Planting two Red maples ( October Glory )

bilgeratMay 25, 2007

My neighbor is going to give me two red maples that his daughter needs to remove to make a bigger driveway. He doesn't know how old they are, but says they are about 10 feet tall. We will be digging up and planting these trees ourselves. I want to put them in my front yard, to shade my driveway and house, which get baked by the sun for a major part of the day. My house faces SW is a split foyer, and is about 50 feet from the road. I'm not sure how far from the house and driveway to plant these trees to get the maximum amount of shade. the driveway is on the western (left) side of the house (when your facing the house). If anybody has any experience or expertise in this area, I sure would appreciate any info you can give me. Also any planting hints would be helpful, as these are the first trees I've ever tried to plant. I'm not so sure that this is the best time to be planting trees, but I don't have alot of choice. She needs to remove the trees by monday. Thanks in advance for any help. Bill

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You won't be able to move established red maples very easily at this time of the year, 10-ft.-high ones easily at any time - that's a fairly big tree to dig up with shovels or spades and move with a wheelbarrow or tarp. If bare-rooted in winter so that there was minimal weight they might not be that tough to handle, but dug now with soil balls they will be heavy. And even then they will still almost certainly wilt and shrivel once the roots beyond the size of the balls are cut. They might survive if kept liberally watered all summer, maybe even sprout some new leaves later in the season. But chances are they will look terrible for some time and may even just die. You certainly won't be able to shift their existing full canopies over from their lot to yours, like moving patio umbrellas around. Probably much better to buy entirely new trees of your own.

At midday in mid-July a tree will shade little more than the area directly beneath it. If you want natural air-conditioning for a structure or other space that will be in effect at that time you will need to plant something that will grow to reach at least partway over it. And you will have to wait some years for it to reach adequate size, even if you start out with a large, expensive specimen brought in on a truck or trailer and planted with a tree spade and backhoe (spade-dug planting holes should not be used). Also keep in mind that paving in the vicinity of medium- to large-growing trees may become lifted or cracked by the roots near their trunks.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 5:15PM
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indylars(Indianapolis 5)

I would hire a professional to do this. They have the proper equipment to do this type of work with less stress to the trees.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 10:44AM
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Thanks for the input guys. I don't have time to hire a profesional, and the trees are going to be dug up and tossed anyway, if I don't take them. So I'm going to take a shot at planting them. I really don't have any thing to lose, except a days labor, and two holes to fill, if they dont make it. I'm thinking that about 25'- 30' from the house, and 10'- 15' from the driveway should be good. I've read alot about planting trees the last couple of days, like dig a hole 2-3 times larger than the root ball, not to bury the trunk flair, and keep it sufficiently watered. But I ran into differing opinions on fertilizing. So I'm a little confused on that issue. But again thanks for the replies, I do appreciate it. Bill

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 8:24AM
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Since they're going to be thrown away, what the heck.

Bboy is right IMHO, it's tough to move trees that big this time of year. However, it can be done.

Your reading up on this stuff is good and you have a good idea of what to do.

I always mix a little bonemeal in the soil put back into the hole to aid root development. It's mild stuff that won't burn the roots. Maybe a couple of handfulls per hole? You get the idea.

Also, put some wood chips over a light sprinkling of compost or composted manure around the tree on top of the soil. Not alot, maybe a half inch of compost and 3 inches of wood chips.

Other than that, keep up the watering, but remember what bboy said. It might end up being a "fruitless endeavor".

Good luck and don't forget to take some aspirin for your sore muscles!!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 10:15AM
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What I have found helpful in situations like this is thinning out the foliage a little so the roots which will be reduced substantially will be able to keep up with the demands of the tree for moisture.

If there are same lower limbs you plan to remove, do that now. If there are two branches growing close together, remove the smaller one. If any branches cross each other, remove the smaller one. If the tree has anything that is like a double top or leader, remove one. finally, if the foliage is dense in the interior of the tree, carefully and selectively thin it out a bit. If you can remove 30 to 40% of the foliage in this kind of careful way, you won't hurt the appearance of the tree, but you will make its survival more likely.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 9:47AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Top reduction actually reduces root growth after planting by reducing amount of food that can be used to grow new roots. Trees are organisms, with integrated systems - just like us. Loss of a leg is not assisted by cutting off an arm. Regarding the adding of bone meal to planting holes

Bone meal supplies high levels of phosphorus and calcium, elements that are rarely limiting in
non-agricultural soils.
 Phosphorus, from bone meal or other sources, does not "stimulate" plant growth; it is only a
mineral, not a plant growth regulator.
 High levels of phosphorus, from bone meal or other sources, will inhibit growth of mycorrhizal
 Without mycorrhizal partners, plants must put additional resources into root growth at the
expense of other tissues and functions.
 Before you add any supplementary nutrients to your landscape, have a complete soil test
performed first.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 10:29PM
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Oh, I've read many things by Linda Chalker/Scott. I... well, I just better not comment.

