You protect any of your JM?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by copperbeech, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. copperbeech

    copperbeech Active Member

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    I am just curious as to the circumstances that may cause you to provide winter protection to any of your outdoor planted JM e.g. burlap windscreen for example?

    For example I planted a 4.5 foot Acer shirasawanum "Aureum" in October 2102 and at that time I put a wind screen around it for its first winter in the ground. It did just fine and so with one winter and one growing season in the ground, under its belt, I decided not to protect it similarly for this winter.

    I planted 3 other JM in 2013, generally early in the season and the only protection I have done at this point are plastic 8" trunk collars for any possible rabbit or rodent nibbling.

    What about you?
     
  2. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    I've wrapped the trunks of a few of my trees, I've put wire cages (big tomato cage) around a couple of my weepers and some cedar benches that I use in summer for displaying the trees go on-end in front of a couple of the other trees to act as a windbreak. I have a roll of burlap on the way that will go along the wire fence (surrounding many of the newly planted trees in the back yard by the house) and likely also be used for covering up the trees with the cages or benches when we have ice storms - which, unfortunately, will be happening this weekend. Rain starts tonight and doesn't let up until Saturday sometime, with temps steadily dropping until we bottom out at 15 Saturday night. brrrrrrr! The rest of my potted maples and conifers are snug up against the house under the deck; here, they should get enough moisture coming through the deck, but hopefully not any of the ice.

    I do have one concern though: My Nuresagi (see attached) has a very pronounced fork close to the base of the tree, and I am worried that, if we get a decent ice storm, if there would be any damage, it would be here, breaking off one or more of the branches. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations for helping to prevent this possibility?
     

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  3. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I'm in zone 5 or 6--depending on the winter--and I don't protect any of my trees. That said, I have lost a fair number over the years, but I've never ascribed it directly to the cold. It's possible, though, that tip dieback or bark damage allows disease organisms to enter that would not enter the tree if I were in a better climate. Let me mention, too, that I'm in a very sheltered location, so my trees don't face scorching sun or strong winds.

    As for the Nuresagi, here's my opinion: I doubt that there's enough topgrowth at this point to support a weight of ice sufficient to split the tree (but then, your ice storms may be different than ours). Down the road a few years, though, I'd say you're probably going to get some included bark in the main Y crotch, and so I'd say there is a long-term risk. I'd be interested to hear if others agree. You could do one of two things--first, you could eliminate one branch completely--the tree probably won't mind too much. I'd remove the right branch. Second--and this would be my approach--I'd let the left branch go so that it attains clear apical dominance, and keep pruning the right branch so that it becomes clearly subsidiary--a side branch. In this way, 10 years from now, the subsidiary branch will be much smaller and won't threaten to split the tree down the middle. Here, too, I'd be interested in others' opinions.
     
  4. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I live in a climate where we don't have to worry about V-shaped double trunks being split by snow or ice storms, but if I did have a climate to cause concern, this is exactly what I would do.
     
  5. Atapi

    Atapi Active Member

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    Hi, I share your concern but there is not too much that you can do now if the tree has established the fork like that.
    I have two A.P (Sango Kaku and Omure Yama) with similar shapes and they have splitted right in the middle due to wet snow a few years back. The trees are still alive. I drill o hole thru the two branches then I used a long stainless steel bolt/nut to hold the two branches back together. If one looks closely one will see it but at least it keeps the two branches together. Twice a y,r I went out and loosen up the nut since the branches are growing. And it held up very well.
    From then on, when the weather calls for wet or heavy snow; I just have to make a quick route around my garden to sweep the snow off the branches as much as I can to help them out.
    BTW, I found it from Youtube on how to fix the broken maple branches...
     
  6. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Daniel, maf, thanks for the suggestions regarding my Nuresagi. I agree that at this time, the canopy is small and thin enough that I shouldn't really have to worry about a split (the tree is about 4' tall), but should I worry about ice or snow buildup in the V causing other problems? Ie, greater chance of fungal/bacterial infection, rot, etc? We can get some pretty nasty ice storms here; usually only 1/2-1", but there have been occasions with 2-3" or more building up on the trees, etc. Large amounts of snowfall typically isn't an issue here.

    What do you mean by this?

    I would rather not remove one of the larger branches, but I hadn't really considered letting one become the true leader with the other as a secondary leader/side branch... I rather like the idea. I will see how the tree grows over the next few years and prune accordingly. Thank you for the suggestion.
     
  7. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Let me see if I can be clearer. Imagine a young tree with two main branches that are vertical and more or less parallel. Each of them, of course, is completely enclosed by its own bark. It's not an issue while the tree is small, but as it grows over the years, both vertical branches expand in circumference, so eventually the bark of one branch is in contact with the bark of the other branch, and over time, this bark-to-bark intersection of the two branches lengthens.

    That's the "included bark"--the bark-to-bark interface between the two branches. Now, as both branches continue to grow vertically, they may each come to bear a good deal of weight. The problem is that they don't have a strong connection--the included bark doesn't actually join one branch to the other, it's merely interposed between them. It's a weak point, and as the tree's canopy expands, the weights of the two branches increase. The canopy connected to one branch pulls one way, the canopy connected to the other side pulls the other way. And sometimes--when, say, you get an ice storm or an early snow while the branches still have leaves that catch the snow--it can split the tree right down the middle.

    Now, that's the case with two parallel branches. As the angle between two branches increases, the extent of included bark diminishes. When is it no longer an issue? Well, I'm not sure--that's why I asked for other opinions. The angle between your two main branches looks like it's about 45 degrees, and I wasn't sure whether included bark might still be an issue with a crotch that wide.

    As for the collection of ice or snow causing problems with rot or infection--I've never had a problem with this, so I wouldn't be concerned. Big old forest trees often have accumulations of litter in their crotches, and it doesn't seem to cause problems, except possibly in ancient trees. One old oak I'm familiar with has actually put out roots into the decomposed humus 15 feet from the ground, so it's actually another food source.
     
  8. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Thank you so much for the detailed explanation Daniel, I really appreciate it! The angle of the two branches is about 45 degrees, so I will keep an eye on the tree as it grows. Would you think that by making one the true leader and the other the subsidiary that it would help to avert this potential issue?

    That's pretty cool about the old oak putting out roots into the decomposing matter. :) Other than ice damage, my biggest fear is squirrel damage - we have tons of the tree rats and they already got to my Tsukushigata earlier in fall...
     
  9. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    M&P--

    Yes, I think making one the major terminal and the other subsidiary would probably take care of the splitting issue.

    Oddly, I've never had squirrel damage on my Japanese maples. Maybe they prefer the sugar maples that are all over the neighborhood. They strip off the bark in long strips for their nests, and I also see them making smaller wounds in the bark and coming back to drink the sap.
     
  10. Schattenfreude

    Schattenfreude Active Member

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    The ones in the ground are pretty much on their own here. I sink my smaller trees in pots into the ground together. In the past, I've not done much for them, either, but this year I'm going to try to wrap the groupings with some netting. In the past I've seen many of my buds nibbled off by birds or squirrels, leaving an empty socket, so to speak. I've read where a netting will keep the birds away. Does anyone else use netting?

    Wish me luck...

    Kevin in KC
     

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