Advice needed about exposed root on nursery maple

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Shauna156, Jul 24, 2022.

  1. Shauna156

    Shauna156 New Member

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    Hi all :)

    Last week I was at my local tree nursery and for the very first time saw a Japanese Maple there. Normally we don't see JM in our nurseries up north as we're technically zone 4b so I was quite surprised. I'm really tempted to pick this tree up though as it is a Jackfrost (cross between JM and Korean maple) pseudosieboldianum which apparently fare better colder zones. The tree is mature and appears healthy but I'm worried about the very exposed roots and rusty colour at this time of year (July).

    Is it normal to have this much root exposed? I know that it's perfectly healthy for some root flare to be exposed but what I'm seeing on this tree seems excessive. It looks like a healthy tree I think--but then I'm new to JMs.

    Also: I know that Northwind should go mostly green by midsummer yet its quite rusty--perhaps stressed from sitting in an open lot in the blazing sun all day?

    Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    edit: forgot to mention--they're asking $275 for it, so I want to make sure it's healthy
     

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  2. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Japanese maples like shallow planting, rather than deep planting. Somewhat exposed roots is definitely better than roots buried too deep. But in this case I would add some more soil to the top when repotting, so that roots would be barely covered, only topmost roots are visible.
     
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  3. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I don't think so. And I wonder why. Has it just be removed from the ground or antother pot, and they just ran out of soil to put on the top ?

    Two of my potted ones. The first one is OK, but needs some mulching. The second one is a bit high, next time I repot it, I'll plant it a little deeper.

    IMG_1063-b.JPG IMG_1064-b.JPG

    And why this paper wrapped around the trunk ? I've never seen that before.

    For $275, I wouldn't take the risk, especially if you live in a climate where you're not sure the tree would survive the winter.

    What's the minimum temperatures you can have in winter ? How many weeks / months is the soil covered with snow ?
     
  4. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    The paper is probably tied arounf the trunk to avoid sun burn. Hopefully before any damage happened before it was tied there. Definitely check if you still decide to buy.
    The roots are most likely washed out by rains. It seems, that the tree has been in this container for long period and the peat based mix has partially decomposed and washed out during these years in this container. But nothing serious has happened from this exposure.
    Overall, the tree looks pretty healthy to me. But no doubt, the price tag is also pretty bold.
     
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  5. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Not normal at all.

    I suspect this was originally sold to a nursery as bare root dormant and once received it was placed into a pot that was too small / combined with a very poor potting technique. It's also possible that shortly after re-potting the tree blew over before rooting in. This caused all the potting media on the surface to fall out exposing the roots. The person who stood it up didn't take the time to fix the issue.

    This tree has early onset of fall color in response to the stress caused by the exposed roots combined with summer heat. You can see much of the fine surface roots (ones responsible for taking up water and nutrients) have dried out and died (first photo/ fine roots are hay colored and wirey looking). The thicker anchor roots are still alive and trying to produce more feeder roots, but it's clearly taken a toll on this tree. Such stress will drastically impact the cold hardness of this tree going into Winter.

    If the tree was 75% off and you lived in a mild climate I would say go for it. But that's not the case and not worth the risk IMO.
     
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  6. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    ???
    Never ever seen that before.

    And if so, why just on this section of the trunk ? Makes no sense to me.

    "Such stress will drastically impact the cold hardness of this tree going into Winter."

    Definitely.
     
  7. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Usually the stem part, that is between leafed branches, is pretty well protected from sun burn. The most vulnerable part is the bare part of stem, just what is covered.
     
  8. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    I've seen it done to protect the trunk during shipping across the country from wholesale grower to nursery. Mostly when a tree is too tall to stand upright. It's leaned over at about a 45 degree angle and the trunk is resting on the pot either in front of it or behind it (depending on what direction it's leaning). Some wholesale growers will really pack them in. But once off loaded the receiving nursery usually removes it.

    I've also seen trunk guards used to protect the tree from rodents, sun scald, and to prevent suckering in prone species and species that are prone to a lot of budding along the trunk. In my area I would say about 30% of growers use them, but most don't unless it's a suckering prone species or one that easily sprouts new buds along the trunk when young that they are training to grow like a lollipop.
     
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  9. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    @Shauna156 Here is the grower that introduced the jack frost collection. I've heard of people growing them in the northern edge of zone 5 successfully. A friend of mine who buys from them told me he heard of someone growing them successfully in southern MN but that was 5 years ago.

    Jack Frost® Collection - Iseli Nursery

    Iselin nursery is wholesale only but their page will give you more information on the 3 cultivars in the collection. Iseli Nursery is also known for their conifers. I would bet some nurseries buy from them in your area (probably mostly conifers). If you find a nursery that does, some maybe willing to order you a Jack Frost for next year. August is usually the time of year that nurseries start ordering for next Spring.
     
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  10. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Really ?...

