Inaba Shidare on my gritty mix

nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)February 24, 2013

My very first Japanese maple tree. Acquired last August this 2 ft. Inaba Shidare from lowes in Reno. Survived the hot Vegas summer but all leaves dried out by Nov. I know. Read lots on the matter and talked to the local nurseries. For sure its gonna be a long shot but I have to try. Had some new leaves when the first half of the leaves dried out. But they eventual all dried out. Just kept watering it during winter. Now I noticed bud swell so I transplanted to my version of gritty mix. Bare root by soaking and flushing with water. Trimmed a few long roots but entire root system was not a whole lot. Not root bound I guess. Take a look and tell me what you think.

I messed up today when I tried to wire the lead branch to go upright more---broke it. Not enough wire. Anyways, got mad and trimmed lots of small branch tips to make the entire tree compact and clean looking. Don''t think it will die but....Also was not sure but I also watered with 1 tsp/gal water of dyna gro 9-3-6 right after the repot and plan to do so. When the summer hits my drip emmitters will kick in to help with the 100+ temp to come.

Gritty mix was composed of Turface mvp, pine bark broken into small pieces by hand - 2 pliers (labor of love here), granite - decorative rock 1/8 screened on the spot where I got it -star nursery - they thought I was crazy panning for gold. Washed/rinsed everything before mixing well. Used 3 bark - 4 turface - 2 granite.

Only after pix. No before unfortunately. White spot on left side of tree was the candle melt to cover broken sorta lead branch area. Right side hoping to make the lead branch. One under it was cut to point energy to above branch for lead. Cut numerous tips to even out the lenght overall. I know its small anyways but what the hell. Thanks.

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nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)

More pix

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 2:26AM
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nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)

Another one

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 2:29AM
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nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)

Bark and granite

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 2:32AM
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nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)

The wife took a snap shot last August when we got the tree.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 3:49AM
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nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)

Wifes phone pix yesterday before todays branch screw up.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:01AM
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Your maple will certainly be happier in the gritty mix. Your back, not so much (I see you put it on wheels, that should help).

I'd remove the branch that's sticking up in photo 2. You want to get rid of any branches that are directed towards the inside of the tree.

Give us an update with pics when it leafs out.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Japanese maples are not evergreen so leaves drying out by November is not at all out of the ordinary :-) They should be going into - if not well into - dormancy at that time. Gritty mix is an ideal planting medium for containerized JM's so not worries there. But remove the stakes and ties - they are unnecessary in a container situation. And do not fertilize until the tree is fully in leaf. During its dormant period it requires no fertilization.

I'd go very easy with the pruning on this little guy - young laceleaf maples need virtually no pruning other than any crossing or conflicted branch issues. And forget about any "lead" branches - these types of trees do not develop a defined leader. If you want the tree to become taller - and there is a limit on how much height you can generate - use a stake (not wire) implanted into the container close to the trunk and gently guide and tie one of the uppermost stems to a more vertical position.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:02PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

How many hours of direct Vegas sun does that guy get? And is it morning or afternoon? Inaba Shidare can take a fair amount of shade (I have one that gets 3 hrs of direct sun) and in Vegas I'd try and limit direct sun to not more than 3 hours.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:27PM
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nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)

maplegrove - Will defintely post more pics later on. I might prune that branch next season...wanna see if it recovers first with all the torture I gave it few days ago.

gardengal48 - I know its deciduous. But comparing it to my flowering plum (last to fall), sand cherry and crape myrtles(first to fall) I was not sure if it was already dormant or not due to half of the leaves were dried out very early and the other half partly drying out but having a little color change. So it was hard to tell if it prematurely dried out due to the hot temps or if it has gone dormant.

I thought I saw some bud swell on a couple of tips which got cut out due to my above mentioned screw up. Hence the transplant and the fertilizer. Been using RO water, AC water and rain water ever since. But once the emitters start to go, very hard water will be introduced everyday and I don't know what effect it will have on the chemistry of the soil. (ph, calcium and magnisium) Not sure if its enough to just use the FP 9-3-6. I read some folks add a little vinegar for ph balance but thats impossible with the emitters. Also curious if the FP is enough fertilizer or should additional granule multipurpose fertilizer will help. But for now FP this will be the regimen.

Vegas valley gets very very windy many times a year. Even if the tree is inside our mini courtyard, there is substantial wind passing through it at times. I find it necessary to secure the tree particularly after bare rooting it and transplanting to the gritty mix. From what I read, the more stable the tree is - no movement - the faster the roots can start adapting and growing into the new soil media. It does not hurt the tree anyways.

Yeah, I am done pruning this guy. I know I went nuts.

tsugajunkie - Our courtyard opening gets the southern exposure but there is a house very close beside us so it gets the 9:30 am - 1 pm direct sun - at the most. I was thinking of putting it on the west side of the house, but that spot I want it in gets no direct sun at all. Still debating, but for now this is its home.

I appreciate you guys giving time to comment. I value your experience for I am totally new to maples and container planting. Thanks a lot. Will update as soon as I get any sign of progress.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:03AM
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I grow all my maples in containers and I live at the beach so wind is a fact of life :-) I still would not stake a containerized plant, bareroot or new, newly replanted or not. Actually, root development occurs more rapidly with the flexxing an unstaked plant allows as well as better trunk development. Staking of inground trees is even discouraged unless in extreme cases and for no more than a single growing season at most. It is just an out-of-favor, discontinued practice for the most part.

You will need to counteract the hard/alkaline water conditions to some degree if you wish this tree to thrive. If you cannot supplement the emitter irrigation with an acidifed/softened water, then suggest you fertilize with a dilute acidic fertilizer (like Miracid/Miracle Gro for Acid Lovers) rather than the Foliage Pro.

FWIW, I use a slow release fertilizer (Osmocote) on all my containerized maples at the beginning of the season as they begin to leaf out and then supplement once or twice later during the season with a dilute liquid.......typically some sort of blue water product. It is hard to over-fertilize when using a high quality timed release product like Osmocote so I generally err on the side of less liquid supplementation -- over fertilizing is far more harmful to the plant than under fertilizing.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:32PM
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nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)

gardengal48 - Thanks, those stakes are not permanent ..I will eventually remove it. I got a 10 lb. bag of osmocote indoor/outdoor at HD for 13 bucks. Plan to use it on my other potted plants first and stick with FP on the maple.

Its been a month since and I have some good news. Leaves are coming out. It looks like I did not kill it yet. lol.

Since I am still on the experimental stage....I sprinkled several tbsp. of powder gypsum on top today and watered with (my first batch) a 5 gal mixture of 1 heaping tsp of epsom salt, 3 tsp. of foliage pro 9-3-6 (half strength of the weekly dose) and 4 tsp. of vinegar in tap water that sat for 24 hrs before use. I might lower FP to 2 tsp.

Even though the gurus say that gypsum and epsom salt is not necessary if using FP, I decided to add it on anyway just to make sure a good amount of mg/ca is readily available. This way I can choose to use osmocote (buried inside the gritty not sprinkled on top) anytime and not to worry of any deficiency. We'll see what happens this month with this regimen. Till next month.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:28PM
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nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)

closer shot

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:30PM
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nitely2(9A, Las Vegas, NV)

left angle

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:32PM
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No need to overthink the fertilzing :-) I feed my collection of containered JM's only Osmocote and they thrive. If you have a hard or alkaline water supply, buffering your irrigation water with vinegar is a great idea.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 2:31PM
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