Maple Trasplant In Winter

Douglas Fir

Seedling
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So, today I've received two Acer Rubrum as well as three other Lagerstroemia Indica seedlings.
I live in Cartagena, Spain, Zone 10, so basically, pretty soft winters. Although all deciduous trees do drop their leaves,
we never reach temperatures below 0º Celsius. Think of 3/4º at night as the lowest we ever reach in January, so no frost.
Basically, I had the question that, if it would be all right to transplant those trees & pruning some of the roots off, without killing
them nor producing serious growth problems for the next growing season.
Current high maximum is 15º and minimum is around 4º at night, pretty autumn-ish temperatures for what its near the middle
of winter.
 

small trees

Chumono
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Is there any reason why you need to do it now? Any significant root pruning will slow growth up top the following year at least. A slip pot without disturbing roots is probably okay, although if you can wait until buds start swelling you'd be better off.
 

Shibui

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Your trees will be fine after root pruning any time through your winter which is even warmer than my mild climate. Both those species will continue to grow strongly when spring comes. I often find that growth actually increases in the season following root pruning because of many new feeder roots that grow after and also the increased space for them to grow.
There is a small risk that roots pruned early in winter can become infected in cold, wet soil so, unless you have a need to do this now, I would save the root prune until a little closer to spring growing season.
 

Douglas Fir

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Is there any reason why you need to do it now? Any significant root pruning will slow growth up top the following year at least. A slip pot without disturbing roots is probably okay, although if you can wait until buds start swelling you'd be better off.
There's no a particular reason to do that right now, although I always wondered If that would be ok to do without any serious repercussion. They came with a pretty solid root ball and I would like to transplant them into a shallow pot. Problem is, I fear If I do not root prune roots, the pot will eventually get very congested filled with roots that will suck lots of water and will eventually get really dry really rapidly.
 

Douglas Fir

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Your trees will be fine after root pruning any time through your winter which is even warmer than my mild climate. Both those species will continue to grow strongly when spring comes. I often find that growth actually increases in the season following root pruning because of many new feeder roots that grow after and also the increased space for them to grow.
There is a small risk that roots pruned early in winter can become infected in cold, wet soil so, unless you have a need to do this now, I would save the root prune until a little closer to spring growing season.
I won't take any unnecessary risks, I'll wait. Although part of the question was If in my mild winter it would be ok to do so, and it's seems to be the case, thanks.
 

MrWunderful

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Im in zone 10, already repotted most of my maples. I just monitor the temp and bring them in/ protect if it gets to be below 32° (This year the lowest ive got is 38°)
 

Douglas Fir

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Im in zone 10, already repotted most of my maples. I just monitor the temp and bring them in/ protect if it gets to be below 32° (This year the lowest ive got is 38°)
What kind of maples you grow? I've got some Acer Palmatum as well and I fear I'll get leaf scorch. The lowest we reached this year was 33.4º (0.8º Celsius)
 

MrWunderful

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What kind of maples you grow? I've got some Acer Palmatum as well and I fear I'll get leaf scorch. The lowest we reached this year was 33.4º (0.8º Celsius)

Standard Palmatum, trident, ginnala, “ao jutan”, “bloodgood”

You are concerned about scorch in winter?
 

MrWunderful

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No, in summer. Haven't had any problem with other trees, but I'm unsure about maples, specially Japanese Maples.
When I first started growing maples, I found out the standard Boons mix (akadama, pumice, lava) was too dry for my area and I get a considerable amount of fog. I was getting leaf scorch as well, but found out about people with healthy maples even where it can get up to 110 in the summer (but those folks can monitor water more than often than me as I have a full time job).

I’ve since not only increased the amount of akadama in the soil (still Boons mix) but also added a small amount of Pinebark to it to keep the soil more moist. Its taken care of most of my scorch problems.

Wind was doing more damage than I had expected as well, dry wind can cause a significant amount of transpiration.
 

Douglas Fir

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When I first started growing maples, I found out the standard Boons mix (akadama, pumice, lava) was too dry for my area and I get a considerable amount of fog. I was getting leaf scorch as well, but found out about people with healthy maples even where it can get up to 110 in the summer (but those folks can monitor water more than often than me as I have a full time job).

I’ve since not only increased the amount of akadama in the soil (still Boons mix) but also added a small amount of Pinebark to it to keep the soil more moist. Its taken care of most of my scorch problems.

Wind was doing more damage than I had expected as well, dry wind can cause a significant amount of transpiration.
Thank you, luckily, I can monitor my trees very often and my soil mix is fairly moist (50% Lava 50% Mix of Peat Moss with Perlite and Coco fiber) so I shouldn't have any problem except for the wind, which is somewhat dry.
 

