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japanese maple


londoneye
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hi all

i have a japanese maple in a pot that i have lovingly lugged from place to place now for about 6 years.    It is now in just about the largest pot i could reasonably find in uk, and is probably about 1.25 metres high.      It requires either re-potting (again) or planting out.     I am in region 87, yesterday minus 7 degrees during day, as an indication (although hopefully not a common scenario; if so i shall shortly be looking at houses in bahamas (dream on)).

Has anyone had experience of planting trees of this type, and these type of weather conditions, in the earth, and if so with what level of success please?

I love my japanese maple with a passion (and would probably have a tough decision over saving it or OH in emergency ! ), so am agonising about the keep in pot or plant out scenario.

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Do you know what variety of Acer palmatum you have?  They vary enormously in size when mature.  Smaller ones can be grown indefinitely in a  container, though it will restrict their ultimate size. 

They are fully hardy so will not be bothered by temperatures down to -15°C; what you do want to avoid is a position in full sun or exposure to wind - they appreciate some shade and shelter, particularly the dissectum varieties and others with finely divided leaves - they can suffer terribly from wind burn and dessication.

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Instead of repotting into a larger pot, remove the rootball from the pot and tease away quite a lot of the 'spent' compost then repot in the same pot with fresh compost. I would bubble-wrap the pot in very cold weather to stop the roots from freezing.

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after a short ski trip around the back (!!!) the label, which is luckily still on, although too mushed up to read much, says its a dissectum garnet.    its very beautiful and of all the maples i have had, has the most perfect shape, i would love to have it outside as a tree, but dont want to kill it !
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No reason why you should not do what Susie suggests.  That is an RHS Award of Merit variety.  The RHS A-Z says its maximum size is about 6ft high and 10ft across, but it will stay smaller if kept in a pot.  The dissectums have really fine leaves so whatever you do keep it sheltered from wind and preferably in partial shade.

If it does eventually get badly rootbound you can either trim the roots and repot in the same pot (like bonsai on a giant scale) or you can get some really big fibreglass/plastic type pots which are expensive but handsome and frostproof.

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thanks cassis (sorry, and susie of course), but actually i want it to get HUGE ! so whilst Susie's idea is a good one, i would like my gorgeous tree to grow to its full size.

i think i will try it out of a pot, but in shade as you say; i do normally position pot so it is only in the sun early morning, so must have been aware of this proviso at some point.  Dont like the look of the fibreglass pots myself, but they serve a function.

thanks again, if it really can survive out of pot then i would like to try it to see how big it gets, as it has grown so much since i bought it.   must stop now, because i am prone to getting a little obsessive about this particular plant  (as if no-one had already noticed !)

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If you have decided to transfer your tree to the open earth the best time to plant trees is late Oct to early Nov. The soil is still warm, there are likely to be showers and it has a chance to get established before the serious winter starts.Pat.

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One last thought - plants in containers are generally much more striking because they are at a higher level.  At the garden centre today I saw some ENORMOUS olive trees which looked centuries old planted in equally enormous containers made of wood - not sure how they would lift and deliver them.  You could, as an alternative to planting out, eventually construct a planter of any dimensions you want using treated decking lined with black polythene, with a length of fence post for reinforcement inside each corner to which the decking is nailed or screwed. Depending on its size it may not be very manoeuvrable once planted up,  but it would show the tree off nicely.

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good idea - this is my favourite so far, cheap, nice to look at (i love wood), and OH is carpenter so would take him around 5 minutes i guess to make (thats what it took  him to knock up some trellis on demand - hadnt even finished my cup of coffee before he had done !).   and you are so right about plants in containers being more striking, i rather hazardously wheeled it around (the maple that is) on a trolley to it's intended final resting place yesterday to see how it would look and i am afraid i just looked 'SMALL'!! but in a nice big pot it will look still look very striking i think.    It has always been the one plant that visitors cant seem to resist going up to, to give it a little stroke and exclaim how gorgeous it is, so i dont want it to pale into insignifance!
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Planting out, even now (provided the soil is not frozen), should not be a problem.  It will do better in the ground than in a pot for the simple reason that many plants of this type that are killed off over winter, die because they are in a pot and the roots freeze.  In the ground the cold only attacks from above but in a pot the cold attacks from five sides out of six.  Ergo at any temperature below freezing the impact is worse in a pot.

Fleece and bubble wrap are often touted as solutions, but will only protect against overnight frosts.  They only slow down the rate at which cold will get into the plant and pot, they do not and cannot prevent it. 

If you have days of continuous maximum temperatures below freezing (and parts of 87 do in most winters) then your soil in the pot will freeze - solid - and that's when the tree will start to suffer.  The longer it is in this state and the lower the temperatures, the worse it is likely to be.

