Unhealthy A. circinatum seedlings

Discussion in 'Maples' started by mcroteau1969, Jun 2, 2005.

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  1. mcroteau1969

    mcroteau1969 Active Member 10 Years

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    Greetings,

    I have about 30 Acer circinatum seedlings that are about 3 mos. old and are exhibiting some unhealthy signs (see attached photo):

    - curling of leaves
    - discolouration of leaves
    - white substance on leaves

    I am new to gardening and hope to have a at least 5 of these survive to place in my yard - can some one please assist me to diagnose what is wrong?

    I also have 5 Acer macrophyllum that I hope to plant in my yard and they are showing simillar signs.

    Thanks,
    Mike, Victoria

    -----------------------

    Some background:

    Growing media = 1 gal container with equall amounts of potting soil w/Osmocote, SeaSoil, sphagnum moss peat and a bit of maple/oak leaf mulch

    Watering 3-4x weekly about 1cm of water (initial watering after transplanting from smaller pots included soaking buckets in water to allow peat to moisten).

    Fertilized with complete fertilizer weekly at 50% of rated amount.

    Plants receive about 4-6 hours of direct sun each day and are in an area that has good wind/ventilation.
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Leaf shape and color might indicate need to adjust nutrient regime and irrigation practices. White is foliage mildew, could imply a problem with drying of the root zone. Foliage mildews of susceptible kinds of plants (such as deciduous azaleas and certain roses) are prevalent on the Pacific Coast in mid-summer because the combination of dried-out soils and foggy weather (resulting in moist, but not heavily rinsed leaf surfaces) is perfect for them.
     
  3. Wanda4

    Wanda4 Member

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    These photographs just don't look like A. circinatum to me. Are you sure that's what they are? Unless the leaves are curling under an awful lot. The leaves (as described in Kruckeberg's 'Gardening With Native Plants'): 'Its palmate leaves are symmetrically seven to nine-lobed, each lobe pointed and with a toothed margin" Also, that sounds like a lot of fertilizer for these wild ones. Osmocote *and* liquid fertilizer?

    I transplanted a lot of seedlings last fall - but now they are leafing out & most are A. macrophyllum instead of A. circinatum! This fall I will pick seeds directly from my favorite trees.

    I hope they recover & do well for you! Let us know what happens as they get older.

    Wanda
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Round leaves appear as plants get older. Sometimes young vine maples even look like Japanese maples, revealing their relationship.
     
  5. Wanda4

    Wanda4 Member

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    Really? I have about 50 acres here, covered with a multitude of native plants - many of which are Acer circinatum & I've never seen round leaves on any of them at any stage of growth. I will have to start observing other stands of circinatum to see if there are deviations from the ones I know here. Would the fertilizer being used have any bearing on the size & shape of leaves?

    Wanda
     
  6. Andre

    Andre Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Are you sure these are Acer circinatum ?

    Leaves should look like this
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    What I was saying was that youngsters sometimes have non-rounded leaves. occasionally quite like those of Japanese maple, before they go on to produce the familiar shape. This can be seen in the stock shown in the original post here, I was mentioning that it was normal.
     
  8. Wanda4

    Wanda4 Member

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    I guess I should be more specific in which/where Acer circinatum I am talking about. I live in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range in Oregon. The Acer circinatum I am referring to is not a named variety but the native species. And yes, Andre, I'm sure that's what they are.

    There is a reference to the Acer circinatum in the Vertrees 1978 edition - I haven't checked the 3rd edition. Mr. Vertrees gives an excellent description of our "Vine Maple". When I first became interested in the Acer palmatum I was surprised to see the similarities with the Acer circinatum. And in reading of using circinatum as root stock - really surprised. It really is a small world, isn't it?

    Here is a USDA link with all the info:
    http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=plant_profile.cgi&symbol=ACCI

    Wanda
     
  9. Andre

    Andre Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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  10. Wanda4

    Wanda4 Member

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    My guess is that you both mean round as in palmatum shaped? I went out in the woods today & took a few photos of my circinatum - both old (over 40 years at least) and new (seedlings). Here is a photo of the really old one and a photo of another younger one in the woods.
     

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  11. Wanda4

    Wanda4 Member

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    And here is a photo of 2 seedlings in the woods. The one on the left is Acer circinatum, and the seedling on the right is Acer macrophylla. There seems to be a lot of seedlings this year, probably due to the relatively warm winter & the lack of sheep in this particular part of the pasture. Most have slug & insect damage - and apparently the deer haven't found them yet. The second picture is of an Acer macrophylla.

    Wanda
     

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  12. mcroteau1969

    mcroteau1969 Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, I'm glad to see that my original posting regarding the health of the seedlings has generated such great interest!

