How fast does Bloodgood grow?

ajwillys(7B-8)April 13, 2007

I just recently bought a small Bloodgood that I love. It's currently about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. I want to plant it in a spot that is only about 6 feet from the corner post of the porch. I know they can get big, is this a terrible idea? Can I leave it here for a few years and then move it once it starts to mature or should I just put it somewhere else and get a smaller cultivar for this spot? This particular tree's trunk is split near the bottom so I think it might even grow wider. Here's a picture of where I want to put it. It's actual location would be in the center of the planter bed.

PS. The planter itself is a work in progress

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They put on about a foot per year of new growth depending on conditions. Lots of watering and a little fertilizer and they can probably get 2 feet per year, but I would recommend trying to avoid this as it decreases the beauty of the limb structure. It will be mostly upright growth until the tree is over 15 feet tall though. After that, it should start to widen significantly.

You are looking at a 25 or 30 foot tree one IMO that wouldn't be a bad location for it if you pruned it up a little (I like a shady garden with many trees overhead).

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 10:41PM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

#1...BG as well as any upright standard JM cultivar can get big mine are probably 8 years old and are 10+ ft tall and really depends on your soil wether and growing conditions #2 you can fairly easily trim a BG to keep it from encroaching on your porch...but it may look odd depending on your abilities...and I have seem them at banks and commercial buildings and the vase shape does not do them justice IMHO but that is a personal thing . #3 moving an established JM can be a big job depending on how big it grows the root ball could be very large in 4-5 years I personally would not entertain this idea with any enthusiasm as you will likely be sorry if you plant it with eventual moving as your best option. #4 I would either extend the drain spoat way past the front of the tree or not place it too close ( can't tell from pic) ...that looks like a disaster ( for the tree) waiting to happen. #5 To sum up your question it is doable but in no way ideal ...if you want a Jm in that spot there are many other smaller JM trees that would work better ( smaller dissectums for example ) for that space although 6 feet is not alot of room and some might also involve a bit of trimming but likely would never need moving...david

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 10:47PM
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Thanks everyone for the opinions! They are very helpful. If I was to entertain the notion of putting something else here, what should I put? I'm looking for something that would be red all year, not overtake the porch, grow about 8-10 feet tall and 6 feet wide or so, and work well in afull sun location in North Carolina.

David, I plan on capping the drain spout and using black drain tile pipe to spread the water out underneath the planter. Thanks for the heads up though.

I guess I was thinking that if this thing was getting out of hand in a few years that I would be able to recognize it in time to move it to the backyard. I guess the root ball could get pretty big. I think my main issue is, I'm not sure I'll even be in this house in 10 years so I don't really want to put a tree there that's going to be a shrimp for five more years and I certainly can't afford to buy an 'established' JM from the JM tree farm around here.

One more question:
I can't tell if you can see well from the pic, but this tree has two main leaders that split off to the left and right and then one smaller one that goes off perpendicular to that. Could I orient this tree so that those trunks point away from the house and use that to push the growth out towards the lawn or do they just not grow that way? In case you can't tell, I really want to put this tree there but my more rational side is starting to tell me not to.

I'm thinking that I would one day like it to look like the tree below. It's a bloodgood from the same farm I got this one from.
The Japanese Maple Tree Farm

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 10:24AM
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I'm not sure that rotating it to grow in a certain direction will work too well. However, that along with some careful pruning could help.

In 10 years or so this tree will likely be bigger than 8-10 ft high. It will probably be about 15 ft high and at least 6 ft wide (although based on the shape I'd say more like 8 feet wide).

I guess you just have to make a personal choice about that, because it will get 25 ft high and almost as wide in 30 years or so. I personally don't see that as a bad problem in that spot (except that the planter is too close to the house and the tree should be planted at least 7 ft from it, about 10 ft being ideal unless you wanted a lopsided tree). I plan to plant some of my trees in places like that, although they will likely be dwarfer forms than a huge 'bloodgood'.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 2:15PM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

One more quick thought advised that even Bloodgoods will green out in the summer you won't likely get season long least that is my experience ...maybe in areas where the sun is not hot and bright but NC is hot in summer in most place ( I think). That in no way belittles that tree or your decision but I did not have a single red keep it's red color all summer brightly... some more than others but all greened or bronzed out older and younger trees...not that there is anything wrong with that ;>)...David

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 5:36PM
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Alright guys, you convinced me. I guess this tree will be going in the back yard then. Maybe I'll get a nice container and keep it on the porch for a year or two.... Anyways, what would you recommend for this spot. As said before, I'm looking for something that would be red all year (or as much as possible), not overtake the porch which is 6 feet from that corner post, grow about 8-10 feet tall and 6 feet wide or so, and work well in a full sun location in North Carolina. I'll have drip irrigation so hopefully that will help with the full sun location. I've recently looked into a Shaina and I like the growth of it.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 7:54PM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

Shaina good choice!!! david

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 8:23PM
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Shaina will be much bushier in form than Bloodgood. It retains its red color very well in summer.

