Tamukeyama Japanese Maples

grullablue(5)June 10, 2008

My mom bought me a beautiful Tamukeyama JM for my birthday last week. It's my first JM, I have been a fancier for the past few years! Most photos I've seen of these show a mounding type tree. I'm wondering, do they all seem to do this, or can they be pruned so they are still like a tree form, not shrubby looking? Am I making sense? I will include a photo. My tree is about 4 and a half feet tall. (I'm hoping I can remember how to post photos here). I will also attempt to post a photo of about where I'd like to plant it...in front of my house, kind of between the two windows of the front of the house. A centerpiece, right where it deserves to be!

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They typically have a semi-upright habit although low grafted tamukeyamas that aren't staked can often form a low mound like you have seen.

The one you picture here is staked and if kept staked for awhile, then you can keep training the main leader to grow upwards. Be careful to train the trunk and not constrict it too much. The trunk would become weak and the bark could be damaged.

I would hold off planting it either this fall but preferably in the spring. You can root prune it slightly in the spring after the last frost and stick it in the ground. Make sure to plant it on a raised bed if you have clay soil or at least half raised if you have good draining soil. Tamukeyama can take alot of sun so that shouldn't be a issue.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 1:59PM
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I didn't realize I should hold off on planting it until at least fall, maybe spring. I don't mind doing that....but I really was afraid I'd better get it in the ground or I'd kill it! lol....no green thumb here, so I want to do everything right! Thank you for the feedback! I definitely welcome all!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 9:53PM
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So, again, I know nothing, and this is my first JM. I have NO green thumb, but want to learn, and want to do everything to keep this tree doing its best.

Why do I want to wait to plant it? WHat is the benfit? And should it stay in the pot its in then? SHould I then be fertilizing it at all?

I appreciate the advice!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:16PM
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Trees lose so much moisture in the summer through transpiration that they are much more likely to be shocked and have watering issues without established roots in the new soil. If your tree isn't root bound, you could plant in early fall once the temps are below 65F. In your zone, I wouldn't root prune at this time. New roots are easily damaged in sub freezing temps. They harden off(lignify) after awhile and are ready for winter.

If you see that its roots are tightly bound or there are large woody roots, you would want to wait for spring and then trim the large woody ones back a bit,if there are any, and then even up the remaining roots trimming off about 1/3 of the length of the roots. This should all happen in the spring after the last frost but before bud break.

If you have any more questions let us know. Some good things to know are the best soil to grow in for aeration and drainage make a happy, healthy tree, fertilization and proper watering. If you search here on the forums for "tapla" you can learn a wealth of stuff from his posts.

enjoy your tree,

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:35PM
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Sorry Angie, I just seen your second post after I replied. Many trees will wilt and all the leaves will fall off if planted in the summer, especially if they weren't in full sun where you purchased it.

I would keep it in the pot until its time to plant. I wouldn't worry about fertilizer unless you are absolutely sure the place where you got it didn't put some in it. Often they use a slow release fertilizer so if they did and you add more, it could burn roots, cause deformation or give your tree a "leggy" shape. Less nitrogen is better with JM's. Containerized trees need repotting every 1-3 years depending on several things but it will be ok for a few months as is.

I don't use fertilizer with nitrogen unless the tree shows signs that it needs it. I instead use a micro-nutrient supplement to give the tree all the nutrients it needs but doesn't "push" growth too much. I like the slow healthy growth which gives the tree trunk and limbs a more gnarled natural look I believe.

One more note real quick. When you plant if you use superthrive or KLH rooting hormone at planting time, it reduces stress on the tree and boosts new root growth. You can get just a little bottle and use it on everything you plant. I know this is a lot of info, sorry about that. I could go on for a hour. :)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:52PM
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Thank you for the advise! Being a complete newbie, I can take all the help I can get! I'll take notes! =) And it's no trouble for me to hold off planting it. I really am not prepared to plant it anyway..... the spot I'd like to put it needs some revamping first! I know potted trees can dry up very quickly, should I water daily, or just keep tabs on the moisture on the soil in the pot? I've got it on my porch in a shady location (the tag says part sun to shade), but I'm thinking about setting it out in front, about where I'd be planting it eventually. I have a lot of work to do there first! Including taking some timbers out, bringing more soil in, and deciding on other plants to go with it!


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 9:15AM
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If you're going to keep the plant in the pot for the summer, I have a little trick that works well you may want to try:

Choose the site for your tree - the site you think will be its final home - and plant the POT with the TREE IN IT up to the pot rim. Be sure the soil is not heavy clay, as this could form a "bowl" and hold water that would drown the plant. If this is the case, you will need to make a raised bed. Anyway, this allows you to try the tree out in that spot to see how it does. It there enough sun? Too much? Is it too windy? This trick allows you to move the plant around if the spot you chose does not turn out to be the best. Also, since the pot is buried, it stays cooler and doesn't have to be watered as often.

If everything works out well, then in the fall you can pull the pot out of the ground and plant the tree in its final home. It will have had all summer to adjust to its new home, and the root system will have had another season to grow strong and healthy. Just be SURE the site you plant the pot in drains well. Soggy roots will kill your tree really quick!



    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 11:34AM
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K4 gave you some good advice but I am going to touch on your question about watering.

Potted trees typically need more frequent watering than trees in the ground. If your pot is black it will get hot and evaporate quicker as well. If you plant it like K4 mentioned then it would use slightly less water due to cooler roots and soil.

Unless you can check moisture from the bottom of the pot which is best then at least stick your finger into the soil or a chopstick/ wooden dowel and probe to see if it comes out wet. You are going for slightly moist soil but not soggy. You don't want it to get too dry, especially on these hot days.

I have a fast draining mix that a forum user told us about. Its almost impossible to over water with it. You will have to figure out how much your tree needs to stay just barely moist from watering till the next watering.

Read these links below when you have time, you will learn much from them.



root pruning-



winter protection (mainly for potted trees)


winter watering-

IMO the best of the bunch- (tapla better known as Al) authored this great post which helped me tremendously. You will have to copy and paste the above links into your browser, I am not sure how to link them.

Here is a link that might be useful: container soils, water movement and retention

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 12:49PM
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