    To answer a few questions: Yes, I'm sure the plants are A. circinatum, attached is a photo of parent plant located on the campus of U of Victoria. Also attached is recent photo showing developing leaves of my seedlings which are showing a more characteristic "Vine Maple" shape. As I read in another disussion/posting in this "Maples" forum it can take time for seedlings to take their true form. I have A. macrophyllum seedlings and they are distinctly different - bigger/rougher/thicker cotyledons, petioles are more red in colour, leaves are thinner and more "squarley" shaped (for lack of better word). I do not feel the identity is an issue for me as the parent is known and the seeds' path from harvest to potting up was well documented.

    Regarding Osmocote use - it was added when the seedlings were in small 4" pots. They were pricked out of a tray and added to a sand/fir bark mix with roughly 1/2 teaspoon per pot. Seedlings were later potted up into 1 gals but additional Osmocote was added. I felt it neccessary to use some fertilizer as I believe these seedlings are growing in media with limited nutrients - peat/seasoil/sand/leaf mulch.

    I agree with Ron B. who felt this was an issue of "nutrient regime and irrigation practices." So with that in mind I:

    1. reduced watering to once per week and fertilization (with 50% dilute 20-20-20) is every second week.
    2. moved the seedlings to the west side of my property where they receive about 2-3 hours of direct sunlight and late afternoon filtered sunlight.
    3. Mildew issue - I found another UBC posting that referenced a web site recommending a spray of water diluted skim milk (10:1). I sprayed all leaf surfaces - mildew has cleared but not disappeared.

    Some newly developing leaves are still curling under but the discolouration is less pronounced and the appearence of "veins" and leaf edge discoluration is also less. Most seedlings are 6-8" high on average - some taller and some smaller.

    Maybe less fertilizer is required as the plants age? Does anyone have an opinion on the use of fertilizer with seedlings?

    It's great that this forum exists to help us all and I really appreciate the effort all of you have made to aid me! Thank you very much - my seedlings are improving and I appreciate your help.

    Michael.
     

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  13. Dale B.

    Dale B. Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have concerns about your potting mix. I discourage the use of peat moss in maple potting soils because it holds too much water. I use composted pine bark as the major component in the mix. Make sure that the mix drains well. If the pot is very heavy after you water it is not draining well enough. Maple roots need plenty of air and will rot if kept too wet.

    Use a well draining mix and you can water every day if you want.

    Dale
     
  14. mcroteau1969

    mcroteau1969 Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you for the tip - I wish I had heard that sooner ... do you think I could get away with potting them up into 2gals at the end of this summer using a mixture with no peat? I realise that might create a potting mix with different density layers but might it help them to prosper next year?

    I guess another option might be to repot them now - but I am afraid the stress would do more harm?

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Repot when roots are approaching bottoms/walls of containers. You want to catch them before roots are diverted by pot walls. This can happen rather quickly, much stock sold is rootbound because it was not potted on nearly often enough.
     
  16. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You want to catch them before roots are diverted by
    pot walls.


    In our nursery that is exactly what we did want. We
    wanted the roots to grow outwards then down the can.
    That way we limit the amount of swirling roots which
    will lead to a pot bound condition if not caught in time.

    With added time release fertilizer in the soil mix and then
    with additional applied Nitrogen I am no so sure we are
    looking at good root development as it is. We never
    added Nitrogen to our soil mixes for seedlings. We
    waited to fertilize any of our seedlings with Nitrogen
    until they were almost five gallon size. We felt we would
    end up killing off too much root system when the roots
    were their most vulnerable if we gave them any Nitrogen
    for the first three years. Even here I will not give a Maple
    any Nitrogen until it is no less than three years old. A
    lot of plants have been lost because we felt we had to
    fertilize them with Nitrogen when they were way too
    young.

    I agree that Peat Moss should be used sparingly in soil
    mixes for Maples. For us here we want our soil mixes
    to retain water but we also want air movement. Peat
    Moss is probably better used as a soil amendment in a
    warm climate rather than a cool one though. Even
    straight already mixed commercial grade potting soils
    will work well for us with young plants here. For plants
    that have rather sensitive root systems like Azaleas and
    Camellias a nursery grade potting soil is probably better
    than adding in actual soil to the soil mix. Where we fail
    with Azaleas and Camellias is when the soil mixes can
    compact by virtue of the mixes becoming too wet and
    Peat Moss will only aid in the mixes coalescing and not
    allowing air movement once saturated. The quickest
    way to kill off an Azalea and Camellias is to not have
    air movement either planted in the ground or grown in
    a container. People do not realize that we can also have
    what is known as a wet compaction and with too much
    Peat Moss in the soil mix combined with lots of water
    we are looking at creating a wet compaction all on our
    own. I'll deal with a clay pan layer any day than deal
    with a water compaction problem.

    For seedlings we want the roots to grow unimpeded
    even if the top growth is sparse. I agree that it will be
    the roots that will determine when these seedlings need
    to be bumped up into a larger can but most people look
    at the amount of top growth they get and then move the
    plants into a larger container. If you get good enough
    root growth the plants should go from ones into fives,
    not into twos.

