Acer shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon' is dead - bummer!

Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)May 11, 2005

Hi all,

Well, I had high hopes that the Acer shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon' that I purchased at the Arboretum plant sale last spring was just a little late to break dormancy, but it turns out that the tree is as dead as a doornail. I guess I can cross this tree off of my list of hardy-in-Minnesota trees. It's too bad because it's such a beautiful tree.

It's funny, too, because I have an Acer circinatum 'Sunglow' and an Acer palmatum 'Robinson's Red' in a much more exposed spot and both trees came through the winter with flying colors. I have never protected the 'Sunglow' and it's never had any dieback.

Is anyone growing 'Autumn Moon' and has the tree done well for you?



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I'm not growing it just wanted to say sorry that you lost it, as one of our resident tree gurus I know how disappointing it must have been for you. Are you going to try another one in case it wasn't environmental?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 4:33PM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

Thanks for the sympathy.

No, I will not try another. I paid $139.00 for this tree at the Arboretum plant sale last May and one loss is all I can afford. I have already removed the tree and I have planted a Pinus parviflora 'Templehof' in its place.

The tree was approx. 5' tall and it appears that the base of the tree is still alive. I potted the tree and I will wait and see if anything sprouts from the base.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 10:46AM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

So sorry Mike-
I love the look of those Acers- but have never tried one. Too much potential for heartache-
I bet you could have one stunning bonsai if the root stock is the same plant...
I wish you all the luck-

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 11:53AM
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Hi Mike,

Sorry to hear about your Maple. I was at Edelweiss up in Duluth today and they just got in a very nice 'Aureum' that I think had your name on it. ;) I picked up a nice sized A. japonicum 'Aconitifolium' while I was there. BTW, their Emperor I made it through another winter with very minimal damage.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 8:18PM
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perennialprincess(z4 MN)


was your tree grafted onto Acer palmatum????? do you think that is what is alive? I agree, big bummer - I have not tried that one here. PP

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 3:56PM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

Thanks, everyone!

I am hoping that I can get to Edelweiss next Sunday. My 'Aconitifolium' has a little winter damage this year too. The tree saw -25° last winter and never flinched and this year we hit -14° and I have so much damage on a number of plants. Too weird.

The plant is grafted, but I would guess that the rootstock is seedling A. shirasawanum, also. It appears that there is still some of the 'Autumn Moon' wood that is till alive so I will keep the tree and see what happens. I guess I should have wrapped the tree last fall.

My A. p. 'Robinson's Red' had no damage at all and it is in a much more exposed spot than the 'Autumn Moon'.

Well, I'm off to the Arboretum plant sale to see what goodies I can buy...

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 8:22AM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Hey Mike-
I had a thought about your last post- you had a tree that had more damage this year with warmer weather- than last year with colder weather. It reminded me of a Pear tree I had. I planted it in the fall- and even got a little fruit that first summer. The next fall- the bunnies ate all of the bark all around the trunk. I thought it was a goner but come spring, it bloomed, leaved out, boar many delightfull fruit- changed to a beautiful crimson in the fall before dying. It had enough energy stored to do all that before exausting itself.
Right or wrong- one of the lessons I learned from that was trees don't always show immeadiate signs of damage unlike other plants. I like to think it is because they live so long- their "reaction" time is delayed. I don't know if there science to back it up- but, it has helped me to re-think a few problems I have come across.
I hope shopping was good! My pocket book is so happy I forgot about that sale!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 8:18AM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

Thanks for that insight. The tree could very well have had problems even before I purchased the plant. I have potted the tree and I will see what happens.

The arboretum sale was OK. Lots of plants that shouldn't have been sold, like Taxodium distichum 'Secrest' grown on a standard. 'Secrest' is not hardy here and when grown on a standard the plant is very exposed and is sure to fail. If I remember correctly, the plants were $120.00 each.

There was a BIG sign as you exited the sale, on your way to the registers, that said, basically, all of the HEALTHY plant material was now your responsibility and could not be replaced due to failure.
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 8:36AM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

Ahh..such is the life of a zone (wallet) buster. I was just wondering if any of you in Minnesota have noticed that some individual plants within the same species might have different cold tolerances depending on their origin. I have noticed that here in Massachusets with my experiments. Good example: I had purchased and planted a mimosa tree about 5 years ago. It grew rapidly to a large size in a few years (many feet each year), before being killed back to the main trunk during our winter month from hell (January 2004). But all the other mimosa trees in my neighborhood--many very large ones that must by 25 years old atleast-live on like nothing happened. So--i've started to experiment with propogation of local zone marginal plants that have withstood the test of time in my area. The moral of the story is that I try to be careful about the plant source. I was in the Central Valley of CA this spring and happened across a HUGE Monrovia operation--they were growing everything. And I bet the plants we buy locally that have a Monrovia tag may be years old but have never experienced a temperature below 30F. Just a thought--

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 8:57AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Several of us are very keen on what you speak of Rockman: provenance and genotype. And we have been propagating from local sources of many species, from trees(Hemlock, Redbud, Baldcypress...) to prairie plants.

Remember though, it is the genetics in the plant, not where it is grown that makes it hardy. Just like you are the same person no matter where you live, so is a particular plant. So for instance, a wild hemlock originally from Minnesota and grown in CA, still retains its MN heritage and hardiness.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 10:15AM
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Thats really bad news, hope you manage to save it. Feed it well throughout the growing season right into the fall. We all have our preferences but I use liquid seaweed combined with superthrive and have had excellent results. I would also cover it for the winter, I dont take any chances with any of my shirasawanums and overwinter in the UK in polytunnnels. Good luck, its a lovely tree. Pat

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 5:41PM
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