Japanese maples

grullablue(5)September 3, 2007

Hello, I'm not sure what zone I would be in.... somewhere between 4b and 5a, but I am fascinated by japanese maples, and would like to include one in my yard, front and center! I have been looking, and am just overwhelmed with the number of "kinds" to choose from! I have a MOuntain Maples catalog here, but neither their website or Email is working at the moment, not sure if they went out of business or what! What are the root systems like? I had read that the roots grow more across than deep, and the root systems are pretty soft. When is the best time to plant them? If spring, could I keep one in a container through winter and plant in spring? I'm not sure what will work where I would want it, I'd want one that didn't get too big (maybe 6-7 feet?), I LOVE the weeping type, that grows up then out, and love the lace leafed varieties, but I'm not going to be too picky there. I LOVE reds and burgundys, I'm not sure if there are any that basically stay that way through most of the growing season, just changing to different hues of the same color... looking at the MOuntain Maples catalog. I LOVE the Lion Heart, but need to read more about it. If anyone can help me learn, it would be greatly appreciated! I am looking for sites now to read up on these beautiful trees, I am SO hoping I can safely plant one where I'm hoping to plant it!!

Thanks for any input!

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myersphcf(z6a IL)

#1 spring plant #2 ok to keep in pot over winter in garage or protected area #3 you may want to visit some local nurseries to see which varieties will work best #4 better to plant a larger one with a good root system ( in spring) #5 ???on Lions Heart it wouldn't be my 1st choice. #6 Tamukeyama a better choice #7 always safest with a Bloodgood or simple Atropurpureum red acer A.P. although the catalogues will say bigger... in your area I doubt it will get over 10-12 MAX. feet in 10-15 years ( mine haven't). #8 protection protection protection ...put in an open windy non protected space and your chances of success lessen dramatically.#9 be prepared to occasional die back and a non perfect look ...I gurantee you where ever you live except maybe in the Northwest or Japan ...it won't look like the catalogues all summer!! #10 Jm's are like drugs and highly addictive you won't be able to just have one leave plenty of planting space for more ..( if you have success with the first one ;>) ) David

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 2:06PM
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Your zone is right at the edge of Japanese Maple survivability at least as it has been known up to now. I say this because my zone was supposed to be marginal too. If you look at the USDA hardiness maps from the 60's to the recent one in 2006 the zones have shifted considerably. My zone was 4 back then! I have not gotten even zone 5a temps during the winter the last decade. I expect there will be a few days in the -20 category, and two or three weeks of -5 to 5 degree temps during the winter. Last winter it got cold but not below -15 degrees ambient temp.

First, Dave is correct about protection. If you have a fence or large screen of trees that protect from winds from the northerly direction that is important. Wind protection is a must.

Second, Acer japonicums and shirasawanums are hardier than palmatums. Look into varieties of these species as they are just as spectacular as palmatums, and have laceleaf types as well. AJ 'Green Cascade' and AJ 'Aconitifolium' are great choices. They generally need more room to grow than palmatums but the two named are fairly small as trees go. AS 'Aureum' is second to none one of the best trees, but needs room. Also, Acer circinnatum species cannot be overlooked in terms of size and features. They are also rated as more hardy than palmatums.

As for palmatums I would first try those known for cold hardiness--from what I've read here and elsewhere and corroborated by experience at least in my area: Bloodgood, Crimson Queen, Hogyoku, Red Emperor, AP palmatum palmatum, Red Dragon, Seiryu; and what I've heard but not tested: Fireglow, Osakazuki, Waterfall, pretty much most of the larger uprights, Everred, Chishio Improved, Inaba Shidare. Don't know about the variegated ones or dwarfs, the more exotic cultivars, but they should not be a problem here. I will be starting to put in a few of these this Fall. I've been hesitating to put in variegated types or Linearlobums (jury is out on the V.Taranto) due to these consistently being tagged as zone 6 or above, and due to their twiggy growth habit (foresee severe dieback), however, I will try them. However, for you I would not start with these as you could be disappointed in zone 4 pretty quickly.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 7:51AM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

I think EZ is correct in aalmost everything he said ...I had written a short addendum to my first post but x'd out before finishing that darn 2 step posting proceedure ( boy how many times has that happened to me ;>) ) My post was specifically written for a newbie...as we all were at one point and our ( at least many of us) first trees were generally Bloodgood sand Atros. and were likely seed grown ...probably cause that was what was available...but our love for these trees may have wained if we would have had access to named cultivars and planted them without success. Thus my proposed purchase for a newbie of more common JM's.
As far as linearlobums I have found them to be extreemly hardy even to the freeze... My Beni otaki and both green and red Scolopendrifolum and my Atrolinear did great mostly uncovered. VT is a newer tree or at least newer availability and most growers will CYA on really most JM's and classify any new tree and most others as zone 6. My 1 year VT ( I don't buy or recommend buying this small!! and did cause I couldn't find one of size) zipped through the winter and survived the freeze .. and is doing well although it is not a typical linerlobum IMHO in that it's leaves seem to be "in between" at least at certain points during the season. I still stand by my advise of planting a comon hardy cultivar or seed grown one for a persons first JM is the best way to go..David

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 9:54AM
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Well, I guess I have found I'm in zone 5.... 5a, something like that. There's a small area around Madison that is 5, with 4 surrounding it....but whatever! Thank you for all of the input so far! You wouldn't believe how many links I have saved in my favorite places.....LOL, and of all of those I looked at, I have some written down as far as pictures I really liked. Yes, I know they're not always going to look like the pictures do! And I know some of them are pretty slow growing from the start! I have seen some bloodgoods locally, but was afraid they would get too big for the area I'd like to plant it. Would I be safe planting it near concrete septic tanks in the yard? Stupid question, perhaps! I am going to keep looking.... and I appreciate all of the input so far! I am madly in love with these trees!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 2:45PM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

Jm roots shouldn't hurt the septic tanks but having any work done on those tanks which will eventually happen ( maybe many many years maybe sooner) but i gurantee that will eventually happen and ...will hurt your Jm ...if planted to close or in the way of the backhoe that would be coming in ..David

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 4:42PM
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Thanks for the input, I guess I didn't think of several years down the road! Good thinking! Well, I'm reading, and learning, and I see they need good drainage. Am I ok to assume that they would do well in a "raised" bed so to speak? We have one around our septic tanks, so they dont' stick out so much, and I really like the look. Three landscape timbers high, and a hex shape. Would this work if I were to plant a JP "showpiece" in my yard? I'm still unsure as to size.... I know bloodgoods are sold around here, and I like them, however I'm wondering if they may get too tall for what I'm looking for (6-8 feet, give or take), and wondering if they are a bit more upright than I like. I don't want anything mounding. I want an actual small TREE, with a trunk...and then mounding above the trunk would be fine (if you know what I mean). Like mushroom shaped. I love the twisty branches I see on some... I REALLY REALLY also like the inaba shidare. Someone mentioned they heard it can tolerate cooler weather better? To get those "mushroom" shapes, are they pruned that way, or grow that way? I can't get the mountain maples email or website to work, but if anyone happens to have their spring 2007 catalog, I love the shape of the Lion Heart on page 34 and the Red Dragon on pg 35 and 36. I would eventually love for my tree to grow out about like those....but again, I'm not sure if pruning is involved or not! Anyway...going to keep learning, looking...OT but my only child started kindergarten today, and I need to keep my mind busy! LOL

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 12:34PM
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Mountain Maples website was working as of a couple of min. ago............

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 8:04PM
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Thanks! It did finally start working again the other day!


    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 9:28PM
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