Upstart little JM seedling

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Margot, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    After admiring (and coveting) so many gorgeous maples on this forum, I know it seems presumptuous of me to talk about the unusual seedling that popped up in my garden in 2015. It's likely nothing special although I do think it shows some promise . . . Possible parents are Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’, 'Bloodgood' and ‘Seiryu’.

    JT1 gave me suggestions about how to document its characteristics throughout the growing season which I've been doing since April.
    So far, it distinguishes itself to my untrained eye in 4 ways -
    - strong horizontal growth habit
    - leaves that cup downward
    - early-season burnishing of leaves
    - purple-red bark on older stems and branches
    As it grows, I believe it will be become more distinctive and beautiful.

    Realizing that these traits could be due to cultural influences rather than genetic, I wonder if it would be a good idea to make grafts onto suitable rootstock so I could compare how it grows in different conditions and locations. Maybe grafting on a taller rootstalk would allow more space for branches to grow outwards and downwards? Would it be a good idea to start pruning it so it doesn't grow too wide?

    Thank you for any suggestions.
     

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  2. LoverOfMaples

    LoverOfMaples Generous Contributor Maple Society

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    Interesting seedling you have. I think its neat.
     
  3. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    For a 4-year-old tree from seed, it looks very vigorous, that's excellent.

    If I pruned it, I would definitely take cuttings(here, mid-june, end of July), or try air-layers. Since it's on its own roots, I think they would survive.

    Good find, take good care of it ;-)
     
  4. maf

    maf Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    @Margot That is a very interesting young maple you have there.... how is it doing after another couple of years or so?
     
  5. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Thank you for your interest @maf. This has been a confusing and perhaps pivotal year for my little maple treasure.

    Without my realizing it, it did not get enough water in its container earlier in the spring so many leaves shrivelled and died. Because this has been such an incredibly hot year, I moved it to a much more shady spot where new leaves eventually grew. Plain - green - ordinary - leaves - nothing so beautiful as I had seen in the previous 5 or so years I've been keeping an eye on it. On top of everything else, I've had a problem with deer getting through the fence and eating the leaves.

    I wonder if there are some Japanese maples that simply don't perform well in the shade - conversely, need sunshine to reveal their colourful potential.

    Unless I learn otherwise, I plan to root prune and replant this young tree, put it back in a sunnier spot, promise to water faithfully and see how it performs in 2022.
     
  6. maf

    maf Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I am glad it is still with you, is the shape still low with branches tending to horizontal? I have seen some old ones with horizontal branch structures at UK arboretums and they can look amazing when mature.

    As to the plain leaves, a couple of things could be going on here. Firstly, leaves from a second growth flush can often be much more like the type species than is typical for a variety, both in terms of shape and/or colour. And secondly, as you were wondering, most of the green and red leaved JM cultivars show better colour in more sun - in fact most prefer it and grow better in sun than shade.

    Sounds like a good plan
     
  7. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks again, @maf. Your comments are very useful and encouraging. The maple that spent the summer under A. 'Osakazuki' is still very much horizontal and looks just like it's mother, both now showing changes in leaf colour. I'm going to put it back where it was originally in more sun and see how it develops next year.

    I thought I'd also show you another seedling-grown maple about the same age that has been growing in shade all year. I didn't think it was too interesting up until now when I see it has definite weeping inclinations. I think I'd better nip off the branches that are dragging on the ground.

    For someone who can't afford too many named cultivars, it's really fun to watch these volunteers with their unique characteristics.

    1. & 2. Maple seedling #1 showing deer browsing damage.
    2. Maple seedling #2 - good colour even in complete shade. May be descended from A. 'Bloodgood'.

    Acer 'Isla' - 09-2021.JPG Acer 'Isla' - 09-2021 - 2.JPG Acer 'Levi' - 09-2021.JPG
     
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  8. maf

    maf Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Couldn't agree more, seed grown plants can often be more fun and just more interesting than named cultivars. They both have their place in the gardening world and one shouldn't have more perceived value than the other.

    I hope you would like to post an update next year as I would be very interested to follow how they are doing.
     

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