Variegated maple throwing out non-variegated branch(es)?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by maf, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Northamptonshire, England
    In response to Emery's comment in another thread: Butterfly variegation, this thread is being started to discuss reversion in variegated maples, for addition to the FAQ section (if we get some good replies).

    I don't grow many variegated maples, so I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I do grow a few. My rule of thumb on seeing a non-variegated shoot is to leave it to grow for the current season, and then to cut it off the following spring if it is still showing no variegation. How do others deal with this problem? Looking forward to hearing your opinions.

    Some Japanese maples are notoriously unstable and can have reversions that completely overtake the original tree in a few years if not dealt with, 'Ukigumo' is one well known example. It would be interesting if people could report which variegated maples are most unstable and prone to reversion, and which ones have vigorous branches that can be green one year and return to variegated the next.
  2. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    Novato, California
    Great topic, maf.
    I just talked about Fujanami nishiki & Hinode nishiki not having any variegation when they arrived from
    reputable nurseries and they have never developed it either since I had them. Yubae and Kagero look like
    they also have completely lost their variegation. I've had good luck in sun with my Ukigumo's variegating.
    Occasionally they will have a quieter year where the variegation is more subdued but all of my Ukigumo's
    are proudly variegated this year. My Purple Ghost can look awesome in good sun but a year or 2 ago it
    looked like a very different plant with poor color and reticulation whereas my Olsen's Frosted, Mikazuki and
    Kasigiyama keep strong reticulation colors year after year.
  3. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Dickson, TN
    My Hinode Nishiki has the same problem.

    Also, I find Purple Ghost to be a muddy looking cultivar at best, and wonder how it ever got to market. It has NEVER looked good at my place. Moderate sun. Villa Taranto next to it looks fabulous. What gives?
  4. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Normandie, France
    Maf, I deal with palmatums exactly as you do. Higasa yama is a perfect example of a tree where the new vigorous growth is almost never variegated.

    A tree that comes to mind where the reverted leaves must be cut out immediately is A. platanoides 'Drummondi'. Once they get started these can revert to a plain Norway Maple over a matter of only a few years even for a large tree. I have seen several with only a branch or two are still variegated. Of course cutting out the green shoots can be problematic when they are high up in the canopy of larger specimens.

  5. CSL

    CSL Active Member

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    Boston USA
    I am not sure - I am going on the second season with mine and had it in part shade last year - I was very fond of this tree, and found it quite stunning depending on how sunlight would hit it in the evenings.

    I am hoping it looks as good this year as last.


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