Ask Dr. Elaine Ingham what she thinks of Scott. LOL!!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 10:57PM
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I might add in your endeavor that it wouldn't hurt to add a few bags of peat when backfilling your hole while planting. It will help in water retention. I just planted a 12' 3" diameter balled and burlapped Red Maple this Spring. My Father In Law is a farmer by trade and swears by this method. (And yes his trees are amazing now, 30 years later and were much bigger than yours when planted. He planted them in Mid July!)
1.) Take a screwdriver or stick and place in the center of lawn where you wish the center of the tree to be. Tie a 6' long string to it and measure out the radius. Remove all the sod to make a nice neat circle.
2.) Dig your hole (Check out "planting videos", this will explain this part)
3.) What my Father in Law did with ours was place the tree in the hole and put a thick layer of peat, then a layer of soil you dug up, water heavily and get in there with a pair of boots and trod around lightly but firmly around the entire diameter of the root ball to make sure there are no air pockets. Repeat, repeat, repeat until the hole is completely backfilled. The consistency of the soil was like a very thick quicksand when we finished. But it does dry quickly. Make sure, I emphasize make sure, the tree is not planted too deep. Maybe even make a mark on the trees before you dig them to where the tree met the soil in the original site. Cover with mulch or wood chips making sure to leave about 4 inches or so from the trunk and slow hose water (a slow trickle) every few days depending on the conditions for about 1/2 hour. Keep in mind the tree only has about 25% of its roots now that it used too.
Good luck and if it helps motivate you, we spent $280.00 on our tree! It is alot of work. It took me two nights after work just to get the hole ready so figure on 4 days just in preparation. It is so worth it though, and very rewarding. Maybe the 6' ring was a bit excessive but we have very poor soil so we wanted to make sure the tree had lots of mulch to make better soil for the roots to spread in.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 12:02AM
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jimkw(5 - Mid Ohio)

That would be a 12' circle if you have a 6' radius. Seems like a dogone big hole to me?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 8:23AM
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Yes, in general that is true. But if the tree is severely stressed and wilting badly, I don't think the full foliage will help it grow roots. The tree will simply die.

Anyway, we have had this discussion several times before, but I post this just to say so others understand that we have long since agreed to disagree on this issue.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:13AM
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You know, that was the reason it was such a pain in the a** to dig that hole. You are entirely correct, it was a 12' diameter ring. Sorry all! You should have seen my wife's face when she saw it! It' been about a month now and we are used to it and the mulch ring adds a nice bit of formality and a bit of the "specimen tree" look in the front yard of to our rural property. My logic was that it wouldn't hurt and we basically live in a gravel pit, soil wise. Believe it or not, we have absolutely beautiful Sugar Maples that are huge. There must be something underneath the gravel and rocks. It used to be an orchard. Anyway.... I went a bit (well ok a lot) excessive because I wanted to make sure it would have a good chance of thriving. (plus at $280.00 plus delivery I wanted to have some extra "insurance" and it is an awesomely beautiful tree!) The hole itself was not 12' wide. It was saucer shaped and only about 24" deep at the center where the root ball was. I figured if the trees were going to have a tough time of surviving for bilgerat, go the extra length to help them make it.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 11:43PM
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Thanks again for all the advice. I got both trees planted on Monday (Memorial Day), I dug The holes about 36" in diameter and about 12" deep. I had to fill in the holes a little to keep the trunk flair above the surface. I watered them heavily the day of planting, and put a couple of coils of soaker hose around them all day the next day. They look great so far, no noticeable wilting yet. I did trim some small lower branches, they were more like suckers than branches(2"-4" long), and top dressed them with some compost from my backyard bins. It's been very sunny and in the mid to high eighties this week, so for the time being I figure I'll put the soaker hose around them every other day. I want to keep them well watered, but don't want to over do it. I didn't stake them because I've heard that will prevent them from growing strong trunks. I guess I'll just keep my fingers crossed, and hope for the best now. If anybody has ant thoughts on the watering and staking of newly planted trees, I'm open to suggestions Bill

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 3:03AM
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As for staking--the only reason to stake a newly planted tree is to keep it from blowing over. If you think that if you had a bad thunderstorm, the winds could uproot this tree, I would stake it. I say "better safe than sorry." Some people say staking will keep a tree from growing a strong trunk--well, that seems a bit strange to me. If a tree is staked for a few months, I can't see it making any difference. The tree will blow in the wind for years and years afterwards and I don't think it being staked for a short time will keep it from developing a strong trunk like any other tree.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 1:05PM
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I do much like you do Spruceman when it comes to staking but it seems like we're old and outdated somewhat? LOL!