    I've never seen, or even heard of that in my small country. But maybe they do that in Canada, in places where the sun is so hot, and they have no rain for weeks. <LOL>

    That seems a much more believable explanation -- if it is the answer.

    Then, it would be lower, and not paper (if it is paper) -- which the rodents love as an apetizer before getting to the core.
     
  11. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    It's a plastic and not paper. And the tree guards for rodents are thicker plastic.
     
  12. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Nordic countries have bigger risk of sun scald than Southern France. as their summer days are much longer and the angle of sun is lower.
     
  13. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I see. Different continents... ;-) I've never seen such a contraption on nursery trees anywhere in France.

    If the angle of the sun is lower, I would think that it's not as hot as in "southern" Europe. When the angle of the sun is lower, it doesn't burn the leaves. Or if it does where you live, I can assure you it doesn't here. ;0)

    I don't know if you're in Tallin, or Tartu, or else, but from what I could see, the weather in Estonia will be between 18° and 26° during the day, and 12/17 at night, right ? Some 10° cooler during the day than here, and rain too.

    "Usual" temperatures where you live, compared to the past ten years or so ?

    ??? !!!
    No, I don't think so. I may be wrong, but sorry, to me that doesn't make any sense.
     
  14. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Knowing you, it's understandable, that you cant find any sense from my posts.

    But sunscald and sunburn happen from direct sun exposure. Even here surfaces exposed to direct sun are heating up above 60°C, despite daily highs are lower than in the Southern France. Longer days and lower sun angle means, that vertical stems are heated longer. Closer to the Equator the sun shines less hours per day and moves faster over the sky - around noon, when it is hottest, it is in the zenith there and rays are not crossing the vertical stems at near 90° angle, what would be the worst case scenario.
    Trigonometry, matemathics. Some basics to comprehend the problem.

    Here are my recorded temperatures from the recent heat wave (ground + air in the shade at 2m height):
    . kuumalaine.jpg
    The sky was pretty cloudy and my ground sensor was under ca 10 mm of soil (not directly exposed to te sun) between my figs and tomatoes, their shadows cut the temperature rise several times a day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2022
  15. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Please don't hijack someone's thread with petty arguments. Thanks in advance for ending the off topic discussion.

    @Shauna156 , I wouldn't buy the tree, as several have pointed out, this is way too much root exposure, and they don't look fantastic.
     
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  16. Shauna156

    Shauna156 New Member

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    Oh my goodness! So many replies! Thanks for all of your advice and feedback everyone. I agree that for the price (275) it's best to wait for a really healthy specimen. I have a feeling that they picked this tree up in the spring and it's just been sitting in this lot in the blazing sun ever since. If I end up going back to the nursery and its still there I'll take a peek under the paper tied around the trunk. I'm not sure what that is all about, but I have seen similar paper padding tied around trunks of other trees at that nursery so I'm assuming it has to do with shipping. They are not a fancy nursery, more a landscape company so they basically just line the trees up on the ground outside without making much effort to have things look their best. All the same, its a lot to pay for a tree with iffy origins and health :)

    Thanks again for all the feedback everyone!
     
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  17. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, better safe than sorry...

    And if you do, ask them about that paper wrapped around the trunk, there are so many hypotheses that I'd really like to know...
     
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  18. Shauna156

    Shauna156 New Member

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    Will do! I'm curious too :)
     
  19. Shauna156

    Shauna156 New Member

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    Thanks JT! The tree in the photo is actually from the Jack Frost collection (Northwinds). I have never ever seen a Japanese maple in any nursery near me (there are only 3, the rest are at least a 3 hour drive from me). Sadly, the owners of this particular tree nursery aren't in the habit of selling Japanese maples and ended up treating this one similarly to the conifers, cherry and ash they normally sell--which is rough! I still visit from time to time however just to see what they have laying about--and when I say laying about I mean laying about. Often the wind knocks the trees over and it can take a while (days even) before anyone bothers to pick them up. In this regard I think you're probably right about the exposed root. The tree has probably toppled over more than once. I think you're right about the paper around the trunk as well (it is corrugated paper). Many of the apple and cherry trees they sell also have these wraps. I suspect it is to protect the trunk in shipping and also to protect from sun scald. Our temperatures can drop very low at night--especially in Spring. The combination of cool air (cool trunk) and blazing sun on the thin bark in an exposed open lot can cause problems I think.

    If I end up back there I will definitely ask about the paper so that we can settle the mystery :)
     
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  20. Shauna156

    Shauna156 New Member

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    Here's some pics of what JT is talking about which helps explain the mystery paper :) The place that has the tree is exactly that--a wholesale distributor/landscaping company rather than a traditional, fancy nursery.
     

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  21. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    If anyone has ever witnessed how some very large wholesale distributors of trees literally throw trees into place in the back of semi's? then seeing the paper / foam wrapping around the lower stock you quickly realize it is to basically prevent scarring and tearing of the outer bark. Especially the younger stock.
     
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  22. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    I wouldn't buy a single tree fron a nursery so careless.
     

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