Young Japanese and Paperbark maples struggling

Discussion in 'Maples' started by RookiePresent, Sep 2, 2021.

  1. RookiePresent

    RookiePresent New Member

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    I have 3 paper barks and 3 japanese maples.

    The paperbarks I received a few years old and this is my first season with them, and they don't seem to be doing well and have stagnated. I originally had them in a poor soil mix that was staying too wet, so I repotted 1, waited a month or so and it didn't get worse so I repotted a second and the 3rd is still in its original mix. All my maples don't seem capable of putting out new growth, it just turns black and dies. Additionally, the leaves that are there are spotty and grey, and I don't suspect anything pest wise because I have been spraying them intermittently over the summer and it hasn't helped them improve. The Japanese maples' leaves turn out black as well, and what small leaves do form are missformed and stunted looking. I repotted both Japanese maples and originally had success and the new growth was healthy, but that's stopped and now none of my maples seem to be growing properly. Winter is coming, and I really don't want to lose these trees. I have tried everything but it's becoming more and more obvious that I don't know what I'm doing and I really need some help. Thank you in advance, I appreciate it.

    The paperbarks get a lot of morning sun and then intermittent shade throughout the day. The Japanese maples are mostly shaded with direct morning sun.

    I dont know if it's a good idea or not, but I grow plants indoors and have it set up for plants this size. Could I keep them inside under grow lights to extend their growing season before winter? I don't know if that would help or hurt them.
     

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  2. MapleZen

    MapleZen Active Member

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    From my understanding, the winter dormant period is very important for their growth and development, so bringing them indoors probably wouldn't be helpful.
     
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  3. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hello,

    Firstly, I am crap at keeping Paperbark Maples in pots. They don't like my mix, and the best mix I've found for them -- pine bark chips and composted pine bark, with osmocote -- doesn't work that well either. They only do well for me once they're in the ground, and then after establishing for a couple of years. I know this isn't much help, except to say it looks like maybe they would do better in straight garden soil.

    For the palmatums, they look like this -- chlorotic with deformed leaves -- when there isn't enough root to support the top, or when the root isn't managing to get the nutrients up to the leaves. This could be from a lack in the soil, but just as often it's because the soil is too wet, the plant is over-fertilized, the root is too small, etc. With seedlings, sometimes individuals are just not very healthy, and there's not a lot that can be done, though I wouldn't expect to see this with 3 plants together.

    I'm going to guess the soil is to water retentive, or you water too much, but that's just a guess.

    So long as you plan to have them outside for 50 days or so to be dormant, I don't imagine extending the season under lights would do any harm, though I don't see it would help either: leaves like this don't usually last long into autumn, and you certainly don't want to encourage new growth now.

    Sometimes seedlings like these are just surly for the first few years, then they get their feet under them and turn into good citizens. Let's hope that's the case here. -E
     
  4. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I second that.

    What soil are you using? A well-draining, slightly acidic soil is better for palmatums : perhaps repotting them in a better suited medium next spring could help.

    And neither palmatums or griseum are indoor trees. I'm always very sceptical about people growing outdoor trees that can stand -25° C in their natural habitat under artificial lights.

    I think that if a tree is weak (chlorosis, or root problem), trying to have it keep its leaves longer will cause even more stress.
     
  5. RookiePresent

    RookiePresent New Member

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    I'm using a potting soil mix from the store, but they were originally growing in a poor mix that retained a lot of water. When it was in that mix I added slow release fertilizer pellets and that helped the chlorosis, but then I repotted them into the current potting soil mix and haven't added any fertilizer since. When I repotted, the larger maples' roots looked okay to me, they weren't going off like some other plants I'm growing, but they were decent in my opinion. These palmatums were growing in ground from Georgia, and were uprooted and sent to me, then potted in the water-retaining soil, and then repotted again to their current potting soil mix. So they've been through a lot this growing season and I think some time to establish with do them good - I just have to stop messing with them
     
  6. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I see.
    Most of the time "potting soil mix" from stores retain too much water. A good sign of a bad potting soil is when you water the pot and it takes time for the soil to absorb the water. Two days later, the top soil will be parched, very dry, like cardboard, but the bottom of the pot is still damp. Check that.
     
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