Is there a secret to growing trident maples?

DaveV

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I am convinced that there is something I'm doing wrong with my trident maple. I have had this tree for 13 years. Every spring it produces nice green leaves. BUT.... every year aound the middle of June, the tips of the leaves start to turn brown until eventually it over takes the whole leaf. The tree continues to grow ( as shown in the pictures) but never seems to thrive. Over the past several years I have tried everything. The tree grows in a very well draining soil ( lave, turface, hydite, granite and a little akadama). I feed regularly as I do my other trees. I repot every 2 years and healthy white roots fill the pot. I never let the tree dry out and keep it under shade cloth from June onward. In the past it received only morning sun but still get the same results. I don't have this problems with my other trees (except my Japanese maples from time to time). I see photos of other peoples maples and they always look very nice and healthy. Any thoughts as to what could be the problem.

Sincerely,

Dave V.
 

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DaveV

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I forgot to mention, I live in central Iowa and I do keep it in a greenhouse in spring to protect form the heavy (dreaded) spring winds.
 

rockm

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Could be a few things...

Your soil may drain TOO well...That's extremely coarse soil for a trident.

Do you water the leaves when you water the plant? Might be some kind of fungal thing.

Also might be windburn...
 

DaveV

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What is an ideal soil mix for tirdents? I grow my japanese maples in a more sandy mix.
The reason I grow in a more inorganic mix is because way back then someone told me my mix needed to be more inorganic. I have found that most of my trees grow well in a more inorganic mix.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Not to complicate things, but it could be getting too much care...the soil looks wet in the photo, and tridents should be able to tolerate all the Iowa sun you can give them. Mine are (all in nursery cans) in full sun all day here in Birmingham, and they don't burn at all.

Rock says soil may be too coarse for tridents, and I agree with that, but what are your watering habits? Are you watering them in the evening? Are you allowing the soil to actually get dry between watering? Under shade, it may take longer than you think. Best to water in the morning and check throughout the day. Use a piece of bamboo skewer inserted into the soil as a gauge to determine if the soil under the surface is dry and needs water before you water it. I do this with trees for a few weeks after I repot them so I don't overwater while the roots are colonizing the pots.

I'd try getting it in full sun and monitoring the moisture level in the pot closely and see if you get better results next year.
 

biglou13

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+1 on coarse soil, whats your percentages? smaller particles an/or more turface, i like some pine pine bark in my D tree's.

look like leaf burn (sun or wind)

here's my secret

pro tekt start late spring (learned about it living in so cal)

http://www.dyna-gro.com/003.htm

and sarsaponin

i dont think so, but did u defoliate this year?

i wouldn't say "never seems to thrive" those in hotter climes its almost expected.

im also wondering if you should let it get more sun i thinking overprotecting it keeps it from adapting. i've see street trees not burn.
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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Looks like a nice collection too, BTW...:)
 

DaveV

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Thanks guys. I'll try these suggestions. I use the chop stick method too. I have read that Walter waters everyday using his corse mix - so this year I tried his method.
 

digger714

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I would have to say too wet also. The stick method works great, and i use it everytime i move my trees, or repot. You have some nice trees there. Looks good.
 

Smoke

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All you guys have touched on some pretty good things except one.

Angle of the sun.

This time of year is murder on maples. The suns height now is losing close to 1 degree of azimuth a day.
By Sept. the sun is at such a low angle that the rays of the sun catch the plant at a much lower point and the leaves are not hardened enough to prevent scorching. During the hot of summer the sun for most of the United States is directly overhead, and the leaves have hardened enough since spring to handle the sun. In fall a maple can become scorched in one day. Many times also the tree will shut down after the leaves shrivel and it will not bud untill next spring. Don't throw them out. Just water much less and place in a shady spot away from fall sun and long rays. All will be good next year.

Next year at the end of August, place your trees so they recieve morning sun and get partial shade after noon. This will take care of most of your burn issues.

