Bloodgood Alternative for Balcony

Discussion in 'Maples' started by BlackMaple, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    Is there some maple that has similar nice, deep red foilage, is more or less stable over the year, and with a similar shape as a Bloodgood but which does not grow as big/fast. Ideally, I'm searching for something which grows V style, with less leaves on the bottom and more concentration on to the top, and which I can keep in control, growing in a container on a east facing, roofless balcony (receives much light, will install shade cloth). I.e. it would be nice if it grew more upright then to the sides.

    What do you think?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @BlackMaple, good afternoon, if you want a good all season red that you can prune / trim to shape I would say Skeeters broom. Very tough cultivar.
     
  3. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    Thanks @Acerholic

    So does that mean that the V-shape growth pattern I'm seeking, with the leaves on top and umbrella foilage cover, has more to do with pruning and bending skill/effort than the choice of tree?

    Eg unpruned
    1: https://leafland.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/acer-skeeters-broom.jpg
    2: https://www.baumschule-horstmann.de...herahorn-skeeters-broom-m055867-793754-0.jpeg
    vs pruned
    3: https://c8.alamy.com/comp/H0264E/ro...ahorn-acer-palmatum-bloodgood-acer-H0264E.jpg
    4: https://www.ardcarne.ie/files/images/webshop/acer-palmatum-bloodgood-1592577185_l.jpg
     
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @BlackMaple, the art of pruning maples can turn a tree into anything you like. I understand what you are seeking, but is a matter of training individual branches/stems to the required shape and size.
    Sometimes you can be at a garden centre and there in front of you is a maple that has the correct characteristics that you need. Or you can look for a very long time and not find one.
    Bear in mind that Japanese maples you see in in professional or enthusiasts gardens have been worked on for years, decades for some.
    The maple I suggested is a witches broom and will have many twiggy type branches from the base. It will hold it's colour all Summer. Choosing a branch that you want to train is then your decision.
    I have witnessed maples being absolutely stripped of branches to ensure the shape the person wants many years in the future can be obtained.
    There are nurseries where you can buy these trees already shaped for you, but you will pay handsomely for this.
    If I had to suggest another then that would be English lace. This holds it's reds well and has the floating habit, if trained to two stems from the base. Again you are looking at 10 years minimum to have the tree you want.
    Others might suggest otherwise, but it is a very long game.

    Hope that has not put you off, that is far from what I want.
     
  5. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    No, not put me off, just means I need to learn something new. Suspected as much, just thought that there would be some - like Bloodgood - with more of a natural tendency, at least for the V shape, so they're easier to "style".

    I'm not finding too many good pictures of Skeeter's Broom. So, do I see this right that this one will have many thin branches, instead of a thicker, main trunk? Such I've seen at the garden centers, where they are the trees that need a lot of support by a bamboo stick, even if fairly large. Just asking, because I did not find these very desirable. I'm planning to buy one that is already 100cm in height.

    I've seen some photos with Bloodgoods showing an almost white stem. A very nice contrast to the red leaves. Is this something Bloodgood specific?

    Also read somewhere, that Pixie is a smaller version of Bloodgood. Would that also be an option - how would it compare to Skeeters Bloom?

    Sorry for the wall of questions and thanks for your support @Acerholic !
     
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @BlackMaple, first of all Bloodgood does not have white branches. If it were me I would stick to growing a Bloodgood in the location you said about in your first post. The leaves are not large like some other palmate cultivars and the growth rate means it can be trained sooner rather than later so to speak.
    You asked about Pixie, this another fairly fast grower, but IMO does not carry the reds as well as Bloodgood in the Summer months. On the plus side, it can be trained very much like Bloodgood.
    You say you are going to buy a 100 cm tree, that will be an ideal size to start the training of branches process in the way you want the shape to be.
    Skeeters broom is what it says, the branch structure is like a broom. A lot of people like this as they can remove a certain amount to enable a form that is in their mind what they would like the eventual shape to be.
    In the end J, you really can make the tree whatever shape you want it to be and that includes keeping it in proportion to the area you keep it.
    Bonsai specialists do this all the time. The meaning of Bonsai is basically growing trees in pots.
    It is very difficult to choose a maple for someone else, I've always gone by the rule, if you like what you see then that's the one for you.
     