Good luck with the trees Bill.

Bboy, I pasted a study with mycorrhizae, bonemeal, etc. Although, what Scott can be construed as possibly being correct, the "myth" conclusion by her is vastly overstated IMHO.

She might be correct, but I have serious doubts over the long term.


Mycorrhizal inoculation of organically grown tomato plants

Siri Caspersen
Department of Horticulture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 55, SE- 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden

Improvement of plant nutrient uptake and protection against root pathogens by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) might contribute to a reduced utilization of soluble fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture and horticulture. For organic cultivation of glasshouse crops, regulation of nutrient supply and of the balance between nutrients is a major challenge. Common nutrient sources are green and animal manures together with plant and animal residues from the food industry. The recommended soil nutrient levels for glasshouse cultures are gerally high and based on easily available nutrients extracted by water or weak acids. Thus, for P in particular, luxury levels are common in the soil and the risk of P leakage is evident.

When tomatoes are cultivated organically in the same soil for consecutive years, root pathogens may also become a problem. Root colonisation by mycorrhizal fungi in combination with the use of slowly soluble P- sources might be desirable both for bioprotection against root diseases and for a reduced risk of P leakage. However, establishment of mycorrhizal root colonisation is difficult due to the normally high soil P concentrations in combination with a widespread use of peats, which have a low P- fixing capacity, for pH regulation and for soil structure improvement. The aim of the presented work was to investigate the influence of organic and slowly soluble fertilizers and of inoculation with AMF on mycorrhizal root colonisation and on plant growth and nutrient uptake of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Delito) plants grown until planting stage (six weeks after sowing) in soil- or peat- based substrates.

In sterilized soil: sand (1: 1, v: v) amended with apatite and bonemeal, we observed a strong plant growth response to inoculation with an isolate of Glomus intraradices. Plant growth was lower and the mycorrhizal response stronger in pots where the slowly soluble Psource apatite was added alone in comparison with pots where apatite and bone meal were added together. Mycorrhizal root colonisation and sporulation were reduced by the addition of bone meal. The positive response of plant growth and nutrient uptake to mycorrhizal inoculation in the soil: sand was probably related to an increased P uptake of the mycorrhizal plants.

The effects of inoculation with Glomus intraradices (BEG87) and addition of bone meal and/ or blood meal were investigated for tomato plants grown in a substrate containing mineral soil and peat (4: 1, v: v). Root mycorrhizal colonisation was high (60- 80%) in pots containing either bone meal or blood meal or none of them. When both fertilizers were present, however, AM fungal colonisation was reduced. Inoculation with G. intraradices increased shoot dry weight in comparison with the uninoculated plants for all fertilizer combinations, and in particular for blood meal alone where no growth response was observed for nonmycorrhizal plants. It is possible that an AMF- mediated increase in plant the uptake of P was necessary for a positive effect of blood meal on plant growth. As the mineral soils in the substrate had been partly sterilized, however, introduced microorganisms were probably quite important for the mineralisation of bone and blood meal, and effects of other microorganisms associated with the AM fungus on plant utilization of the organic fertilizers can not be excluded.

End quote.

I felt bad because I didn't at least give you a reason for my cynical opinion of Scott.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 2:02PM
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I have to ask:


Red maples are about the lowest form of native tree life in North America. There are so many other good choices, why waste space with these dreadful trees?

They are a nuisance on my land and have invaded / destroyed all the local cedar swamps. Come take mine...

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 9:24PM
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Oh, good grief! You can't be serious. I used to underestimate red maple and believed that sugar maple was far superior. Well, now I may still think sugar maple is superior, but not by much.

If anyone is inclined to believe fthurber, search these sites for my previous post titled "In Praise of Red Maple." Of course "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," as a variety of discussions in these forums about all kinds of trees will attest, but red maples are fine trees. One of the most varied in many, characteristics of any tree I know. Extremely adaptable. And for a long time it was considered a low value tree for hardwood lumber, but not so any more. I get prices up to 70 % or more of what I get for sugar maple now, and both are way above red oak!


    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 2:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

For more on top pruning at planting time...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 6:16PM
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