    Another thing to consider is that with too much applied
    Nitrogen especially with Maples you can expect to see
    more evidence of powdery mildew in the Spring and early
    Summer, in a cooler climate more so than a warm one,
    more often than you will without the applied Nitrogen.
    Less likely with the seedlings grown in full sun but
    symptoms will show up more readily grown in filtered,
    dappled or high shade.

    Jim
     
  17. mcroteau1969

    mcroteau1969 Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, thank you for the info. I think, since I have 30+ seedlings I will experiment tonight with 10 and re-pot them now in the same size (1gal) but in a better draining mixture with hopes of countering the ill effects of any peat still attached to the root ball.

    Any suggestions for a low (or zero) Nitrogen fertilizer? Should I be looking for something with zero Nitrogen or ...should I focus on a formula that has a high Phosphorus ???

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  18. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    With a time release fertilizer already in the soil
    mix I would not add in any additional Nitrogen.
    A 0-10-10 granulated fertilizer with between
    6-10% Calcium in the formulation is all I would
    use for seedlings and very young Maples. Had
    you not used the fertilizer in the mix then I can
    recommend using a 6-12-6 also with about 6%
    Calcium as a standard granular fertilizer used in
    the Spring only (for young seedlings, not yet
    adapted to a one gallon I would not use it). That
    is what I use here with only one application made
    just as the leaf buds are swelling and watered in
    well. I'll come back in the Fall with a 0-10-10
    for all of my Maples here.

    I would think growing seedlings to keep for use
    in landscape plantings that you would be better
    off not to use lots of Nitrogen when these plants
    are young. What you want is root growth, not so
    much top growth on these plants as they develop.
    The more root development you get the less likely
    you will have problems with these plants later as
    they get older and once they are planted in the
    ground.

    When you pull the plants from one gallons to change
    the soil medium check and see what kind of root
    development you are getting. If you feel you have
    good root growth you can put these plants in a two
    gallon if you want to. I had some 4" potted Maples
    come in late last year and this year. When I potted
    them up I put them in two gallon containers and will
    hold them there until I can tell by their roots they are
    ready to go into fives.

    You can leave your soil mix as is if you are happy
    with it but I'd add in some ground fir bark and some
    perlite to your current mix. I've used Peat Moss in
    the past in some of my soil mixes but the Peat Moss
    was in the potting soil I used as my soil mix base.
    To counter the Peat Moss I will add in lots of ground
    fir bark and some perlite to get better drainage. I can
    deal with slow drainage better than you can as with
    our heat the cans will dry out much faster that yours
    will. What you have to be most concerned with is any
    water mold form of phytophthora so for you fast
    drainage is almost essential. You can't risk giving the
    pathogen a medium to survive in. Pacific Northwest
    soils and with your climate using any native soil in
    your potting mixes combined with the soil mixes
    not allowed to dry out between waterings is real
    risky business. The container growers in Oregon
    that have had the least amount of problems with
    their plants use no soil whatsoever until the plants
    are about 5-7 years old. Ground fir and pine bark
    if need be in varying sizes of grind and perlite is all
    some of the people I know use until their Maples
    are five gallon size. We've had much better luck
    here with the Oregon container plants that did not
    have native soil in their soil mixes.

    Jim
     
  19. mcroteau1969

    mcroteau1969 Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you very much Jim and all the others - your advice will not be lost on me. I appreciate the time you all took to respond. This has been a great learning experience for me!

    Cheers,
    Mike
    Victoria, BC
     
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Talk to some native plants growers, maybe somebody at N.A.T.S. for instance, and seif they will share some of their methods for producing vine maple.
     
  21. mcroteau1969

    mcroteau1969 Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, I have repotted about half of the seedlings into a mixture of fir bark and vermiculite (I couldn't find perlite in large qty at a good enough price). I noticed most plants that were under 6" tall had compact root balls roughly same size as tennis ball. Thos that were taller had root balls that were about 6" long and 1-2" wide. I will also add diluted 0-10-10 to the water when I irrigate the seedlings.

    I will also contact someone local for tips. Anxious to see how the plants will fare!

    Thanks all.

    Mike
     
  22. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Mike,

    Good plan as I am at the same point you are, having to repot many plants that are probably suffering from a bagged mix far to heavy in peat.

    You mention of liquid 0-10-10 caught my eye as I would encourage you to use a very dilute solution as summer approaches and not very frequently, maybe once every 4-6 weeks. Follow up with a little granular 0-10-10 in the fall about 6 weeks before the first frost for the potted pants. DILUTE.......

    I suspect you could be a litte more zealous with the liquid 0-10-10 next year as you develop heathier root systems on the plants. For the stressed roots you have now, go easy.

    Good Luck and let us know how you fare.

    Michael
     
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