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  7. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    With respect, I don't agree with this. One of the great joys of JMs is their natural shape. Even in the temples and Japanese parks they are more often left to find their own shapes. The same is true in many of the great arboreta. Of course, a pot on a balcony may need quite a bit more intervention.

    For the naturally upright shape, @BlackMaple , I would recommend 'O kagami' if you can find one. Otherwise, 'Bloodgood' is an excellent cultivar (which has leaves about the equivalent of 'O sakazuki' in size) and fast growing. 'Pixie' is generally considered to be a dwarf, thought to be a witches broom of 'Bloodgood' (although I don't see wb there, personally) and known for holding an excellent red color with in shade that might make other red cultivars "green out". It does grow quickly when young but then turns into a very bushy shrub 1.5-2m high over times.

    You can keep an upright formed maple (Japanese or otherwise) small in a pot by doing root pruning every couple of years, which lets you get away with minimum intervention in the top.

    HTH, -E
     
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  8. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    As a general rule you don't really need to do any work on the 'Witches brooms' they will more or less look after themselves that's if you are looking for good strong upright growers, have had numerous varieties over the years and always found the skeeters broom was a good example, nice strong branching with excellent red colourings Just started again around three years ago with some more brooms Pixie, Twomblys and jerre scharwtz of which the later is very impressive plus with this cultivar you get the seasonal changes, mine is just starting to get some reds in the leaf , had this one in the ground for two years to get it going re growth then lifted last year and it's really showing well now and was very pretty in the spring also. With these also is if they start to get too big they are easily pruned back and you are only losing basically the height and not the width , plus if they do start to bush outwards just tie them back inwards for about a year and let the wood harden off to keep the straight upright branch effect. Pic of jerre schwartz in the rain and gloom today.
     

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  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @BlackMaple As ROEBUK mentioned Skeeters broom and I also did in my reply to you, but I did not post a photo, here it is.
    Brightest red in my garden all Spring and Summer together with Atropurpureum.
     

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  10. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    Thanks all! That tip with the pruning to control the growth is a good one, will try that. These witches brooms variety I think I'm personally not so much a fan of. For now I seem to prefer the V-shaped varieties that have fewer and thicker main branches.

    I decided to go with a Bloodgood+pruning, because I want the most stable and deep red. O kagami also sounds very interesting, but for the now I have to put a stop to purchasing any more maples and see how well the trees and I get along :)

    Will post pics when there's news.
     
  11. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @BlackMaple, good luck with your venture, a good choice, look forward to seeing photos of it.
     
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  12. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Pruning : when done around June, no particular problem.
    When done in early spring, the tree will "bleed" : it doesn't harm it. If you prune the roots at the same time, it will bleed less, or not at all (bonsai tip).

    In any case, a tree in a pot should be repotted and pruned (both the roots and the branches) at least every 2 or 3 years, at least in the first 10 years or so. If you do so, the internodes will gradually get shorter, the leaves smaller and the canopy more compact. This is the basis of maple bonsai growing.
     
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  13. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    Question: so this is the Bloodgood I have ordered - it's not here yet. In the photo, it looks a bit skewed to the left. Is it possible to straighen the bottome 3 branches, so that over time it will look more upright?
     

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  14. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good evening @BlackMaple, very nice purchase, can I suggest you take a couple of photos of it when it arrives. It is difficult to see atm to make any comments IMO. It is going to look very special next year with out a doubt, whatever you do to train it.
    Bonsai wire can work miracles, so don't worry about getting the right shape you eventually want. It is a long game though.
    Exciting !!!!
     
  15. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    That sounds promising @Acerholic I watched some Bonsai intros on yt, didn't know this could also applied to maples / bigger trees.. cool. Is there any resource you would recommend on learning how to do that?
     
  16. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @BlackMaple, If you are already looking at YouTube, take a look at the link here. This gentleman shows very well how to train maples of 'any' size.
    Shaping Japanese Maple Bonsai - Part 1 | How to Shape a Bonsai Tree | Herons Bonsai UK
    This book is excellent, I have it in my gardening library along with others.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Creative-Pruning-Inventive-Training/dp/B00FKYBRDA
    The author Jake Hobson has written a few that are very informative in this subject. I can send the link if you wish.

    Hope that's pointed you in the right direction.
     
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  17. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    Finally got the trees I've ordered. Now I almost can't move on my balcony anymore :D
    Here are a few shots of the Bloodgood, taken with my phone. I apologize, they are not very good. I will post an update in the next view days or on the weekend, when I find time.

