What have you observed from seedlings?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by maplesmagpie, May 27, 2015.

  1. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    The obsession deepens....

    A neighbor with more mature JMs gave me eight seedlings last weekend. Some are 2-year seedlings, most are first year. All are from an area with a very interesting assortment of trees... a red dissectum, a Korean maple, a Full Moon maple, two "Beni something" maples (his term, not mine), and a Bloodgood.

    I'm new at this, so any and all observations are interesting to me. What have you noticed about seedlings and how their appearance relates to their future color or leaves? Do seed leaves (I have some red, some green, some mottled pink) indicate future color? Or is there no relation at all?

    Any advice on how to care for them so they really thrive? Advice on what not to do?
     

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  2. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Don't pot them on until they have developed a good root system :)
    Be patient
     
  3. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    The shape of the first leaves above the cotyledons is often somewhat simplified compared to the final shape, but close enough to give you an indication how it will turn out. By the time you have several sets of leaves, you will be pretty much seeing the final shape. The two year seedlings, such as that nice one marked "1 Full moon", will be showing an accurate representation of the final shape, but maybe a little smaller in size depending on conditions.

    As to color, again I find that the expression in the young plants is more or less what you will find in the older ones. Obviously factors such as light exposure and fertilization affect the leaf color to some degree. For example if you find a red seedling, you can be pretty sure it will be red when older, but it is difficult to know how the red tones will hold over a growing season until it has been observed for a couple of years.
     
  4. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Thanks, both of you. That's very informative, and a good reminder to be patient. I tried the molasses water treatment on these little ones, so we'll see what kind of root system they develop.

    How many years do they spend in these small pots, usually?

    #1, the seedling found under the Acer japonicum, is the one I'm most excited about. I'll probably end up planting that in the yard so it has the best chance of surviving. The others will go to neighbors and friends if they want them.
     
  5. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I usually try to put my new seedlings somewhere where I don't see them every day and I can forget about them and let them get on with life on their own :)
     
  6. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I find that variegation often takes a while to develop. True that "red is red" as Maf says, but sometimes young plants with just a little variegation will become quite colorful later on. I have an offspring of sango kaku that is now a very pretty pink-cut variegate after being pretty drab for the 1st 4 years. A little crataegifolium showed no variegation at all last year, but this year is speckled with pink.

    So yes you get an idea when they're little, but IMHO they do take a few years to settle down to final colour and leaf shape.

    One observation, I lose a lot of seedlings in their first winter from die back. Maybe it's just the wet around here, but it can be quite frustrating... Those that make it through year 2 are usually OK. I just gave away a 2 year seedling this morning to the guy who came to sweep the chimney: vigorous upright and a couple of feet tall.

    I find that the little sprouts sometimes have a hard time getting roots under them in my mix which has large chunks, I'm going to try some new substrate from plagron which is mostly peat and perlite for the 0.4l pots. I sow in seed trays (sand+coco) and then transplant to the 0.4l pots.

    -E
     
  7. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    You had a two year seedling that was that big? Goodness. Mine are all so puny. Do you have them placed in the "morning sun afternoon shade" routine, or something else? Do you fertilize?

    That's good to know about variegation. I have two green seedlings that showed a lot of pink, and only one is still showing it two weeks later. It will be interesting to watch how that changes over the years.

    whis4ey, you're the voice of reason--- leave them alone, don't fiddle with them too much -- all very good, but hard to do in the fishbowl that is my backyard. ;) Also, I tend to want to keep them close and move them often, because at ground level, tucked away, they're rabbit bait.
     
  8. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Heh, most of mine are puny too. For some reason I got a batch year before last, many from seiryu, that grew really fast. Some hardly grow at all in 2 years, most are probably around 6 inches.

    I do mycorrhizae and a little osmocote when they hit the pots. I've found that since there's no earth in the current mix I use, without anything they don't grow. I also did an experiment 2 years ago on root size, comparing plagron, wortel and a control on a bunch of different maples seedlings: davidii, pseudoplatanus, palmatum, dissectum etc. The plagron treated did best (the control out-performed the wortel), so now I water in with plagron whenever a plant gets repotted. (I forget what it's called exactly, but the Plagron root product has no nitrogen at all in it).

    I keep seedlings on tables, the tender ones, yellowish or variegated, tend to get afternoon shade, but the sort of plain-vanilla-green-or-red I stick out in full sun, which enables me to use the automatic watering. They don't seem to mind...
     
  9. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Interesting discussion this.I'm growing seedlings without soil for the 1st time right now but am dissappointed to hear you say they won't grow well.I can well believe this as my new gritty mix isn't turning out to be the miracle I'd hoped for.The plants are taking ages to get established and are still susceptable to overwatering(though when inspecting the mix it 'appears' to look dryer than compost)
    On the subject of early leaf shape,in my garden it's only really the Bloodgoods and Osakazukis that produce any number of viable seeds.Now I admit I never let them grow more than a couple of years but in that time I don't think I've ever seen an amoneum seedling.Is this generally how it goes?(perhaps why fake Bloodgoods are easy to spot?)or does the amoneum leaf shape come later?
     
  10. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I'm curious about amoenum leaf shape as well. Anyone have a photo of a seedling that ended up being an amoenum?

    Good to know yours are all about the same 6" as mine, emery. What year do they start to take off and really grow?

    ...funny story... My kids are enjoying the new seedlings, but were absolutely horrified at the idea of using them as rootstock. "You mean you CUT OFF THEIR HEADS?" was said more than once. Then my husband made it worse by joking he was going to use our daughter as rootstock, so he could have new little feet.

    When I pointed out that all of our JMs are on generic rootstock, they looked very differently at our collection of named cultivars and suddenly became very protective of the little seedlings. Now I've promised to find homes for all of them "just as they are." At the very least, we had a good discussion about grafting!
     
