prepping young Acer griseum for move

WendyB(5A/MA)September 23, 2012

background: I hope to be selling my house soon, but it's hard to know if it will be during the winter or next spring. It has been on the market for a couple of months and things are slower than I expected. The house and price are great, but the location is a tad tricky so small buyer pool. If I decide to keep it on the market and it sells in the winter, I want to be able to take some plants with me.

I have been potting up several perennial divisions and they should be fine in the unheated garage in packing peanuts, but I'm not sure if I can do the same thing with the baby Acer griseum.

It was a whip a few years ago and is about 4' tall now.

I'm not so sure it will be as happy with the unheated garage as perennials have been. I run about 95% success with perennials in pots. The garage can get as low as 0 degrees in extreme winters, but usually 20ish.

I know if I am going to do it, the sooner the better so it acclimates before freezing temps. OTOH, maybe its better to do it after leaves fall and its in dormancy.

what do you think?

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You could try digging and potting up as soon as weather and/or dormancy indicate. At 4', I doubt it has a very far ranging root system yet. And then sink the pot into the soil for winter protection or somehow insulate the container and the root system. Containerized maples can experience root damage (often fatal root damage) at prolonged temperatures less than 26F.

Just because I am nosey :-), what in the world are you doing with all the other trees and shrubs you have planted recently? Or have they already been installed at the new property?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:05PM
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I will be leaving behind all other woodies. boo-hoo. dozens and dozens and dozens... I don't even want to count, but now I probably will have to just thinking about it...LOL

Everything else is too big to take and I am going to a condo, so gardening space will be very limited. Not even sure griseum will find a proper space, but its the only tree small enough to consider. I am taking perennials that are more unusual, special, expensive or hard-to-find.

On the positive side, I am also leaving behind mistakes of too-close plantings and plants that didn't live up to their expectations and deer candy!! And all that work!!

I bring with me all the knowledge I gained, my memories, and my index cards and photos! I can't wait to start from scratch in a small space and do something really well but small. I have a cultivated acre now and it has always been too big to get all areas the way I want.

Back to griseum, I can set the pot in a pile of grass clippings and leaves, which should be nice insulation, but if I leave in the real dead of winter with everything frozen and covered with several feet of snow, might be tricky to gather. Hence, the garage option. I don't want to come back in the spring for anything and see the new owners neglecting things or ripping out things.

I had a dream (nightmare) last night that they had a fire sale and sold EVERYTHING and gardeners had to come with shovels to dig up all the trees, shrubs and perennials to put it back to the way it was 20 years ago. wow! They woulda made a fortune!!!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:09PM
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So here it is almost a year later and I am getting ready to move. I will be able to do limited gardening at the new location so I decided to take the young griseum.

First I took off about 2' of top growth. I dug around as wide and deep as I could without cutting too much of the root system. I was surpised that there really was no "rootball". It was almost like digging a rosebush. I had to go fishing for the root structure. There was a big root crossing another that I might have considered cutting off it was going directly in the ground, but I did not. I couldn't get a good angle on the picture to really show it. I remembered that these guys don't like root disturbance. Ouch!

So here it is just before I potted it up. I will keep it in mostly shade for the next 2-3 weeks before moving day.

What do you think of its chances?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 8:53AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Roots look a little dry, otherwise it's not going to give up and die just because of this.

Next time you transplant a tree or shrub do not arbitrarily cut the top back, it is counterproductive. Top pruning at planting time is only for correcting badly placed or damaged etc. branches - it does not assist the growth and survival of the specimen.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 4:18PM
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thanks bboy. actually, bad pic. The flash went off and did that. The roots were not dry at all. I was trying to show the angle of the crossed roots. Gardeners should be better photographers!!

I thought the purpose of cutting off top growth is so there is less foliage for less roots to support -- kinda to put roots and foliage back in balance. Even though I attempted to get all the roots, safe to assume I probably did not.

2 days after digging it up, some leaves have a little browning going on. The soil is still moist. fingers are crossed!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Root growth supported by energy in stems and vice versa. Reducing amount of either reduces amount of other. That's why bonsai are root-pruned. Cutting back any part of a plant really does result in a smaller plant, instead of a bigger one. The light began to be shed in the 1960s, when only half of an experimental tree planting got cut back at planting time, in the supposedly correct way. Later the half of the block that "missed out" on the arbitrary top pruning was discovered to have grown more than the ones that got whacked.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 2:19AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

"Roots look a little dry, otherwise it's not going to give up and die just because of this. "

Yeah, some plants might, but not a maple!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:47PM
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