Japanese Maple Advice - Crimson Queen

gmgarden(5)July 10, 2013

I need some advice on planting location for my new Crimson Queen Japanese Maple. I currently have no landscaping and had the itch to start it off with a nice Japanese maple. It caught my eye at the store. My planned planting location is at the very NE corner of my front porch. Represented by a green circle with an X in the diagram.

I am in Iowa and have read several stories about successfully growing the Japanese Maples, but they usually have some cautious phrase like "make sure it is protected".

What does that mean? Just wind protection? In the winter? Here the wind is from the NW in the winter and from the South in the summer. If I plant as shown in the picture it will be slightly exposed from direct westward wind between my house and my neighbors. Do I need to plant other things around the tree? I was planning on staking the tree into the ground. Do I need some tree trunk protection?

Any help is appreciated to help me get the most of this tree (it wasn't cheap!).

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You are in a borderline zone for Japanese maples so that caution regarding protection is valid.

Ideally what you would want is some sort of alcove perhaps, nestled in between the lengths of two sides of a structure, like an "L". Or within the protection of some larger growing plants, like taller evergreen shrubs. Both of these situations create their own type of microclimates.

Barring any of the above, avoid planting where the tree will receive direct wind during the growing season. And a location that offers reflected heat in winter is helpful (a paved area close by or close to a west or south facing wall or fence). If your soil is not great, plant high and mound the planting area. And I dislike staking, especially weeping laceleaf maples. If you are out of the direct flow of wind, staking is unnecessary.

Be sure to allow enough space - while CQ's do not grow tall, they can get very wide in time.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 4:46PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Your main concerns are winter wind and breaking dormancy too soon. I hesitate to disagree with gardengal48, as her advice is usually spot on, but a nearby radiant heat source will harm more than help. They tend to bring the plants out of dormancy too soon in our zones and then when 15F nights come the buds are toast. If there is no winter wind tunnel effect between the houses and you keep the tree far enough away from the house, your location should be fine. Agree to no staking except very specific circumstances.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Thank you both for the helpful advice. Might be planting this weekend. The between house space isn't terrible, but does get some wind. Any thoughts on something to plant behind it to help block a straight west winter wind?? Maybe a nice evergreen that doesn't grow too wide?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 7:31PM
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tj may have a good point with that reflected heat :-) Since I am nowhere close to a zone 5 climate, I forget about your late frosts where the temp can drop like a stone from day to night. In my climate, reflected heat can be beneficial to offset some really cold weather (for us) but we tend to avoid a lot of harmful late freezes/frosts that can wreak havoc on just-about-to-emerge-from-dormancy plants.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 7:40PM
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I have attached a picture of the front of the house. It's really bare, I know. You can see the relationship to my neighbors as well as the afternoon sun. It will make a pass by the tree, but shouldn't get more than a few hours of afternoon sun. The tree is sitting in the pot in this picture. I am all but set on planting it this weekend at the front right corner, but still thinking I want some kind of tall and thin evergreen as a backdrop...maybe a few emerald arborvitae or some canadian hemlock??

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:51PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Taxus x media 'Sentinalis' is narrow and can take shade. May also be enough light for Thuja occidentalis 'DeGroots Spire'.


Edit: We cross posted. With that pic I'm looking more on design than function and might be tempted to bring the tree out front a bit more and forgo the conifers. Be aware, I've seen Crimson Queen in Iowa with canopies of 12-15 feet so you want to be a minimum of 8 maybe 10 feet from the house.

This post was edited by tsugajunkie on Fri, Jul 12, 13 at 22:01

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:52PM
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I am reading that Yews are poisonous and the Degroots Spire will get too tall I think. Maybe a columnar boxwood or arborvitae?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Yews are only poisonous if you eat the berries and they are not necessarily produced in any abundance. It is also good to remember that many (most?) landscape plants are toxic to some degree - except for a select handful of extremely poisonous plants, I would never use that issue as limiting factor.

Also, 'DeGroots Spire' IS an arborvitae but grows very slowly. Boxwood also grows extremely slowly so to obtain one that would provide much of a statement now (more than 3-4') would be a serious investment.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Sorry I wasn't clear. I do understand that the DeGroots Spire is an arborvitae, but I read it gets significantly larger than an Emerald Arborvitae.

I had some yews out front of my childhood home and never remember any issues, but now that I am a parent I am super paranoid. I am sure you can understand that.

Thanks so much for the assistance. I have planted the CQ and the Emerald Arborvitae. Might be a bit close, but looks good right now.

Man 12-14 hours in the sun really catches up to you fast! Lots of sod removed! Try to get some pictures of the completed project once it is done. Getting hot and humid out there!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Well...I got a lot done in the last two weekends. The CQ JM is planted, although I am already having a few slight problems.

1.) I have Japanese Beetles up the ying-yang. Can I put Seven all of my new CQ JM? Look at the damage they are doing!
2.) I have some leaf wilt going on. I am watering every day twice. Is this normal when it gets hot out?

Next post will have leaf damage...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Here is the Japanese Beetle damage!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:50PM
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Getting a bit worse today. Am I overwatering? Is it just stress of a fresh planting? Is it the beetles? I can lightly run my hand along the plant and knock most of the leaves off...

:( Any help is appreciated. It has been really warm and we are watering twice daily.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:37PM
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Another one from the top.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Im a zone 4, border 5, and I also have a crimson queen japanese maple. I have noticed on both CQ and Tamukeyama that in the hot days of summer, the beetles will hit hard. I used a store bought insecticide (ortho bug b gone max) and the beetles started to back off. I would definitely recommend removing any beetles on sight, as one beetle will attract another and so on. if your against insecticides than use soapy water on the plant and if you can, knock some beetles into a bucket of soapy water as well. fertilize if you feel it is absolutely necessary, but remember, japanese maples are very picky trees

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:58PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

How are you watering? Are you making sure the root ball is saturated? How was it planted? Was it balled and burlap or in a pot?


    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 1:46AM
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Planting ANY Japanese maple in the middle of summer can be risky - transplant shock is always a factor. The best you can do for it is provide enough water. I'd prefer longer soakings less often.........putting your hose on the rootball at a very low trickle for an hour or two every couple of days is far preferable than standing with the sprinkler on it for a few moments daily.

Be careful what type of insecticide you are applying - JM's resent anything applied to their foliage and often respond with a phytotoxic reaction. I would consider some sort of systemic to combat the beetles you can't hand pick.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 2:41PM
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Just thought I would give an update. Man has it been dry and hot this summer! What a bad summer to start some landscaping. My water bill has been 3x normal but I think I am getting positive signs of progress. I have some new growth near the bottom of the tree and at the end of a branch at the top. I lost A LOT of leaves within 3 weeks of planting it. I was nervous I was drowning the darn thing. I would regularly check the mulch and while it was moist before I started to water it was not sopping wet. I have been doing a trickle style watering for a few hours every night nearly for 2 months now. Most of the original leaves have either shriveled up or fallen off. I do have a nice branch of green leaves as well. The rest of the landscaping has been progressing nicely. I am looking forward to season 2 (pending winter weather of course!).

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Another photo showing the darker green leaves that are more mature.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 7:50PM
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