.
     
  4. Customfox

    Customfox Member

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    Location:
    Kankakee Illinois, USA
    Kay, I'm north and east of you near Kankakee so I also have my JM's in pots on our deck. I also store my JM's in the garage in the winter because it's Illinios after all.

    Anyway here's my story. In previous years I would store my JM's in a large closet in the garage because I thought (there I go again - thinking) the plants were dormant and without light they would not start to grow until they had daylight. I would also give them a drink if I thought they were to dry. Apparently maples don't understand my good intentions because they would start to put on new growth even in the dark! It was spindly to say the least and when I put the plants outside I would lose the new growth and the plants would start all over. This year I put the plants in the garage as usual but I didn't put them in the closet. Quite honestly the plants are getting to big to put in the closet anyway. I didn't water at all and watched for the first sign of bud growth. As soon as I saw new growth I put the JM's outside, that was mid-March for me.

    I didn't get the wippy growth and very little die-back that I've had in past years. Did I mention that I'm a slooooow learner?. I'm attaching a couple of photos that I took yesterday to show that my neglect seemed to work. The first is the Queen which you can see is now to big for a closet. The second is a Sharp's Pygmy that I bought last year from Greer Gardens. It was one of their larger catalog plants and looked nice but kind've spindly last year. This year it looks like a completely different plant.
     

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  5. kaydye

    kaydye Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Live in Mapleton, Illinois, zone 5
    Thank you all so much for the input. It was so interesting.

    Gomero, mine do start to leaf out in the garage before I want them to. I put them into the back of my pickup truck and on nice days they go out. Then when the temp dips, I drive the truck into the garage until it is okay again. This works pretty well, even if they have to stay in the garage for a few days. Customfox, I haven't had the dieback problems you mention. The two pictures you attached are beautiful. I do wish I had a little more sun on my deck. I think some of mine are getting kind of "leggy". I'll have to find a spot, but can't think of one right now.

    The long whips seem to be after repotting, so the compost I mix in my soil is probably the culprit.

    maf, I watered once a month because my mix was pretty light this year. I used pine bark instead of mulch. It could be they got too wet. I wish I had enough nerve to winter them outside. I should try a few one year and see how they do. I have some protected areas that might work.
    I like the fall transplanting, and most of my container plants did really well. It's just... well they become like my kids, I want them all to do well:)

    If you think of anything else, it sure was informative. Thanks again.
    Kay
     
  6. Acer Glade

    Acer Glade Member

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    Location:
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    Part of Surrey, England where I live is chalk. So my entire momiji collection in pots, even in awashing basin. As one of my country man said, it is overwatering that kills. I was good at killing them in my early days but I learned. My entire collection stays outin winter (don't have a garage big enough and my wife's car has priority). I just moved them out of the freezing wind. Whips or not, Ishapedmymaple to show off its potential like Bonsai but big Bonsai using techniques called Niwaki. Don't be afraidand think what you want that momiji to look like when it matures. Ensure you sterilise your pruning tools though. Momiji are tough creature.
     

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