Shibui

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I'm also in a hot summer, mild winter climate, though just a little cooler than you with winter min down to -5C
Japanese maples need plenty of water to reduce leaf burn in summer but it can get to the stage where they just cannot transport enough to the leaves even when the roots are damp so some leaf cooling is needed in hot climates. The peat and coco fiber should be good for you to retain plenty of water but will still need really good watering. The key is to get the pot properly wet to start each day. Dry soil is hard to wet so I water each pot 2 or 3 times - water all the pots then go back and water again, then maybe water them all a third time. The first water soaks in a little way but most just runs through the pot and out the bottom. Resting for a few minutes allows the water to soak in a little and when you water a second time the new water will penetrate further and wet the particles better.
You may need to be careful that the roots don't stay too wet in winter. Sometimes fungal infections can affect the roots of Japanese maples when they are constantly wet and cold. keep pots up off the ground, especially in winter.
I also use humidity trays to help trees cope with hot, dry weather. Fill a tray or tub with stones and place the bonsai on to of the stones. When you water the tray fills with water but the pot is not sitting in water. During the heat the water in the tray evaporates and helps cool the tree and reduces the amount of water it needs to draw up from the soil. Some roots will also grow out of the pot into the wet gravel so the tree will have access to extra water. This is a good strategy for maples and smaller pots in hot dry areas.
Protection from hot wind is also important. you should try to get a screen on the hot windy side to reduce the impact of hot winds on the trees.
Overhead shade will also help but not too much or you end up with long, soft shoots and unhealthy trees. I've used 35% shadecloth over my growing area that goes up in December when the weather starts to get hot. I take it down again at the end of the hot weather so the trees have full sun for the rest of the year and better cold in winter.

Many of my maples still end up with some leaf damage. I can defoliate in late summer so there is a fresh crop of undamaged leaves for autumn colour change.

It is possible to grow maples in warmer climates. They may not grow as well as in a cooler winter area but still worth trying. Note that trident maple is much hardier and is even better and easier to manage as bonsai.
 

Douglas Fir

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I'm also in a hot summer, mild winter climate, though just a little cooler than you with winter min down to -5C
Japanese maples need plenty of water to reduce leaf burn in summer but it can get to the stage where they just cannot transport enough to the leaves even when the roots are damp so some leaf cooling is needed in hot climates. The peat and coco fiber should be good for you to retain plenty of water but will still need really good watering. The key is to get the pot properly wet to start each day. Dry soil is hard to wet so I water each pot 2 or 3 times - water all the pots then go back and water again, then maybe water them all a third time. The first water soaks in a little way but most just runs through the pot and out the bottom. Resting for a few minutes allows the water to soak in a little and when you water a second time the new water will penetrate further and wet the particles better.
You may need to be careful that the roots don't stay too wet in winter. Sometimes fungal infections can affect the roots of Japanese maples when they are constantly wet and cold. keep pots up off the ground, especially in winter.
I also use humidity trays to help trees cope with hot, dry weather. Fill a tray or tub with stones and place the bonsai on to of the stones. When you water the tray fills with water but the pot is not sitting in water. During the heat the water in the tray evaporates and helps cool the tree and reduces the amount of water it needs to draw up from the soil. Some roots will also grow out of the pot into the wet gravel so the tree will have access to extra water. This is a good strategy for maples and smaller pots in hot dry areas.
Protection from hot wind is also important. you should try to get a screen on the hot windy side to reduce the impact of hot winds on the trees.
Overhead shade will also help but not too much or you end up with long, soft shoots and unhealthy trees. I've used 35% shadecloth over my growing area that goes up in December when the weather starts to get hot. I take it down again at the end of the hot weather so the trees have full sun for the rest of the year and better cold in winter.

Many of my maples still end up with some leaf damage. I can defoliate in late summer so there is a fresh crop of undamaged leaves for autumn colour change.

It is possible to grow maples in warmer climates. They may not grow as well as in a cooler winter area but still worth trying. Note that trident maple is much hardier and is even better and easier to manage as bonsai.
You've totally earned my respects! I haven't found this much useful information about Japanese maple-caring in hot climates! I do use a shade mesh of about 50/50 from June to October (Here in the northern emisphere, basically when daily maximum are over 25ºC)
About that wind protection, I have some weeping willows that produce a lot of foliage and branches each year, and given that they need no special treatment but water and more water, I'll use them for now to protect (kind of) the Japanese maples.
Watering won't be a problem, although I use tap water, it's really not that high in minerals, as I watered all my plants with that tap water and they've never presented any clorosis nor any other kind of symptome. I do the same when watering my elder tree, poplars and willows; I water once, then wait, then water again.
I'll try the trick with the gravel and tray, as I noticed in a small Pine (Pinus Eldarica) Seedling I was growing in a plastic cup, the bottom part where the drainage wholes are found, I normally fill that part with pure red lava gravel, and so I saw that roots that reach that part are like 2 to 3 times larger than those in the upper part. If I lived in a cooler-more humid climate, I would use a more drained substrate as it definitively makes roots healthier and grow vigorous.
You defoliate the whole tree or just the damaged leaves? I've defoliated some trees before for better autumn color, but never to a Japanese maples.
Trident maple is still out of my reach, can't find it in any local store and it's pretty expensive in any of the on-line stores I usually buy in.autumnyard11.jpg
autumnyard4.jpg
This is part of my terrace in late november/ early december. Note that all these have been there throughout all the summer.
As you can see, wind gets everywhere as well as sun.
 