  11. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Ha ha,''new little feet''...like it.Magpie,if you just want seedlings for rootstock,by far the best are the plain green 'acer palmatum' seeds you can buy cheaply anywhere.Though usually quite small they grow twice as fast as even Bloodgood for example despite being half the size.Also the red seeds(often called atropurpureums)aren't as vigorous as the green.
    My green ones are in their 2nd year now in rubbish compost and range from 6" to 18"...should be able to use some this year:)
     
  12. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    That is a very good point. I have been observing my seedlings and checking back on old photo's. Some leaf shapes are very obvious from the start, see these newly sprouted dissectum seedlings from Inaba shidare mother for example:

    seedlings2.jpg

    However, I seem to have a distinct lack of amoenum leaf shapes amongst my smaller seedlings, plenty of matsumurae but very little amoenum. Obviously it could just be chance with the seeds that I have grown; my record keeping is not great so I do not always know where the seedlings came from.

    Anyway, I have been growing a couple of seedlings at my parents' house where I keep my "overflow" maples, and I found it very interesting to view some pictures of these two from the last few years. The first is one we found growing in the gravel near some potted maples, it was about 2 or 3 inches high when we found it and I was surprised to see it had the leaf shape with rolled under leaf blades like Trompenburg. The second was found growing in the pot of an Osakazuki. Here they are in 2011:

    seedling4.jpg

    The one on the left looks vaguely amoeunum shaped but you would not be sure to classify it as such. Fast forward to 2013 and they have been transferred to larger containers:

    seedling5.jpg seedling6.jpg

    The Trompengurg-like one looked the same leaf shape as before, but the other is in the middle of a growth spurt and is putting out leaves that are nothing like an amoenum. Now I will show a picture of how they look today (June 2015) and it is clear that the second one displays an amoeunum leaf shape:

    seedling7.jpg
     
  13. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Interesting Maf,it's taken 4yrs to show that shape...another reason cultivars should be monitored before release.
    Seems odd to me that many here get a good number of dissectum and linearlobum seedlings from like parents which show straight away,yet what you would think would be a more natural and more likely to be inherited shape is slow to or doesn't show....especially considering it doesn't have a percentage of abnormal genes(?)....I guess it's not as straight forward as that.
    I like the trompenburgesque seedling Maf :)
     
  14. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    maf, that photo progression is really fascinating. Thank you for sharing it!
     
  15. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Well Maf inspired me to go out and take a few seedling pictures, if not to go through the archives and do a year-by-year comparison! Great post Maf, I admire your organization, and interesting to see how the amoenum seedlings have progressed. Like Houzi I don't have many of those although I do have a few.

    So here are a comparison in the first 2 pictures of seedlings from Villa Tarranto in their third season compared with the new sprouts from this year. The 3rd picture is more seedlings from various sources entering either the second or third season. (Villa Tarranto very reliably throws red strap-leaf offspring).

    Next is two pictures of a well-variegated seedling from 2011, so going into the 5th season of growth, and almost ready for planting out into the landscape. This maple is notable (to me anyway) because it showed almost no variegation initially but each year it has more and more pink colours. I have another one like this, a couple of years younger, which is even more variegated but initially had none at all.

    Finally a picture of one of the seiryu seedlings going into the 3rd season with very vigorous growth indeed! I haven't had many that grew this fast, I hope it doesn't mean it will eventually wilt and die. I do lose many young seedlings, usually going into the second season though, from damping off, especially in the early spring before the sun is strong.

    -E
     

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  16. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I am not really that organised Emery, just luck that I found the photo's and that I took them in the first place!

    Interesting to see the variegated seedlings, hope they do well for you. I have a few from reticulated parents but they have not shown any reticulation after a couple of years.
     
  17. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Blimey! that Seiryu seedling is vigorous Emery.I like the variegated one too,looks as good as some of the cultivars out there.
    I guess you're unlucky Maf,Talon seems to get loads of reticulate seedlings but then again his stock is probably vast.
    May I ask,those of you who have grown dissectum seedlings...are they as vigorous as others or less so?I'm assuming they come from dissectum parents.The reason I ask is because I sometimes get hold of some red rootstocks when I need a few more.They are always matsumurae in form with varying degrees of serration.A few are often so serrated I'd call them dissectums but I assume they're from the same parents.As can be seen from the pics. they are just as vigorous as the others although they tend to flop all over the place ha.I often get 1or2 which aren't as vigorous but seem to have a more upright stance(well at least at this stage)..only got one possible contender this time,the one at the front pic.3.I'm thinking of grafting some of these to see how they compare with the cultivars for speed of growth.I'll also graft the more upright one as I've never been able to keep these less vigorous ones going when trying to monitor them.If dissectums are normally this fast growing then I won't bother.
     

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  18. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If you feed those things on whole milk and keep them in the kitchen it is no wonder they are doing so well :)
     
  19. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Ha ha,yes..none of that fashionable skinny stuff here
     
  20. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    This is the first spring I've played around with growing from seed; last fall my Shinju, Seiryu and Nuresagi had a good seed load, and I've got a bunch growing. Would I want to separate out the seedlings into their own pots come fall?
     

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  21. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I separate seedlings into individual pots when they are big enough to comfortably do it :)
     
  22. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I only have nine seedlings, so that makes for some pretty weak statistics...

    I have noticed, though, that the red-leafed seedlings that emerged with green cotyledons are red-turning-green in mid-summer coloration, and the red-leafed seedlings that emerged with red cotyledons have stayed red.

    It's very minor, but I thought it was interesting. For someone who wants a red-leafed maple, culling the seedlings with green cotyledons might be a good idea? Has anyone else observed this early "tell" for leaf coloration?
     

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