If you want the Bloodgood color and form in a smaller tree, you might want to try Fireglow. I've seen varying reports on its ultimate size, but most sites seem to say it will grow to about 12' in height. It's supposed to handle heat and sun better than most.

Another nice maple that won't get too large is Shin deshogo. It starts out brilliant red in spring but gradually turns to green in summer. However, all new growth is red, and it turns bright red again in the fall. It's supposed to grow about 8-10' max.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 11:57AM
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About the fireglow...I think it will eventually get much larger than what you are looking for. From what I can tell in comparing 'fireglow' to 'bloodgood', it is almost as vigorous and there are trees at the nursery that are only about 12 to 15 years old and are at least 10 ft (however they may have been overfertilized. 'Moonfire' is another tree in that category that supposedly stays below 15 ft. By comparing its growth habit to that of 'fireglow' and 'bloodgood', I'd say it will stay about half the size in the same amount of time.

A 'pixie' might be another option that will remain much smaller than 'bloodgood' but with a similar tree shape (some say it is a 10 ft tree but it will get a bit larger). I love 'shaina' but it is more like a bush than a small tree, but both will have similar colors and stay quite small.

As dawgie said, 'shin deshojo' is a wonderful option as well, it will put most anything else to shame in spring. However, I'd be a little worried about placing it in full sun in our hot southeast summers (drip irrigation or not). It is in the pinkish red category which contains many cultivars (such as 'chishio', 'beni maiko', 'beni fushigi', etc) that are a bit more tender than the atropurpureum group.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 8:59PM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

I personally think a larger bush type JM would be perfect there and solve AJ's problem so i still think shaina is perfect...the Pixie is also a good choice..mine did get especially hit hard by the freeze but AJ won't have that problem it should do nicely there...for a beginner I think any smaller BG type tree is best ...I'd stay away from any of those other fancier trees that can be a bit more finiky David

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:48PM
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I've grown Shin deshogo in a container, in full sun, for about three years now and it is doing fine. It seems to hold up better in the sun and heat than just about any of my Japanese maples. Shaina holds up well in the heat too. Ironically, my Emperor -- which is supposed to be heat and sun tolerant -- seems to burn easier than all of my maples.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 11:06PM
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Wow!! Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions. I've looked at ALOT of trees over the last few days but I'm still not 100% sure what I want. I thinking I'm leaning away from the Shaina now though. I want something that will allow me to put plants underneath the tree and I don't think Shaina is well suited for that. I was liking the Fireglow but am now worried it also will grow too tall/wide.

I really like the shape and color of the BG I attached to this thread but need something that will max out around 10 feet high and 10 feet spread. Has anyone else had a Fireglow for awhile and have some definitive answers as to height and also how long it takes to get there. If the max is 12-15, then I feel like I could prune where necessary to keep it at a manageable size. I don't want a tree I have to hack up to keep off the house, but I don't mind doing a little pruning here and there.

What does everyone think? As David mentioned, I am very much a beginner.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 9:06AM
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I'd still suggest 'pixie' for what you described. It will hold its color fairly well through most of summer (perhaps not quite as well as 'bloodgood' or 'fireglow', but it will have a similar growth habit being more treelike rather than shrubby. The leaves are a bit more bunched than the larger varieties, which makes the appearance a bit more dense along the limbs. Other than that, it is a half sized version of 'bloodgood'.

If dawgie says the 'shin deshojo' will take the sun, then it would be a good choice too. It will have a tree shape more than a shrub as well.

Another option would be 'red pygmy', it has good red color holding almost as well as 'bloodgood'. It has ribbonlike leaves and looks somewhat like red bamboo. It should have the treelike shape you are looking for and be around the correct size. 'Beni ubi gohan', 'Hubb's red willow', and 'beni otake' are similar (although I've heard conflicting information on the size of 'beni otake').

'Okagami', 'Oshu shidare', and my personal favorite upright red 'tsukushigata' are some others that you might consider.

Perhaps its not what you are looking for but what about a dissectum such as 'red dragon' or something similar, they should stay small enough for what you are looking for. They would require some careful pruning for underplanting though.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 7:14PM
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I think I've decided to go with the Fireglow. Some of the other options I just couldn't find good pictures on and wasn't 100% sure of their size. Now I just need to find a good one. Does anyone recommend anywhere online or if you happen to be in the area(Raleigh, NC). I've found one at a nursery here that's about 5.5 feet tall and is $130. That seems like a good deal but is more than I wanted to spend. It also seems like it rather mature. If I bought a 2 footer online for around $50, does anyone know how long it would take to be 5-6 feet tall? I suppose I could just drop the cash, but since I already bought the Bloodgood that didn't work out, I'm not dying to drop a bunch more. I still have other plants to buy!