I have had days as recently as 104 degrees last Saturday. I am wise to this fall sun thing and now my trees look like this at the end of the year. They did not look this way 5 years ago. They looked more like your tree.:mad: I was resolved to the fact that my trees would always look crappy in fall untill I figured out what was happening.

Good luck. Took these tonight while watching the finals of America's Got Talent.
 

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Thank you smoke, I will do this next year!

DaveV.
 

rockm

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"I have read that Walter waters everyday using his corse mix - so this year I tried his method."

The thing is, you don't live where Walter does. You've got an environment that is much hotter and drier that his. He doesn't have to deal with low humidity, extreme heat and wind. The leaves on this tree look wind burned to me. Coarse soil doesn't help with that, especially in hot, windy weather.

Reading is great. Walter's ideas are great. I would not use them verbatim on trees in completely different climates. I would adapt them to your climate. Tridents are not pines, which have unique foliage that can limit transpiration from the leaves (needles with waxy coatings), but deciduous trees like maples don't have that ability to limit moisture loss from their leaves, which leads to leaf burn.
 

Attila Soos

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Many of my tridents look similar to yours, except a couple that are placed right next to a bamboo grove in my backyard. The bamboo grove provides dappled sun, and the leaves look fresh green (Al, the leaves on your trident look amazing, what the heck are you doing to them?).

But here is what puzzles me: the tridents planted into the ground, look fresh green, even if they grow in full sun all day long. So, there is something in the physiology of the tree that makes it resistent to full sun, if grown in the ground. And the tree becomes defenseless against it when growing in the pot (thus the need for the extra-extra protection).

What is it, that makes the tree so much more resistent in the ground?
 
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Attila Soos

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What is it, that makes the tree so much more resistent in the ground?
To answer my own question, I am speculating the reason for the stronger defense against dehydration of leaves when planted in the ground is the much faster metabolism. The tree in the ground has a larger root system, permitting more water uptake (larger amount of water is pumped towards the leaves at any moment). This is probably the reason why the tree grows much faster as well.

In the pot, the water circulation in the leaves may be much slower, so they can dry out easier.

This is again, just my guess.
 

rockm

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Probably true. Additionally, temperature may also play a role. Roots in containers are subject to extreme temperatures-the shallower the pot, the hotter they get. Temperaure at the root zone can affect how roots perform, maybe even killing some or slowing growth.
 

Concorde

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I purchase bonsai soil (Boon's recipe) from Weetree in Oregon. The mixture is acadama, pumice, lava, crushed granite and charcoal. Good drainage and particles to hold moisture and fertilizer. I use it on all my tridents and Japanese maples. They just love it. Just my thoughts. By the way, nice looking tridents.

Art
 

Walter Pall

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I never let the tree dry out and keep it under shade cloth from June onward.
Dave, I have the suspicion that you may not water enough. The secret is not to never let the trees dry out. I do this often in summer. The secret is to water aggressively when you water. This means water with a garden hose like you would water a vegetable garden. Lots of water all over the trees, of course also into the crown. And when you think it's enough, then water even more. Every thing must be dripping wet.

Many folks don't do this because it is radically different from what is in the books. Well, your substrate is also radically different. Ever thought of that? And then in many areas water is a scarce good and only a minimum is used. Some folks are working with dripping systems. This will kill tridents because of salt build up.

If you don't water aggressively but feed a lot you will get salt build up in the soil. The soil dries out and the salt will try to fetch water. It gets it from the fine roots which are moist. So the fine roots are dehydrated and many die. The result is a weak tree even if you think you water enough. How can you tell? Well, look at the foliage. It looks exactly like your's. If it has brown tips and some burned spots you have a problem. And if a tree does not look better after every watering you then you know that the roots are seriously hurt. This is often the result of not watering enough and just making the substrate wet.

The trick is to FLUSH the substrate.

See the attached tridents at this time of the year.

If you actually are flushing your trees Dave, then I take it all back and have no clue what could be wrong.
 

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Walter there is no description on how beautiful your tridents are. I can only say they are totally amazing. I purchased your cd and just love it.

Art
 

DaveV

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Thank you Walter for your advice.

Sincerely,

DaveV.
 
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