What should i chose and advice for viridis?

supermaxFebruary 19, 2008

Hi all

Some background...I live in Johannesburg south africa, probably the most un-maple friendly climate to have a love for the little trees!! We have very hot summers that can be extremely wet. Hot during the day, heavy downpours in the afternoon and evening.Around March, which is our late summer we go into rain mode and it can rain non stop for two weeks, we then have sunny mild dry winters.It gets cold at night. I have had a viridis now for a year and half,this tree has driven be round the bend, but i'm determined to see it through, last year the heat scorched the leaves and the damp from the rain nearly killed it. I re-potted, changed the soil mix and added a lot of perlite, and moved it to a shadier location. In spring we had the most beautiful new growth and I did a little maple-god dance around the pot.

We are now in the middle of summer, and the rains have come early, it's not happy once again, leaves are turning yellow and falling off, soil is just too damp and it's showing the same stress that it showed last year albeit a little later this time. I know I'm fighting against the climate but

1) any suggestions as to what i can do to keep this tree looking better throughout summer and

2) any maples are really hard to come by here and pretty expensive. I have come across a collector who lives in Cape town (different weather, closer to Europe weather) and is selling a Inazuma, a Beni maiko and a Bloodgood that he root stocked. My heart is yelling....run...break the bank buy one quick, you'll never get this chance again, my head is saying, you can barely keep one alive, what are you thinking!!! If I take one, I can only take one, considering the conditions, is there one of these three that might be a good bet? or should I just throw in the towel and look at pretty pictures of them on the internet?

Thanks to all


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Well I can't really say for sure whether or not you should take the chance of trying another, but I think if you did, Bloodgood would be your best bet. If it is true to form it will give you the most show of the group for the longest time, but it can get a bit large (20 feet or more if it survives).

It does help if you give them a better start by preparing the soil before damage has occurred. Many root rot fungi thrive in the wet conditions, particularly when night time temperatures are warmer. And once they have started doing damage, it is very difficult to turn things around. If it was simply a matter of oxygen getting cut off to the roots, it will be less difficult to revive the tree. As for the heat we generally get several weeks of 95 degree F temperatures in summer and our trees survive (although barely). Much more than this and they may survive but the chances decline quickly. I will also mention that the Bloodgood will tolerate a bit more sun than Viridis (or any other dissectum), but will still need afternoon shade especially in the heat.
I'll also mention that if you help keep your tree lightly moist during the dry season (not during the dormant months), it will help it adjust to the wet season later. Maples don't like drastic changes from dry to wet. If you keep your tree mounded high above the natural soil surface with loose well drained soil, you may find that the wet season gives it just the right level of moisture. However, additional watering will definetaly be needed during the dry season.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 6:08PM
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I think you can do it. With one maple, you can control almost everything. A couple questions. How big a pot is it in? Are you using a clay pot (which would help with the excess moisture)? If it were me, I would build a portable "roof" to put over it during periods of wet weather. Virdis can take quite a bit of shade, too. It's really pretty rugged, for a dissectum, I mean, you made a good choice. Oh, one other thing, can you get it into a bark mixture, rather than the perlite? I think you might find the bigger chunks, along with a clay pot might make it a little easier. Then only when you are really deluged with rain, use a little roof thing.

I would agree, go with a Bloodgood. Not only is it pretty easygoing, the contrast between the two would look nice.
Kay Dye

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 7:41AM
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Thanks so much for your replies. Bloodgood it is then!

I'll wait for winter dormancy before I'll re-pot the viridis (again), I'm happy to try a bark mixrure and see if that helps. The pot it's in now is clay, it's about 18 inches wide and 10 inches deep. It sits under a small dense tree at the moment which provides for quite a bit of shade but not enough protection from the rain. This pot is too heavy for me to move around, but if I could move it into a smaller pot I would be able of moving it under the patio when it rains. The tree is only a baby and about 20 inches high, how small could I go in pot size?? Thanks a mil for your help.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 3:02AM
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When you do repot, I think your pot is a little big. I looked at my 20" tall maples and the clay pots they're in are 12" in diameter and 9" tall. I've killed many with pots too big or plastic pots and a heavier mix. We get periods of heavy rain in spring sometimes, but nothing like yours. Even in the ground last year I had a stretch of rain in the summer and both of my A.palm.'Filigree' dropped leaves like crazy and the ones that stayed on had brown edges. I didn't realize for years how important drainage was.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 9:04AM
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