Oddly enough, we have a Japanese Maple Farm in the area (where I bought the BG) but they only stock 4-5 varieties.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 9:43AM
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I think you made the right choice with Fireglow based on what you are looking for. I share your frustration about the mixed information on the sizes of Japanese maples, but most sources say that Fireglow will be much smaller in size than Bloodgood, Emperor and other upright reds. If you find that the tree is growing faster or larger than you want, you can always root-prune it.

I live in Raleigh. The nurseries with the best selections of Japanese maples here seem to be Homewood on Hunnicutt Road, Atlantic Avenue Garden Center, and Logans downtown (sometimes). The Japanese Maple farm on NC 98 (just east of Six Forks Road intersection) has very good prices for larger trees, but their selection in the past has been limited. Some other nurseries in the Triangle that I haven't visited but supposedly carry lots of JMs include Architectural Trees off Bahama Road and Unique Plants in Chapel Hill/Durham area. Sometimes the big box stores (Lowes and Home Depot) carry varieties such as Fireglow, but it's hit-or-miss and their plants are often poor quality unless they just received a shipment. Also, it might be worth a trip out to the wholesale nurseries off Old Stage Road near Angier. It's a fair drive out there but their prices are really cheap for high quality plants. Finally, it's worth checking the State Farmer's Market off Lake Wheeler Drive as some of the vendors in the past had nice JMs for sale.

Home Depot had some very nice Fireglows in one-gallon pots a couple years ago for about $25-30 and I could kick myself for not buying one then, as I've never them there again.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 12:38PM
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. I called several places and many had one. I'm thinking of getting a 3 gallon at Homewood for $70. Does this seem like the appropriate price. I haven't looked at them yet. Most other places had much larger, more expensive trees.

I was thinking of going to the wholesale nurseries for some of my other plants since I live in Holly Springs anyways but I didn't know that would be a good place for JM's. I was told nothing is labeled and you have to know what you are looking for. I don't think I could spot a Fireglow among a bunch of red JM's. Scratch that, I know I couldn't. I'll try to get around to checking out the farmers market next time I can.

Thanks so much for all the great places. I'm very new to gardening of any kind and I don't know where to find anything.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 4:56PM
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That 3 gal at $70 seems very reasonable assuming it is about the size of the 'bloodgood' you have now or a bit larger.

Be sure to check for anything that looks suspicious when picking your tree, particularly the trunk. Most people just look at the foliage but I think the trunk will give you a better idea of the quality of tree.

Look out for dark patches and dieback as this could be disease, and check the graft to make sure it looks good since many understocks are oversized which makes the trunk look odd.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 9:25PM
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The Fireglow for $70 at Homewood is probably a very fair price. Their plants are generally very healthy and excellent stock. I live near them, and they are a very nice, family run nursery with lots of staff to help customers.

The Tarheel Nursery on Old Stage Road had some excellent Japanese maples a couple of years ago, and a broad selection of them. I bought a Shaina for $25 that would have cost $75-100 at most nurseries in that size. Last year, however, their selection was much more limited. Tarheel is located right across the road from Broadwells, which is probably the one you heard about where most everything is unlabeled. Tarheel had most of their JMs right near their parking area by the road, and they all seemed to be labeled, plus the owner hangs around out there.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 10:48PM
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So AJ, did you buy a Fireglow? I stopped at Homewood yesterday, and they have a wide selection of very nice Japanese maples right now. Saw some other nice redleaf varieties that shouldn't get too large, in addition to Fireglow, including Lionheart, Beni otake. They also had some varieties you don't normally see in nurseries around here, such as Mikawa yatsubusa, Aureum and Autumn Moon.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:11AM
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Dawgie, yes I did buy a Fireglow at Homewood. I still haven't got it in the ground yet since I'm still working on the bed, but it is an absolutely beautiful tree. When I got there, the $70 trees looked kinda small so I walked the entire place (they spread 'em out so much) and found a gorgeous Fireglow that was about 5.5' tall and was oversized for the size pot it was in. I got it for $130 and couldn't be happier. I'm thinking (could be wrong) that it is about to the point where vertical growth will slow down and will begin spreading out. I'm really excited to see how this tree grows. Now I got my Bloodgood in the ground in the backyard (still looks great) and my Fireglow will hopefully be going into the front yard this weekend.

I'll try to post some pictures when I'm done. Thanks again for all the help everyone. You saved me from making a big mistake and I got two trees out of the deal. Now I'm hooked, but my wife has cut me off for awhile. Maybe next season....

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:54AM
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Sounds like you did well. I noticed the same thing about the prices for various size trees. The ones priced about $120 or so seemed like the best value for the size.

Since you posted your message, I've been noticing the sizes of Bloodgoods in people's yards around N. Raleigh, and I've seen quite a few that are 15-20' or even taller. The Bloodgood would definitely had gotten larger than than you preferred for that spot.

I've made the mistake many times of planting trees or shrubs that grow too large for a spot. I planted a Weeping Yaupon holly in front of my house, thinking it would only grow 8-10' tall, and it's grown at least 25' tall already. Same problem with some of my crepe myrtles.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 1:04PM
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