Young JM Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Maples' started by pgChemE, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. pgChemE

    pgChemE Member

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    I recently bought a JM that was in pretty rough shape from Lowe's. I want to see if I can bring it back to life. When I bought it, the topmost branch was completely dead, so i trimmed it off. The leaves are green and have holes in them. There are only three main branches on it, and the tree is only about 2 feet high. Now, the leaves on one of the branches are starting to wilt dramatically, and many of the leaves on the lower minor branches are starting to wilt also. I think I need to replant. I currently have it in a half-barrel planter (where it must stay since I live in an apartment) and it is just in generic potting soil (i know, i know, my bad). I live near the Mississippi River, and I was thinking of going to get some silt from the shore since the floods have recently receded. Would this be a good idea? Should I use peat or manure also? What kinds of problems should I look for in the roots while replanting? Should I trim the roots and loosen them up?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Probably infested with a pathogen such as pseudomonas and likely to dwindle away. Not a good purchase.
     
  3. pgChemE

    pgChemE Member

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    meh, it was worth a shot. i made sure to get a warranty.
     
  4. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    Trying to save life is always worth a shot! Good for you. If as an apartment dweller
    you MUST put it in a pot, cut out any encircling and broken roots and buy a good
    organic soil with great nutrients from your local nursery and repot it. NO manure -
    will burn it. Water it in thoroughly with 2 small cupfuls of SuperThrive which is a plant
    hormone which will not burn it. Water it regularly with SuperThrive which I find really
    stimulates growth. As Ron said, this may be a hopeless case but what do u have to
    lose in trying - just $20 or so for great soil, SuperThrive and a big plastic pot all of
    which can be reused (except the soil if infected). I find I am often drawn to trying to
    save a sick plant. By the way, Jackson has some fine architecture! Good luck!
     
  5. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If a plant is sick it is also weak
    I don't think it is worth the effort. Better to return it, and use the refund to buy a decent specimin :)
     
  6. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    Hiya pgCHEMe,

    I am all for attempting a rescue! Every plant deserves a chance - especially those poor souls that are sent to big chain stores like Lowe's or Home Depot where the garden center employees are often less than interested in caring for plants, (I'm being nice). I am in the wholesale biz, so I see it a lot, unfortunately. It's a shame how many fine plants are wasted, so I applaud your attempt.

    As a renter and container gardener with more than 100 maples in pots, my only major recommendation is: DRAINAGE, DRAINAGE, DRAINAGE! First, make sure you have the right size pot. You NEVER want a small tree in a big pot. That makes for stagnant water in soil and root rot is all but guaranteed. (You mentioned your tree is wilting, so that is a major red flag. Spend 12 bucks on a moisture meter from Lowe's and you'll see your soil is constantly off the chart wet.)

    If using a store bought potting soil - it needs to be amended greatly with small bark chips. *Make sure you get potting soil WITHOUT added fertilizers.* If you only have this one tree - I would buy a couple of bags of ORCHID potting soil (almost entirely bark chips) - they have it at major chain stores at the INSIDE GARDEN area - and mix it with the potting soil. I'd mix 2 parts potting soil to one part orchid mix. The final mix will look chunky, dry, and inhospitable, but trust me on this one, it's a potted maple's best friend. Your trees should drain like mad. You shouldn't see any major puddling on the top of the soil when you are watering - ever. If necessary, make the drain holes in the bottom of the pot bigger - or punch more. The pot should pee freely every time you water (hee hee). Buy a set of pot feet to elevate the pot off the ground. When potting, you can always put styrofoam peanuts or broken pottery or lava rocks in the bottom of the container too; you want to ensure that soil won't clog up those precious drain holes (as a bonus, the pot will be much lighter should you need to move it around).

    My only other hint - in addition to Superthrive mentioned in earlier posts, (essentially B vitamins that stimulate root growth and help the tree deal with stresses) is SEAWEED. There are brands of liquid seaweed extract that can be found at chain stores: Maxicrop or Neptune's Harvest. Look for them in the "organic" section of the store. If they dont have seaweed - ask for it - they can get it - and it's worth it. Seaweed is magical not for its nutritive properties - the label will be unimpressive - but for the mega plant hormone punch it packs. If there is anything that will rescue a suffering maple - its good drainage and frequent seaweed applications.

