Problem with Crimson King Maple

drspadeSeptember 5, 2008

I am looking for suggestions on how to help my maples. I purchased 2 Crimson King Maples 5/2/2008. It was a new lot just north of Baltimore Maryland. The land is just under an acre which had previously been heavily wooded. The wooded area was completely leveled by the builder prior to my purchase.

The ground is hard orange clay with a lot of granite-like rock mixed in. I dug the holes myself and kept the root base level with the top of the hole instead of 20% above which I was later told should have been done.

They are located in an area which gets full sun almost all day for one of them and 3/4 of the day for the other. The rainfall has been non-existent this summer. In fact it has rained twice in the last 2 1/2 months at my house. I use the large gator bags and fill fill them daily around 5pm, occasionally, but not often missing a day. I also spray down the leaves when I fill the bags. I also used a product which is supposed to help prevent transplant shock once a week for the first 8 weeks and then every month thereafter. The solution contains 1-Naphthalene Acetic Acid, Vitamin B-1, Thiamine, etc.

The trees are growing and have actually grown about 1 and 1/2 to 2 feet since they were planted. However, the leaves constantly look contracted like a a half-clinched fist. They also have a burnt or at least singed look to them.

I would wonder if I was over watering them except for the constant burnt look. Also, the one which gets less sun is doing slightly better although still has the same wilted look. Did I plant them too deep in an unfavorable soil? Are they getting some type of root rot? Any suggestion on how to help them would be greatly appreciated.



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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

A scorched look in a recently planted tree means the *original* rootball is short of water.

The Tree-gator should help if the *original* rootball is moist. Put a finger in it to check.

If it was a large boxed tree, the 5 gallon a day may be insufficient. Test the rootball with a finger.

That said, if the hole wasn't premoistened before planting -- I fill with water and let drain, then repeat -- the water is moving into the surrounding soil instead of the rootball.

Beyond that sufficient water to the *original* rootball, you could also rig temporary shade.

Oh yes. Forget the so-called shock preventer. You're wasting money. Adequate water to the *original* rootball is the issue.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 12:35AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

It could easily be transplant shock and the drought that's burning the leaves. It's called, summer scorch.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 9:57AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Chronically dry newly planted trees would not make nearly two feet(!) of new growth. It may actually be instead that the daily watering has caused them to make lush new growth that can't hold up well in the hot and dry site. Perhaps it is being burned by dry winds or high temperatures, for instance. There may also be the possibility that the fertilizer product is burning the leaves.

You can find transplanting fertilizer discussed at a link in this list. Look for Vitamin B-1 Reduces Transplant Shock by Stimulating New Root Growth.

Here is a link that might be useful: Horticultural Myths

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 1:42PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

That despite continuing to be a staple of large production nurseries in eastern North America Norway maple is a nasty pest species there and should no longer be planted. Even here in the seemingly unfavorable droughty summers of the Seattle area I have seen more than one appalling infestation on public lands. One wooded ravine must have millions of seedlings by now, most (unlike those of the native bigleaf maple) appearing to survive the first year and progressing to larger sizes.

If your trees continue to falter despite site modifications such as mulching and watering over a larger area, it would probably be just as well to replace them with a different species of tree.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 1:47PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was said "It could easily be transplant shock and the drought "

"transplant shock" means the rootball is short of water.

Drought means the tree is short of water.

This tree was recently planted. The roots are still within the *original* rootball. If they aren't dry, they are too wet. (I vote for dry.)

To know what's going on, stick a finger into the top surface of the rootball.

Oh yes. Something else to know.

If the original rootball is overlaid (covered) with soil, even though only a very thin layer, the applied water is diverted around the original rootball.

If that's true, pull back the soil and apply water directly to the original rootball.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 7:26PM
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Thanks to everyone for all the feedback. The soil is like a hard clay which gets baked in the sun much like a clay pot, so perhaps the water is being routed away from the main root bulb. I am going to uncover the top this evening and check the moisture. I will post a follow up once I have more information.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 11:37AM
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I live in IN. We planted the King Crimson Maple in the fall of 2009. We followed instructions. The leaves were dropped almost immediately after planting. In spring 2010, the tree had very few leaves. We had a drought and the leaves curled and fell off early. This year, there are buds on the tree, it is the middle of May and not one leaf has come out. The limbs are still pliable so the tree is still alive. I have watered, fertilized and mixed plant hormone but nothing has helped. The tree has not one leaf on it and the other trees of this kind in our area are completely leafed out. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 7:38PM
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I just realized that Crimson Kings don't like the ground to wet. Four years ago I planted one in my front yard, our water table is 4 ft down in a dry season. We have had alot of rain this year and I can see it is already turning brown on the edges. I has in past dropped its leaves early. Is there anything I can do now to possible save my tree? It is about 15ft, could it be safely moved?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 7:39PM
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