water absorbing polymer

Discussion in 'Maples' started by kvolk, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. kvolk

    kvolk Member

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    Do any of you use the water absorbing polymer crystals when planting new Japanese maples? I have used them sparingly this year in planting my new trees. I don't know if they do any good or not but I can't see how they would hurt. According to Vertrees it is more important that the water supply be consistant than that it stay moist. He says that a relatively dry site is OK as long as it is consistant. It seems that the crystals would help to avoid wide swings in water. Perhaps I am treating myself more than the trees. I have also started tilling in some sulfur granules and chelatd iron along with lots of fine bark compost to help combat our pH issues. Does it do any good? I don't know but it makes me feel a little better.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Amending and overfertilization may not make the plants feel better, however. Use chemicals carefully, based on soil analysis reports. Amend entire potential rooting area or do not amend. Mulching is generally preferable for long-term plantings (such as trees and shrubs).
     
  3. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    The crystals have been quite helpful in containers, but I would limit them to the hanging baskets and tubs of annuals. There, they have saved our bacon a few times when waterings have been missed!

    Not sure what the problem was in field soil, but they haven't worked out as the miracle solution for drought in crops as was hoped. The polymers have a limited lifespan in soil as well, breaking down quite a bit in one year...Organic matter seems to give a better return on the investment in that environment.
     
  4. steely1

    steely1 Member

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    I have used them with some young acers that I put in this year. I can't really say for sure in such a short time, but we had the second worst drought year and high heat this year and I only lost one small one that I had planted. I didn't like them in pots as well...it's too easy (for me anyway) to have a heavy hand and some of my pots actually lifted up because I had put too much in. I felt my maples in pots would have done better without and don't plan to use them next year in them. Now I am going to experiment with polymer in the ground next year on hydrangeas and ferns plus a few more "water lovers" in my garden to see what the results are. F. Byles really recommends polymer for acers, mostly to get them through the first two years.
    Kay Dye, Edelstein, IL zone 5
     
  5. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have not used the product, but I have looked at the cost once or twice. Given that it will not have a long lifespan, investing in a drip irrigation system and a good timer might be better for potted culture. I can only see using the polymer in pots, as it does not make a great deal of sense in lancscape plantings.

    MJh
     

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