Damaged Sango Kaku, what should I do now?

PacNWbalconyGrowerAugust 23, 2013

Hey guys! Second post ever on these forums. I came seeking advice. My first post was over in the Bamboo forum. Now, it's the Japanese Maple's turn.

So, I live in downtown Portland, Oregon. I live on the side of a hill where my balcony faces East. My balcony gets direct sunlight from sunrise until 1-2PM. I bought my Sango Kaku from Home Depot about 2 years ago now. I love it. She's my baby.

However, around the end of June and beginning of July I went through some traumatic life events and my Maple went unwatered for two weeks, maybe even three. This is after previous issues I had with aphids and ants and that was one big ordeal, but once I killed the ants, the aphids were easy to get rid of. The tree returned to really good health until this drought it went through.

Literally every single leaf turned brown and crispy. I panicked, watered and fertilized the hell out of it. I later learned that I should not have fertilized it. But I continued watering it for about two weeks hoping the leaves would regain life and turn green again. They didn't. So I scratched the bark a little and it was green and alive underneath so I had hope the tree was still alive.

So I tried an experiment and removed all the dead leaves but only on the bottom portion of the tree just in case that was something I shouldn't do. I continued to water like normal and low and behold...perfectly healthy leaves began to grow. So then I removed the remainder of the leaves and actually mixed all of them into the top 2-3" of the soil to create like a mulch. This was maybe two weeks ago now, however, no new leaves emerging as quick as the ones beneath showed up. The leaves on the bottom are developing great.

So I'm very happy that I didn't kill the tree but I'm wondering where I should go from here? Should I trim branches? Should I wait longer? Should I fertilize it? Any Japanese Maple experts out there have any advice for a novice like me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks much. :)

Here's my tree...

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Close-up of new growth

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:30PM
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Congrats on your tree living for you.
First off, I would remove that grass you have planted in the pot. I think your tree, if it lives til next spring, deserves a bigger pot that is wide on the top so it can spread out a little more.
I think that pot is too small for the size of your tree.
You have to be diligent in watering your jap mple if you pot it like that.
You should be fine, just water the tree a couple times a week if it doesn't rain for you.
No fertilizing, just water a couple times a week.
Next spring, BEFORE it leafs out, transplant into bigger pot.
Don't touch it, just water.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Agree with butterfly... that grass is taking up a lot of the space for roots for your maple. I would also not trim anything until after new growth comes out and hardens, maybe end of June next year, but definitely repot, and go to the maples (and Bonsai) forums and read up on granular soil mixes. Dirt is not a good medium to grow trees for any length of time (in a pot). You have the right exposure for the tree to do well. There are methods of watering for when you're away for a bit. Also, read up on root pruning when you transplant. It is a big deal for trees that will live entirely in a pot.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 11:57AM
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