    Gah! Didn't I say I had only one recommendation? Sorry for the info overload.

    Good luck! :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  7. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    hehehe
    Now THERE is a different opinion :)
     
  8. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    Am I too spastic for you, Whis?

    I hope you are laughing at me - not my advice. :)
     
  9. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Isn't it good for life that people can have such differing opinions :)
     
  10. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Katie,

    I used Orchid mix in my potting soil for a while, but I have a new mix that seems to work even better. The base potting soil is Pro-mix Organic. This is awesome stuff and is made from - you guessed it - seaweed! It has a fabulous texture and holds just the right amount of water. This mix also has beneficial microbes and micronutrients, which I am totally sold on. Then, instead of Orchid mix I now add Miracle Grow African Violet Mix. This has a lot of fir bark in it and seems to compliment the Pro-mix perfectly. Yes, it does have some slow-release fertilizer in it, but I'm not religious about that. Since I'm only using 1/3 African Violet soil, the amount contained in the final mix is small. Plus, every JM I've ever bought is swimming in soil filled with Osmocote pellets! So much for the advice not to fertilize your maples!! Anyway, my trees LOVE this mix, and really put out the roots in it. I've had to re-pot some of my trees twice this year because, by July, roots were coming out of the bottom of the first pot!

    Regards,
     
  11. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Katie,

    I also admire you for rescuing plants! I have a local nursery I visit regularly and collect all their "over-the-hill' trees for attempted resucitation. This year I saved a Viridis, Bloodgood, and Crimson Queen from oblivion. I tried to save a large Sagu Kaku, but it had serious root rot and bit the dust in spite of my best efforts. He has two more SKs he is holding for me that have been reduced to stubs but are still alive. And I'm sure I'll find more sad little trees to rescue, since he doesn't seem to understand that putting potted JMs out in full sun in the South, without any kind of protection at all, is a sure way to kill a lot of trees! His pain - my gain! :-)

    Regards,
     
  12. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    right on, pro-plant lifers! As I was reading everyone's posts, I thought of what Bill
    Moyers said about a photograph the great Albert Schweitzer gave him with the
    inscription "...to the affirmation of life" by which Moyers said Schweitzer meant
    "...the spiritual act by which we cease to live unreflectively".
     
  13. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    Hi Kaitain, Katsura, and Whis!

    I am SO glad there are more EMT’s (Emergency Maple Technicians?) on rescue missions…

    A touching quote, Katsura – and so appropriate. I have always felt that caring for plants was a very calming, meditative activity: a life affirming action and the perfect time for reflection. Gardening should be mandatory! :)

    Kaitain – I really appreciate your recipe for soil mix. I am all about organics and that’s all I use at home. In my response earlier, I was trying to name stuff I knew could be found at any chain garden center. I was trying to keep my recommendation simple… I can get all excited about details and prattle on until whatever advice I have given seems totally overwhelming! I just get a bit too happy to talk about maples. Surprise! Adding to my tendency for long-windedness, I am a Texan and we LOVE to yap. :) Moving on...

    Since I altered my mix so that it is super chunky and drains like mad I have had to repot almost twice as often too. The trees really love loose soil. To my soil mix, I like adding earthworm castings and this great local compost made from aquaculture wastes and seaweed, (I am on the shore). I am a really big fan of seaweed – obviously. Also, you’re right, it does seem true that no matter where the maples come from – they are swimming in slow release fertilizer, so it can’t be THAT bad! What a coincidence that the usual advice is not the common practice! :) MEGA congrats on your long list of rescues! Feels good doesn't it!

    Hey Whis – I understand where you are coming from, Bud. It isn’t exactly economical, and can be risky for your other trees, to bring home a sick maple… I just can’t help myself. When a beautiful maple does come back from the brink it is supremely satisfying – like rescuing animals from the pound (of which I also have a few!). I know, I’m all sappy and stuff [she says blushing and kicking at ground]. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  14. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Ooohh! I love the earthworm castings idea! I'll have to see if I can find some locally. I also love the EMT acronym! Very clever!

    Here's some pics of my rescued maples. The first three trees are recovering well. The SK is now in Maple Heaven. :(
     

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