A. griseum x nikoense fall color

eric_griseumNovember 6, 2008

I live in Southwest Missouri. Springfield. About an hour north of Arkansas and an hour east of Kansas. I'm in zone 6. My city is on the northern border of the Ozark Mountains. These mountains are limestone slates stacked as hard pans, one on top of the other. Very little grows through them, except Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar). So, our soils do get alkaline. Yet, the climate allows a lot of deciduous growth where these hard pans are deep enough, therefore promoting acidity.

I have in my front yard an Acer griseum x nikoense growing. I planted it two seasons ago. It is about 15 feet tall and has a caliper size of about an inch and a half. It started peeling for the first time this summer on a few small spots along the trunk. The site is on the north side of my house. In the summer, it gets full sun from morning until evening. In the spring and fall, it gets only afternoon sun.

I am supposed to get red fall colors. But, the first year I planted it, I got a dull brown like that of many oak species. I figured it was a transplant shock. This fall, I got a bit more of a yellow color with brown margins. A closer inspection reveals that red pigments are in the leaves. But, they are only noticed up close.

I assumed my issue was that it may be a pH issue. The A horizon of my soil is mostly clay and limestone chunks. The hard pan is over 20 feet deep. I have about six inches of an O horizon. Off the top of my head, I believe it is an alkaline problem. I believe this because I have seen Pyrus calleryana "Bradford" turn red in Missouri and the same cultivar turn yellow in Logan, Utah. Utah has soils up in the 8's. However, I did see several standard A.griseum's at Utah State University that turned a brilliant red in the fall. So, I am at a loss as to my problem. I am going to test my soil at school, Missouri State University. But, I just wanted some ideas before I got into the lab. Anything would be appreciated.

Another idea I have is that of the full sun issue. I have found with several plants, such as Euonymus alata (Burning Bush) gets a deeper red in full sun than partial. Maybe the lack of sun in the fall is involved.

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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Sounds to me the most likely explaination is that the tree has not been in it's current location long enough to beome fully established and behave normally as of yet, but light period cculd also be contributing. In addition, while I can't say for you, but this was not too good of a color year here (about 25 miles south or the border). Trees were all out of sink. For example many sugar maples turned early, while others have just now turned. Even many blackgums were not their normal selves.

One of our sugar maples is not yet coloring normally after two growing seasons, but has also not yet put on a normal amount of growth either, though the trunk caliper grew remarkable this year. A second sugar maple in the ground now for 1 full year did not turn colors normally either, but did also add significant trunk caliper. Both trees showed NO visible signs of stress over the course of the summer, but almost certainly have not yet fully established at this time.

How much did your tree grow this year? You stating that the bark is just beginning to exfoliate suggest that this was the first growing season that the caliper grew significantly, which supports the ideal that is still getting established, and so will not behave completely normally. On a positive note, our trees have grown significantly AFTER they added significant caliper the year before. The trees don't seem to add caliper until they are fairly comfortable, at which time they can divert resources from root growth to storage in the trunk for the next seasons growth. So it would seem realistic that you may see different results next fall.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 9:13PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>The trees don't seem to add caliper until they are fairly comfortable, at which time they can divert resources from root growth to storage in the trunk for the next seasons growthI would expect the trunks are getting noticeably thicker because the whole tree, including the roots is more developed. I would also expect that the same annual allocation of energy to different parts of the tree, varying with the season would occur every year.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 3:40PM
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Thanks guys,

I was talking with someone else out here about this and he gave me the same response. He said that he had the same hybrid and it did exactly the same thing. It took about four years for it to get established; as you say 'comfortable.' Every year it would turn a bit more than the last. The fourth year (this year) it turned the way it was supposed to.

I really appreciate you taking the time to answer me. I'll just stay patient with it and leave it alone.

Thank you,

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 3:37AM
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