    I'm very happy with this specimen. Looks beautiful, especially in that nice little, barrell-shaped container suggested by @dicky5ash Thank you!

    During transport, it was in a box for 5 days. You can see it has suffered. The top leaves are all curled up. I expect next season to be glorious though :) During planting, I removed about 4cm from the top soil - both because of what I've read on here - that the root flare should be exposed - as well as because I had trouble fitting it into the 50cm container after putting in an inverted plastic container on the bottom to save on weight. Hoping that this will be ok, since maple roots are supposed to grow shallowly anyway? Did not dig completely down to the root flare (in my mind, this would be the major breakup point of the main trunk into thick roots). Instead I stopped when there were already a lot of medium sized roots exposed. I was too afraid to go deeper. I already heard a loud cracking noise when breaking some of roots at that level.

    Any tips on cleaning up the part of the trunk, that was covered in dirt?

    Looking at the tree, it is already pretty upright so I'm quite happy. But in the future, I will probably try my luck and bend it a little to the right with the help of wires.

    Exiting times :D
     

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  18. dicky5ash

    dicky5ash Generous Contributor

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    Lovely photos, so you managed to get the 50cm ones?
     
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  19. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @BlackMaple, absolutely wonderful. Don't touch the trunk IMO. Or if you need to, a little water will be fine with a soft tooth brush. .
    Do not worry about the leaves at all this season, I would expect a few more to curl and drop. This happens after being in transport.
    You will still get a pretty good Autumn show this year, do post a photo in a few weeks when it colours up.
    Bonsai wire is the best for shaping, it is coated to stop cutting into branches etc.
    'Looking Good'
     
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  20. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    D - these containers are fantastic (imo) :) I ordered 2 more 50cm for reserve. Excessive, maybe, but these really look exceptional compared to others at that price point.

    I'm in Austria, so Stewart containers are not straight forward to by. Most of the cost goes to shipping acutally, unless I can catch a lucky deal on Amazon. But being impatient and having to plant a few more trees, I've ordered a set of 5 of the 35cm variant via a postage forwarding service... cost to be determined :D
     
  21. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    Thanks for the reassurance D! Really lookng forward to next year :)

    This is in part what got me interested in maples - growing and caring for trees is a gradual progression over the years, where you have influcence to shape and transform. It is as a reminder of our mortality, as well as on what we can accomplish by setting long term goals. I wish I had discovered this passion sooner. But anyway, exiting times ahead :)
     
  22. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @BlackMaple, exactly it is never too late. Great to have you on the maples forum.
    As you rightly say , exciting times ahead!!!
     
  23. dicky5ash

    dicky5ash Generous Contributor

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    Glad you managed to get them..they have good dimensions, 50cm wide, Maybe 40cm deep I think so that works out at 50ltrs...so by the time you’ve put plenty of drainage material in the bottom you’re still left with a reasonable depth..

    I’ve also bought some slightly smaller ceramic pots from a UK home focused store which are 34cm wide, 38cm deep (Internal measurements) which hold about 28ltrs and have 4 large holes in the bottom. Nice thick glaze that will resist frost and are very slightly wider at the top than the bottom...an important factor for obvious reasons. Nice subtle colours and patterns, unlike many garish ones available here..good price at £15 each for a fairly large pot.
     

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  24. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    Very nice catch @dicky5ash , looks like you carry a lucky hand :)

    Meanwhile, I got around to potting all the new arrivals. Here are a few impressions. The new BG, Kagagama and Ukigumo have lost a lot of leaves due to being in a box for 6 days. Especially the Ukigumi has suffered.

    I think I'm really bad at watering. Some of the leaves of the "established trees" (Mikawa, Inaba Shidare, Aureum) show burned or curled edges or even dried out leaves. A few times, I was just not paying attention to the weather forecast, and watered just before a big shower. Have to be more mindful

    I received the Vertrees book and it says that consistency is key. Keeping the soil either moist or dry is fine, but big swings from one to the other can cause the leaves to dry out and fall off. This sounds exactly like what is happening to my Aureum. I guess I'll better keep them moist since then, a heavy rain won't present a big challange. Really tricky.

    On my bloodgood, there are a few leaves with white spots. Let me know if that is something I should worry about :)
     

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  25. BlackMaple

    BlackMaple Member

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    Apart from that, the weather does not always do as the forecast says... part 2 :)
     

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