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I would agree with that for many marginally frost-hardy plants, but fully hardy plants grown in containers will not be damaged if the soil in the pot becomes frozen.  Lavender and rosemary are an exception to this among hardy plants, but their hardiness is nothing compared to that of acers.  Many hardy trees, such as acers, are relatively shallow rooting and they regularly become frostbound even in open ground without coming to any harm.  Remember that these acers come from parts of Japan and China where the winters are generally more severe than France.  Waterlogging is much more of a danger to dormant hardy plants in winter than is the cold. 
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I used to lug it into the greenhouse but it got too big and last year it stayed in the open in uk, and soil in pot was frozen quite a few times, and it was fine.   this year i have it outside but with some stuff (cant recall the name of it, like thin tissue paper) which claims to protect down to xxx temperature.   however it is still frozen solid so i am just hoping it will survive - a month or so should give the answer.   i will feel bad if it doesnt, because all of this advice would have been for zilch - i shall probably have to pretend it survived !|!

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I'm sure it will.  Bear in mind that it's effectively in suspended animation at this time of year.  After all, teeny tiny seedlings of the same tree survive months in frostbound ground in Japan and it doesn't do them any harm.  Loads of wee trees of all sorts survive in frozen ground for months.  I don't have a lot of faith in fleece except as a measure for protecting foliage of some plants from occasional overnight air frost.

What's your pot made of?  My main concern would be for it cracking if the soil and water inside expand sufficiently.

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pottery (the pot!)

i'm not sure its exactly fleece, its a huge sheet of something i bought in garden centre in uk, meant to be all singing/dancing.   

........... clearly however its not singing or dancing at the moment, so i suppose in truth it doesnt actually matter what the stuff is !

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 I HAVE 6 IN OUR GARDEN IN COUSSAC BONNEVAL AREA OF HAUTE VIENNE AND OVER 5.5 YEARS IN VARIOUS SIZES AND TYPES INCLUDING RED DISSECTUM.

FINE LEAF ONES NEED SOME SHELTER FROM WIND .

MOST OF MINE ARE IN FULL SUNSHINE AND NO PROBLEMS BUT PERHAPS IN VIEW OF THE EXPECTED  HOTTER SUMMERS THEN  SOME SHADE MIGHT BE BETER.

I USUALLY ADD A LITTLE TERRE BRUYERE WHEN PLANTING .

I READ IN ENGLISH GARDEN MAGAZINE RECENTLY THAT ACERS ARE BEST PLANTED IN SPRING INTO SOIL WHICH IS NOT TOO COLD NOR WET.

I DIG IN AN EMPTY 1.5 LITRE PLASTIC BOTTLE WITH BOTTOM CUT OUT FACING TOWARDS ROOTS ,WITH TOP JUST ABOVE GROUND LEVEL FOR WATERING DURING  FIRST YEARS.

 

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  • 6 years later...

Well, I am not sure if anyone who originally contributed 5 years ago to this message is still visiting the site, but if so - decision was made

 

[URL=http://s234.photobucket.com/user/kaycollins_2007/media/KAY-PC/Pictures/2013-06-09/001800x600.jpg.html][IMG]http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee49/kaycollins_2007/KAY-PC/Pictures/2013-06-09/001800x600.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

And I think it was the right one !

 

Now all I have to do is try to take a cutting from it - any ideas?!

 

Hope the photo comes out - probably not

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Yes, it's my baby (!)

 

I am a fan as well, but this has always been my favourite. If I could buy another the same I would, but haven't seen one here. Any top tips on taking cuttings? (I think technically I am not allowed to actually, but who is to know, it's not like this is a public forum !)

 

LE

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I'm not sure what results you would get, I have several small acers but I looked at one yesterday and I suspect it could be grafted.....

A few years ago we asked one of the exhibitors at Wisley about our acer which had also outgrown its pot - the advice was that in the spring you should take the tree out of the pot and with an old bread knife slice a inch or more of root off from top to bottom, do the same on the opposite side - replace in pot and top up with fresh compost. This forces the pot to send out new, fine roots which are better at taking up nutrients, water etc and re- invigorates the plant - you can do the same on the remaining sides the next year.

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 Ah, Sorry I should have said rootball rather than root - if the Acer needs re-potting there are probably lots of little but old fine roots visible when the plant is removed from the pot, you just slice these off by an inch or two each side thus forcing the plant to send out new healthy fine roots which serve the plant better. If I remember rightly we even sliced off some slightly thicker roots, but not really thick bits!

The next year you repeat the treatment but cut the other sides...that way you can keep your acer healthy well into its old age....

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