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Discussion in 'Maples' started by SLR2009, Aug 9, 2019.
Hey guys, does anyone have issues growing Acer palmatum 'Beni Hime'? Thanks.
So what is the problem with your 'Bene Hime'?
Dieback on branches in June.
It will not tolerate wet soil. The soil maybe free draining, but if it has anything other than pine bark (like compost of any kind or peat) it would be a problem this Spring and not as big of a problem any other Spring. That is unless you were in an area that managed to avoid the record breaking rainfall. The cool and very wet Spring was the ultimate test to any potting mix and also for those trees in the ground that usually have what is considered good drainage. Foliar fungus was an issue too once the temperature and humidity shot up in June. For much of the NE this was a historical wet Spring.
Do you need to change your potting mix? Probably not since this was an unusual event. Could your maples benefit from vertical mulching? Yes. We did and it reversed the trend of decline. Soil born pathogens thrive in a low oxygen environment. Vertical mulching introduces oxygen and corrects the problem or destroys the environment that these fungi thrive.
This is why you are having problems with many cultivars this Spring and it's not isolated to just one cultivar. Some cultivars may tolerate better than others. Overall health, age, and being established to your climate all can help improve tolerance, but nothing is absolute.
When you vertical mulch, you must go 2/3 of the way down. This is (rarely) not a surface problem it's further down where the soil is very slow to dry out. And where most compost and peat settles over time retaining moisture and decreasing oxygen.
Pot design can contribute. Some pots don't have drain holes at the lowest point. This causes highly saturated areas that some plants tolerate but maples will never tolerate wet feet. These are prime areas for compost, peat, and water to gather which is prime conditions for root rot fungi to thrive and infect the tree.
Surface soil may appear dry or normal, but it doesn't reflect what is happening below. Failing leaves, no or very little growth, slow decline, and failing branches are all good indications of a problem. (Along with an inability to tolerate normal heat and sun)