Japanese Maples in Alabama?

bcb77(7b)March 22, 2006

Hi, I just ordered a JM from Spring Hill Nurseries website. I was wondering if anyone in Alabama has tips on taking care of it in our heat/humidity/clay soil? Is there anything special I need to know or consider before planting?



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hello bb,
i grow several that do fine here. depending on the cultivar, some can take full sun ('bloodgood','everred'?, maybe or other red-leaved cultivars) but most of them(especially the dissectums) do appreciate and look better in afternoon or filtered shade and particularly so if you plan to grow in containers. the leaves can scorch by summer if in too much sun.
i see many older specimens in my area (auburn) that are outstanding in form, size and fall coloration.
the soil at my place is more of a sandy loam so i can't comment on the clay soil issue but imagine it is not a problem if the shade and summer moisture factors are addressed.
where are you located?
if you are in the vicinity of tallapoosa county(walnut hill), there is a nice little japanese maple nursery there called millstone.
the owners are quite helpful and have a good selection of them.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 3:54PM
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squirrellypete(z7b AL)

Hi BB. I'm not an expert but I do have 3 different JMs. One Crimson Queen in full sun (3rd year) which looks beautiful all year. One that we think is Bloodgood in part shade which also does very well (2nd year). And a young 'Viridis' which gets afternoon sun. This will really be its first full growing season in my garden so I'll have to see how it does but so far so good.

Hope that helps. Squirrellypete

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 6:26PM
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roseyp8255(z8 - SC AL)

Jeff - where exactly in Tallapoosa COunty is millstone - walnut hill? I live in Elmore County - but not familiar with it - may need to check it out.

By the way - while i didn't make it, a friend made out like a bandit at the Kiwanis Plant Sale....

Thanks. Rosemary

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 9:20PM
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Thanks so much for all of your info. I am in the Alabaster area south of Bham.

I am also up on top of a hill and get LOTS of wind in the spring. We are in a new neighborhood and they have cleared out between the old growth hardwoods to build the houses. I am hoping the winds wont get the tree before it even has a chance to take root.

Do you think I should start it in a container and then transplant it later?

Also, I've heard they have a shallow root system that can extend 3x the dripline and are very close to the surface. Will this affect my new sod that was just planted last year? Here is a pic of my backyard:

I plan to put the tree in the natural area between those two trees toward the back of the corner. I don't know if this will help you answer my questions, but it's worth a shot.

Thanks again for your help!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 10:38PM
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you shouldn't have to worry about the root system of a japanese maple planted in that area. don't you plan to mulch around it anyway or keep it natural (no sod)?
they are not like large maples such as silver maples regarding the thick web of surface roots.
i would put it in the ground if that is where it will end up eventually. the reason i mentioned containers is because i do have a couple that are in pots simply because they are small specimens and slow growing ('red filligree lace') and it would just get lost in an area like that.
do you know which one you purchased?
hi rosey,
glad your friend found what she wanted at the plant sale.
many of them were reserved by the time i got there (i think some local landscapers bought large quantities of the camellias and native azaleas). i did get 'la peppermint' camellia and 'congo' evergreen azaleas.
the nursery is on hwy. 50 in walnut hill. you can't miss it. there is a large red barn adjacent to their home with a sign. mr. and mrs. paul lowe are the owners and he does his own grafting. they also have a few other plants but mostly maples. most of them will be priced around $25 - $30.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 9:30AM
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squirrellypete(z7b AL)

Hi Beth. Another suggestion -- if you're concerned about winds you will probably want to stake the tree for a few seasons or until you think the trunk is strong enough to withstand them. We live on top of a very windy hill too and the stakes have helped them a great deal. Depending on where you get them from they may already come with their own stakes attached to them in the pot.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 5:11PM
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Thanks so much for all of your info! I appreciate it.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 6:17PM
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