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I need help with my japanese maple seedling

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danielsdolphins
Joined: 12/02/2008
Location: Knoxville
Posts: 1
Posted: Dec/02/2008 8:17 AM PST

I have a Japanese Maple seedling from my parents house in the fall of 2006. It was about an inch tall when I brought iot from Ohio to Tennessee. It is now about 2 feet tall. I cannot honestly remember if I brought it in last winter or not. I brought it inside this winter without thinking about it's natural dormant cycle, (I brought the tree in because I care so much about it.) Well you guessed it, it is growing new leaves. I water it with Miracle Grow. How do I get it back outside this winter and is it to late to get it back outside. What can I do about the new leaves if I can do anything about them.
Thanks in advance here for any advice you can give me.
Lori
KeyWee blog photos
Joined: 11/29/2006
Location: West Kentucky
Posts: 1803
Posted: Dec/04/2008 6:45 AM PST

I hate to see your question go unanswered, although it is a tough one. Watering with Miracle Gro is what's causing the tree to send out new leaves, just when it should be going to sleep for the winter. I would stop watering and set it outside in a protected area now. Two years ago, during the notorious "Easter Freeze" my J-maple was all leafed out and ready for spring, when *poof* we had five nights of a hard freeze in April. The leaves all turned black and died. On some advice I received right here, I stripped the branches of all leaves by hand (yeah, it was a job ~ the tree is 8' tall) but it came back fine and finished out the season fairly well, considering. My point is that the hard freeze did not kill the tree, just the leaves.
Your zone is not too much different than mine, so winters don't get terribly cold. Your tree needs to get out and become accustomed to its environment before it turns into a houseplant
poeticpeony blog photos
Joined: 4/04/2006
Location: NE Ohio, deck chuckin' fool
Posts: 9437
Moderator
Posted: Dec/12/2008 7:46 AM PST

Bonsai anyone? I'm up in zone 5 and though I don't have any Japanese maples many of my neighbors do. All the leaves drop off maples. I agree with the advice given. Since it's small you might put it outside during the day when it's warmer and put it in a slightly cooler place gradually nights until you can leave it outside. Or leave it inside for the winter without watering it with MG and start again next spring with a normal maple routine.
tnjtrees photos
Joined: 6/07/2008
Location: Heyburn Idaho
Posts: 77
Posted: Dec/18/2008 9:47 PM PST

Lori:
I hope you have not made any drastic decisions or major changes that will hurt your tree. Please consider the following.
Maple trees have been growing in the wild for ages, and they do great. Each fall they drop their leaves, And each spring new leaves grow. Now here is the kicker, their leaves grow back each year without Miracle Grow. I'm not trying to be a know it all punk. but, Your water cycles or the M.G. are not the reason for the new growth. Please don't get me wrong M.G. does assist healthy new growth, however your tree has hit a new growth stage for the following reasons.
Most deciduous trees and shrubs go dormant as a result of the following.
Temperature, or climate on the tree and the roots; the amount or hours of light received;the angle of the light and spectrum or color of the light.
Now when your Maple lost its leaves,or started to go dormant. The tree slowly shifted into this stage of growth,or should I say rest. When you brought the tree into your home,the following changes happened.
First: the temperature changed, your Maple surely thought it was spring again and a warm one at that. Second: the amount of light increased throwing your Maple back into a veg or growth stage. Also the lights in your home would probably light from above, rather than from the side, as the sun does in winter months. And lets not forget the M.G. Just added to the perfect climate and growth conditions for your Maple.
If you want the tree to go dormant again, do it slowly. first make sure the new growth is old enough to become some what woody. This will prevent winter kill to such young areas. place the tree in an area where you can control the climate. slowly cut the tree back on hours of light,type of light and angle
(switch from artificial to natural), and of course slowly drop the temp. Once it is dormant then gradually reintroduce it out doors.
If this all seems like to much of a hassle then keep it indoors and slowly re introduce it out side later next spring.
Just what ever you do, do not "stop watering,take it straight back out side, or what else was mentioned oh yeah rip all the leaves off by hand". yikes. I hope this helps you and your eager Maple tree. Best of luck.
T-N-J Trees.
KeyWee blog photos
Joined: 11/29/2006
Location: West Kentucky
Posts: 1803
Posted: Dec/19/2008 5:15 AM PST