Decoy Octopus

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I’m in zone 8 and we’re hopefully through our freezes. I only have maples, elms, zelkova and liquidambar and repotted them yesterday. Your local club (if there is one) is usually what I defer to when repotting season rolls around because our winters vary from year to year.
 

Douglas Fir

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I’m in zone 8 and we’re hopefully through our freezes. I only have maples, elms, zelkova and liquidambar and repotted them yesterday. Your local club (if there is one) is usually what I defer to when repotting season rolls around because our winters vary from year to year.
Sadly, here we don't have any clubs
 

Underdog

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Shibui

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You defoliate the whole tree or just the damaged leaves? I've defoliated some trees before for better autumn color, but never to a Japanese maples.
Depends on the situation and the aim. If you have damaged leaves just remove those leaves if you are worried about the look. Damaged leaves do not NEED to be removed. Any green part will still help feed the plant so leaving them on the tree will not hurt it. Damaged leaves will usually be on the outside of the tree and it is good to remove some outside leaves so inner ones that have been shaded can get some sun.
When a tree is well ramified with dense branches sun will not reach inner shoots and leaves and they will weaken and may die. Occasional defoliation of larger and outer leaves allows sun to reach inner leaves to maintain strength there so partial defoliation should be done on advanced trees most years whether leaves are damaged or not. Note that beginning trees with few branches do not need this.

Be careful when removing leaves in hot weather. Sudden exposure to hot sun after defoliation can burn the bark.

It is possible to completely defoliate maples but that process is stressful as the tree is deprived of food until new leaves grow so it must use up reserves to make the new leaves. Defoliation is commonly believed to produce smaller leaves but I have not found that to be correct. Defoliation can force the tree to ramify but proper pruning is a far better technique to achieve the same. More ramification (many small twigs on each branch) is the best way to achieve reduced leaf size.

Trident maple is still out of my reach, can't find it in any local store and it's pretty expensive in any of the on-line stores I usually buy in.
Trident maple is a larger tree so not really suitable for many gardens so nurseries do not usually carry them but if you look hard enough you may find some. Even larger trees can be cut down to bonsai size. Advanced trident bonsai can be expensive as it takes a few years to achieve but online stores should also have young stock at more reasonable rates. If not they are overpriced so don't buy from them. I have may here and would offer to send a few or some seed but it is a long way......

Your trees are all very young so no need for advanced techniques for a while. Just concentrate on growing and developing the trunks for the next few years.
 

Douglas Fir

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Look into something like these for wind and some sun protection. Also shade cloth would be easy as you have the tall fence to use.
I'd think you could make something like this.
Sun is not that big of a problem, the bad guy here is the wind. I was looking for an economical bamboo/cane fence, but so far, seems like shade mesh in the wire fence is the most realistic/affordable one.
 

Douglas Fir

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Depends on the situation and the aim. If you have damaged leaves just remove those leaves if you are worried about the look. Damaged leaves do not NEED to be removed. Any green part will still help feed the plant so leaving them on the tree will not hurt it. Damaged leaves will usually be on the outside of the tree and it is good to remove some outside leaves so inner ones that have been shaded can get some sun.
When a tree is well ramified with dense branches sun will not reach inner shoots and leaves and they will weaken and may die. Occasional defoliation of larger and outer leaves allows sun to reach inner leaves to maintain strength there so partial defoliation should be done on advanced trees most years whether leaves are damaged or not. Note that beginning trees with few branches do not need this.

Be careful when removing leaves in hot weather. Sudden exposure to hot sun after defoliation can burn the bark.

It is possible to completely defoliate maples but that process is stressful as the tree is deprived of food until new leaves grow so it must use up reserves to make the new leaves. Defoliation is commonly believed to produce smaller leaves but I have not found that to be correct. Defoliation can force the tree to ramify but proper pruning is a far better technique to achieve the same. More ramification (many small twigs on each branch) is the best way to achieve reduced leaf size.


Trident maple is a larger tree so not really suitable for many gardens so nurseries do not usually carry them but if you look hard enough you may find some. Even larger trees can be cut down to bonsai size. Advanced trident bonsai can be expensive as it takes a few years to achieve but online stores should also have young stock at more reasonable rates. If not they are overpriced so don't buy from them. I have may here and would offer to send a few or some seed but it is a long way......

Your trees are all very young so no need for advanced techniques for a while. Just concentrate on growing and developing the trunks for the next few years.
Thank you for the knowledge, I'll put it into practice this coming spring.
I've decided to grow my owns from seed as I had relatively good success with pines, spruces and firs and those are considered harder than maples. Also, I've had problems with customs buying from America!
Yes, most of my trees are really young, at least all range from 2 to 3 years, and I plan to grow them vigorously for the coming years using just pruning the tips of the new shoots in spring, partial defoliation in late summer, and structural pruning of weak/unnecessary branches and pruning the tips off in winter. I've pruned all the tips of all the branches of my elder tree once it lost all it's leaves, and it just exploded with new buds everywere for the coming spring.
 
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