Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Japanese Maples

I am seriously considering giving up on the Japanese Maples here. Earlier this summer I dug up and threw away Acer palmatum atropurpureum 'Bloodgood' after it had scorched and died back to the graft. Then I saw Acer palmatum dissectum 'Inabe-shidare' (see top photo) with a tag describing it as tolerant of heat and hot winds. Heat tolerance seemed worth the $75.00 I paid! Here is a photograph of 'Inabe-shidare' taken this evening. As can be seen with the green grass (and weeds) surrounding it the tree has been receiving plenty of water, and two adjoining plants (Pinus flexilis 'Extra Blue' and Prunus lusitanica) are both thriving (which is to be expected, really, particularly for the Limber Pine). Notwithstanding the water, it has been hideously scorched. And it still has to survive February. But, if it gets through this summer, and the next, it might make it. I have one Acer palmatum, just the species; nothing special. I paid $2.00 for it in 2002. It really battled for several years, but here it is, and it is looking good (see bottom photo). It is 150cm tall now.


Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I can see why you're frustrated. I live in Oklahoma and the only place I can grow Japanese maples is in the shade (a little filtered light is okay.) I put them under my large oak trees.

I'm sorry you have such bad luck with them, but with plants, no matter how much I like them, some just don't like me.

Benjamin Vogt said...

It's been my very minimal experience--and what I've heavily researched--that they like to stay moist but not wet, and that afternoon shade is a must. I live in a zone 5, Nebraska (what zones do you have?). My bloodgood gets scorched in mid summer, but mulch sure helps--I don't see any with yours. Good luck! They can be tricky trees for sure.

Alex said...

Thanks Dee and Benjamin. A large oak provides shade from midday onwards for the little maple, but I think the mulch is a great idea. I mulched it earlier, but the poultry dispersed the bark and straw. Perserverence may be the key. We are zone 9 here in south-east Tasmania, although there are only three frost-free months in the year. Some northern hemisphere plants thrive, particularly roses, oaks and many conifers.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

In my garden in zone 8a they crispy fry every single August. We can't keep enough water on them. Afternoon shade helps, but it doesn't cure the problem. The trees don't die, they just don't look good. They are pretty enough the rest of the year so we just put up with it.

Mad Man Bamboo said...

Hi Alex,

I used to grow Japanese Maples as part of my nursery business. The key is not to water too heavily, not to get water on the leaves, be mindful of shade requirements and never plant in the grass. If you plant in the grass, the tree gets the same amount of water (which for typical turf to stay green is alot) and the grass competes with the tree for root space and nutrients. You want to consider cutting the grass around the tree then applying some mulch. Hope this helps. Thanks for sharing the photos!