Japanese Maple Autumn Colour

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Garden Maple ground layer

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Thought I would have a tentative look for any new surface roots on this very large Japanese Maple.  I decided to layer it last year as the existing root base consisted of three extremely thick roots that were unsuitable for bonsai.  I was glad to see signs of new growth but far too early to dig up and investigate properly.  I’ll leave it as it is for at least another year.

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Top growth last year was very short compared to the long internodes usually associated with this type of material.  All of last years shoots were no more than one or two cm long, presumably because of the work done to layer the roots.

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I haven’t done any kind of work with this tree since I dug it up out of the garden four years ago. No further pruning, wiring, pinching etc… Just happy to let it grow out and let primary branches thicken.  At some point soon I’ll wire these into position once I know the tree is doing ok.

Acer Palmatum Rootwork and Repot

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Time to undertake some major rootpruning on this Japanese Maple.  The main consideration was pruning away an ugly raised surface root and also reducing the depth of the rootball so that the tree would sit better in the ceramic pot it was taken out of last year.

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nebari from the front

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ugly root from the side

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back view of root to be removed

Other raised roots were removed two years ago because I felt there was a better nebari hiding underneath the soil level and so the job was finished today, along with shortening the long roots at the front.

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Over time, I’ll work to reduce the spider leg appearance of the nebari but this can be masked by moss in the short term.

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When combing out I discovered long circling roots within the rootmass, presumably from when the tree was rootbound in a much smaller pot in the past.  Unfortunately the previous owner must have just potted on without doing any rootwork each time.  The soil itself was of poor quality, so I decided to give it a rinse as well.  I also found some unwelcome guests:

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Vine weevil grubs? Looks like it. Found three or four of these and disposed of them.  I guess it’s not a good idea to apply a pesticide while the tree recovers from this surgery but if someone knows any better, the advice is appreciated.

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rear view

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front view of nebari

The tree was also placed to the other side of the pot to emphasise the trunk movement to the viewers left.  Branches on the right will be tightly pruned and those on the viewers left will be allowed to extend over time to fill the negative space.  This was in response to advice from Peter Warren during his visit to the NIBS last year.  I’m looking forward to seeing it in leaf soon.

 

Any ideas?

One of my Japanese maples in training has been suffering recently. It’s a Sango Kaku, famous for their normally pink bark and bright green leaves. Any ideas?

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Discoloration of bark – beginning of dieback?

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Note the withering of leaves and unusual colour of sections of trunk.

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Extreme windburn?

I wonder if it’s a combination of things? It’s been in semi shade and well watered all year but never really took off in spring.  Not much extension growth despite fertiliser being used and in the past couple of weeks the foliage has withered – I also noticed a white discoloration similar to mildew??? I’m familiar with mildew on my oaks and field maples but never my Japanese maples.  I’ve sprayed it anyway and put the tree in the ground to help it recover. Fingers crossed.