How to harden a maple for your area?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by stephen2602, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. stephen2602

    stephen2602 Member

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    Canberra Australia
    Greetings fellow listers,

    After reading Mr. Sheps comments about where he lives and the causes of burn and early leaf colouring, I am interested in working out the best way to harden a maple for the climate I live in, assuming that is possible.

    Most nurseries tend to have the AP's in quite sheltered spots and probably water them daily. Also most nurseries appear to create their own microclimate with shade, mist, etc.

    Unfortunately, if you are like me, my yard does not have this mircoclimate and I am unable to water the trees everyday and I don't have masses of shadecloth or large established trees to shelter them. Considering our ongoing drought and banning of automatic watering systems, how can you ensure that your precious maples survive?

    During very hot weather (+90F), I will move the trees (in pots) under shelter but I really don't want to keep doing that especially if I am away and this cant be done.

    Pots probably are the main problem but I can't bear to plant the trees especially if I intend to move home again.

    So, in a nutshell, is cover and frequent watering the only thing I can do to look after my beloved trees or can I harden them for morning and midday sun (no afternoon sun) without the threat of hot dry winds?


  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Hi Stephen:

    Since you referenced Mr. Shep and since we both share the same similar problem
    perhaps I can help shed some light on a few things. A good old nurseryman friend
    of mine, whom is very well versed in foothill type plants, calls his watering method
    as being on the "dummy end of the hose". That is how I water my Maples here in
    Merced with a hose as I knew that my days were limited here with a long term
    girlfriend in Fresno and the fact that for several years much of my work was carried
    out in Oregon and elsewhere. I only have a few of my 85 Maples here in the ground
    and as a result I am not utilizing a permanent watering system. The rest of the Maples
    are either in containers or in 20", 24" or 30" boxes. I will not go into all of my reasons
    for being a container grower but I will say that I have been less than brilliant at times
    doing things this way for a little more than 20 years.

    Hardening off is a term that I equate with preparing a plant for the cold as I have a cabin
    near Yosemite whereby it gets much cooler during the year and less hot than in Merced
    or Fresno. We equate the word "adapt" to warding off the plant from hot weather here
    (don't worry about the semantics of the terms as I know what you mean).

    I'll be as honest as I can be, there are not a lot of people that have had to endure the
    intense heat that we get here. Rather than be even more of a "pain" than I already
    may seem to some people I always feel that I can grow Maples where most people
    are but can they grow Maples here? Yes, I do have the sense that in no way do they
    really want to experiment here but it can be done and quite successfully as long as
    we take some precautions. One thing to remember is that it was not that long ago
    that even the editors of the Western Garden Book openly stated that we cannot grow
    Japanese Maples here in the warmer parts of the San Joaquin Valley.

    The primary concern for us is the hot winds, not so much the temperature, as we
    already know the temps will get up there and the plant will be pumping water like
    there's no tomorrow but with plenty of humus, sand and some soil (here a silt loam),
    I can get by quite well with only one watering a week even in 100° weather. The one
    thing that most people do not fully realize is that when we buy a one gallon or a five
    gallon size plant that we have spent some time already forcing the plant to adapt
    before we ever transplant it into a larger container. Some varieties of Maples makes
    things tough as they will need some afternoon shade or they will burn up for us.
    Many of the variegates must be protected not so much from the hot sun but from the
    hot winds. When a Shigitatsu sawa I have burns up it is usually not due to the heat,
    it is due to the hot winds instead. A simple solution is to grow the plant in an area
    that is protected from our hot winds yet give the Maple enough morning and afternoon
    sun to let the Maple achieve its best color. The latter statement is so important in that
    many people in the cooler areas really do not get to see many Maple's better colors but
    get to see what most everyone else is seeing with little diversity. The one pic I showed
    in the Yubae grouping of four Maples shows an Ornatum that in the early Spring gets
    its nice red color and then greens out until the Fall. If I had that plant out in the sun it
    stays a nice red year round with a little more intense coloration during the hot part of
    the Summer. The people in Oregon, unless they are in Southern Oregon such as in
    Medford, seldom get to see the coloration that I would see almost every year.

    For your situation if you are happy with your set up based on necessity then why
    worry about things you have no control over. You obviously have an operation
    going in which you are being successful when most people in the cooler climates
    would fail so you are forcing your Maples to adapt to your conditions already. No
    one likes being forced to water using a garden hose but the one good thing about
    that type of watering is that we get to deep water our Maples which does not happen
    with people using a drip system, a sprinkler type set up or for the people that are
    relying on rainfall for their water source.. I already mentioned in an earlier post today
    one of the pitfalls of overhead sprinklers in that it can lead to or at least enhance sun
    burning of the leaves. Shade for some Maples is important and if you can provide some
    afternoon shade where you are you will have less leaf scorch. I wrote in a previous post
    that you started that I do not care about leaf scorch as I get a benefit from it that others do
    not get and that is I get to see Fall color during the Summer and I get a growth spurt that
    others in cooler climates probably will not get. It is not a problem if the leaves drop 3-4
    times a year here. I am not moaning about our conditions, on the contrary, I want to let the
    people that have never had to really "push the envelope" know that they are not as expert
    in the growing of Maples as they think they are. Come here or where you are and grow
    Maples and then we will see what they know (a slice of Don Kleim philosophy). Even if
    I was in Iraq in 140° heat I would be growing Maples. How many people can safely say
    the same and be able to do it? You can grow Maples there also! So, it comes down to
    what have we learned that others may someday need to know in order to succeed with our
    climatic and environmental conditions?

  3. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Hi Stephen:

    If you have a specific question to ask me about your Maple growing operation then
    go ahead and ask me. I will need to know more of your watering set up, the amount
    of water you are applying and how often are you watering. Just give a decent over
    view of your operation and perhaps I can help. As far as the adaptation part you have
    that situation in hand already but if you want to expand on forcing the Maples to
    better adapt so you will not be tied down to them so often then let me know.

  4. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Northern Ireland
    I have nothing like the conditions you guys have for growing maples
    However, so far as infrequent watering goes, I have for some years planted a piece of down spout beside each maple. To water, I fill the downspout every week or maybe twice a week in hotter drier weather ... this gets the water to where it is needed ... to the roots
    It is easy, quick, and very effective
    I have pulled the chippings away from the downspout to show you what I mean. I cover the top with a stone

    Attached Files:

  5. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Hi Sam:

    I like your use of a spire spout for Maples in the ground. I think for us that would
    be an interesting and useful companion for our watering when we are to be away
    for several days during certain months of the year. We can surely put the spire
    spouts to good use here if only people would use them. Thank you for sharing
    that bit of information with us.


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