You don't sound like a know-it-all punk, tnj ~ your advice is very helpful. I just hated to see this person's post go unanswered for so long (even though it looks like he never bothered to check back).
Hey, stripping my mature J-maple tree was the LAST thing I wanted to do ~ trust me! But it was advice I received here and it turned out to be valid. However, the circumstances were unusual in the extreme ~ early spring (March) temps into the 80's and 90's followed by a mid-April hard freeze lasting five days. Who wants or expects those crappy growing conditions? The hand-stripping was a torture to perform and I did it out of desperation. Fortunately, it worked. Just goes to show that all advice isn't all right all the time. Depends on a lot of things ~ that's why I love the give-n-take of info here on GG, and tend to steer a bit clear of DG (they speak way over my head).
tnjtrees photos
Joined: 6/07/2008
Location: Heyburn Idaho
Posts: 77
Posted: Dec/21/2008 4:40 PM PST

Oh that is totally understood. I can't imagine what you were going through watching all those leaves being ripped off and fall. But under those conditions as with all seveer conditions, that do some times happen extreem proceedures are required to save the life or health of the plant. most time it is sad to do but as you said some times it must be done.
KeyWee blog photos
Joined: 11/29/2006
Location: West Kentucky
Posts: 1803
Posted: Dec/22/2008 3:51 AM PST

Extreme is certainly the word, tnj! Do you know we are STILL losing trees in our woods due to that one bad season, which was compounded by a severe drought all the following summer? Obviously, I was unable to strip the dead and blackened leaves (ugly beyond belief) from the mature trees on our property. Some of them managed to leaf out again and push the dead leaves off. Some others have failed and died since then. Any idea how long this slow die-off process will last? We tend to get a lot of rain now and then close to nada in July and August.
It is nice to have a treeman on board again. We had one expert ages ago but he left under unhappy circumstances ~ it's good to have someone to ask that really knows
tnjtrees photos
Joined: 6/07/2008
Location: Heyburn Idaho
Posts: 77
Posted: Dec/31/2008 3:18 PM PST

What type of trees are they, Evergreens or are they hardwood trees. The way you describe the slow die off it sounds as if you might have borrer beatles. have you exammined the bark for tiny holes where borrers would have damaged the trees. I would suggest that if it is not borrers then surely they would have to have some type of desiese. In this case pictures would be verry helpful. Please do let me know what you find after looking the trees over real good.
Jared. T-N-J-Trees
KeyWee blog photos
Joined: 11/29/2006
Location: West Kentucky
Posts: 1803
Posted: Jan/01/2009 4:15 AM PST

I am talking about 12 acres of woods, Jared. They would be mostly nut trees ~ walnut, hickory, oak (very noisy on the roof in a windstorm). I don't think they have a disease, but then I am FAR from an expert. Let me have a closer look when I get out there today. Could the poor things be experiencing stress? What with that trauma in 07 and then two summers of drought, they are doing the best they can. These are some very mature trees ~ their height sometimes scares me. You could probably guess their age way better than me. We had one fall again this week. Here's how it fell ~ snapped off right at ground level. Isn't that some type of "collar" area?
You know, it's very easy to take mature trees for granted when you have so many as we do ~ like you always expect them to just BE there. Until you start to see loss. Before this, I never looked at trees as "gardening" ~ duh
tnjtrees photos
Joined: 6/07/2008
Location: Heyburn Idaho
Posts: 77
Posted: Jan/01/2009 1:35 PM PST

Key Wee:
I'm so sorry to hear about Your trees around your home. Some times, Not always but fairly often the trees in a forest or section of the forest will suffer ailments, disease, and even death around the same time for several different reasons:
1. When a fire, or logging and thinning crews clear trees out of an area of the forest. This allows new seedlings (either natural or hand planted) to receive exceptional growing conditions. If such conditions occurred around your area, say forty to seventy years ago then all the trees in that area would be reaching their life expectancy around the same time. Sad to say trees do not live forever.
2. Borer Beetles. Do not rule them out! There are hundreds of different species that will infest different varieties of trees, but remember that ANY tree that becomes stressed is susceptible to borer beetles. If this is the case, there isn't much you can do, unless you want to treat an entire forest.
3. Age. All trees have a life expectancy. Depending on their climate and environment, they may reach or exceed this age. It's difficult to determine the exact age of trees especially in forests, but if they are near the same age with the same climate and environment they will probably reach maturity and die around the same time.
4. Disease. Without pictures this is difficult to determine. There are literally thousands of diseases that infest trees. Thanks to mans intervention with mother nature in preventing forest fires, diseases are not destroyed by fire as they used to be. This causes problems with growth, weakness, and eventually death of the tree. As I said before, pictures would be extremely helpful, especially with the trees that have already fallen.
Please let me know what you discover upon closer examination.

Best of luck, Jared
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