Propagation: A. palmatum growing on good roots

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Ronnnie C, May 14, 2022.

  1. Ronnnie C

    Ronnnie C Member

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    I have quite a large collection of shop-bought cultivars. I have two related questions that will help me get started propagating.

    1. My shop-bought cultivars appear to be grafted onto a vigorous root stock that I assume to be wild type A. palmatum. With a view to grafting, I collected and germinated many seeds from my cultivars. After 4 to 5 years only a few had produced stems 0.5 to 1 cm thick. When I turn out the pots I found that the roots are feeble and have not produced a dense fibrous network like those of my shop bought cultivars. I am therefore reluctant to graft onto these feeble root stocks. My question is whether I am just unlucky or whether I need to source wild type A. palmatum. If so, where can I get them?

    2. My shop-bought cultivars ranged in price from about £25 to £60 in the UK, depending on size. However, the spring before last the gardening store B&Q was selling many different cultivars in 2 inch pots for £4.99. I looked at these small plants and they appeared to be growing on their own roots, which made me suspicious. However, at that price I thought it was worth investing in several. The ones labeled as Katsura are very vigorous and have been a great success. The tops and the roots have grown surprisingly fast. The Wilson Pink Dwarf turned out to be a Dissectum (as I suspected). My question is how the company is producing Katsuras without grafting? They could be air layering. In this case I am surprised that the roots are so vigorous, given my lack of success propagating from seed. Any insight into these issues would be gratefully received.

    Best wishes, Ronnie.
     
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I would not try to propagate with poor root stock. Roots are everything, so it is important to start well.
    I have found over the years that not all Acer palmatum seedlings have strong legs. There is a supplier in Dorset, Barthelemy. If you give them a ring then I'm sure they will be able to supply you with a good selection of seedlings.
    They also have a great selection of cultivars to chose from at very reasonable prices.
    Hope thats of help
     
  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Not all maples are grafted, some are from cuttings, some from seed and some air layered. Now I have a Katsura in my garden. See link.
    Acer palmatum 'Katsura'
    It is 15ft tall and on it's own roots. It was purchased many years ago from a local nursery and tbh I was sceptical as I saw no grafting. But all these years later it is doing very well indeed. So my point is Ronnie, don't be put off in buying a non grafted tree if it looks healthy and has a good root system.

    Re how do the pros produce so many good quality trees without grafting. Its years and years of hard work finding out which ones can be produced this way at a competitive and economic price. But also remember they also have failures and if they grow several thousand, then a few lost is not a problem. If we grow just a few, then there is every chance that we don't get success When we lose a few. Its a numbers game.
    Hope that puts things into perspective re growing from seed at home. But never be put off.
     
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  4. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Good feedback above from @Acerholic, I just thought I would add a few points.
    Possibly unlucky, but most cultivars should produce at least a percentage of strong seedlings. If they are not growing well enough, issues that could cause this include not enough direct sun or not enough oxygen in the root zone. Seedlings, somewhat surprsingly, grow well in direct sun.

    As mentioned above you can order seedlings from Barthelemy & Co , they are sent out bare root in the winter I believe, here is a link to the catalogue: http://www.barthelemymaples.co.uk/index-3_8_2398609227.pdf . I have not personally ordered seedlings from them, but have used them to supply cultivars and the quality is good. The other option is to go to an arboretum or similar in September/October and pick your own seeds from wild type Acer palmatums.

    Again, as mentioned above, the small Acers at B&Q and in UK supermarkets are grown from cuttings, often from large scale Dutch operations. The range is somewhat limited, compared to what is available from grafting, because they choose the cultivars that react best to this form of propagation. Typical ones I see are Katsura, Orange Dream, Phoenix, Atropurpureum and a few others. Your mis-labelled dissectum might be 'Emerald Lace', I have seen this one offered as cutting grown, might be worth comparing. If you can get these cutting grown maples through the first winter with you I find that they make healthy and robust plants that are just as good as grafted ones. The Dutch company Kwekerij van Son & Koot supplies much of the UK market for small cutting grown maples.
     
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  5. Ronnnie C

    Ronnnie C Member

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    Thank you all for your replies, which have answered my questions comprehensively. The Barthelemy catalog is a real find.
    Thanks again!
     
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