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opinion on high grafted laceleafs

Posted by drcindy z8 WA (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 5, 07 at 21:54

Hi,

Just wanting to know what people think of laceleaf maples that are grafted fairly high. I saw some in a nursery where the graft was about 2 feet high on some Red Dragons. They just looked kind of strange to me. They were very healthy, but really weren't very pendulous to begin with. It was hard to picture what a mature specimen would look like.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

It is all personal opinion... many growers do that to have a bigger tree to sell for more $$ quicker ... some folks do cause if the graft doesn't take you can regraft lower with no problem..others do it cause it's easier and faster. It will probably grow into it's high graft. It only looks puny now cause it is likely YOUNG with less growth than you would ordinarily see with a dissectum of it's height ...but there is a chance it will look like a giant mushroom for several years. That being said I "personally" like low grafted trees including dissectums and that how I graft all of mine ... although it can be 4-6 " up and still look great ...I then stake to gain height. W/O staking you have a ground hugger if it's a dissectum ...Most smaller dedicated grafters (nurseries) graft everything low or offer both David


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

I got a high graft Red Dragon last year, and I think the advantage is that they are definitely taller than a low graft, but the disadvantage is that I've had to keep pinching off the (parent cultivar) growth that pops up from time to time.


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

Well, I'll weigh in:

Anything upright but pendulous will cover any unsightly graft union with time (sure winter is a bit different), but the graft union should not be noticable after a small but somewhat substantial amount of time so no big deal.

It's the same with conifers. It's both the grower and the consumer that benefit from a high graft.

A weeping conifer like Picea glauca 'Pendula' or similar even if a tiny "twig" as I see people use as a term often were to be grafted to an understock/rootstock that is say, 4 foot tall, well then 4 years or whatever the relative growth rate of the scion is time well saved.

I've seen grafting videos where pro's do this, and I believe them. So... I follow in their footsteps myself.

A little 'wordy' but it does make sense truly.

After 10 or 20 years, no matter where the graft took place, you'll never know where it was. An afterthought.

Dax


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

"After 10 or 20 years, no matter where the graft took place, you'll never know where it was"

Well put Dax!!! For a commercial grower, there are several reasons as to why a high graft...the saleable product size for their market, understock on hand, re-grafting if it doesn't take, easier to dig if field planted, etc. etc..
Yes they can make a bit more on a high graft, but the plant size (head size to match height) would still need to be in balance.....soooo they keep it around for several more years and get several dollars more.
The people that own nurseries, large and small, still need to make a living or they wont be around when you want more plants.


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

I personally don't like the high grafts as much due to the unnatural looking understructure. Grafting low and staking makes a more attractive tree IMO, but it takes 2 or 3 years longer sometimes. If you look at some of the more attractive older dissectums, they have a winding structure that goes from the ground up to over 10 ft. The high grafts have too straight of a trunk followed by the nice structure on top.

I suppose this is ok when they are young to middle aged and they weep down from the graft; however, when they get much older and they gain height it looks odd to me. After all, the structure is probably the single most attractive part of most japanese maples when they are older.

If these trees were evergreen I would be less concerned with the change in structure at the graft as it is indeed hidden. But, I have seen 20+ year old specimens that were quite obviously grafted high during the winter when all the leaves had dropped.

I've attached an image I made to support my argument. I personally think both methods make beautiful trees, but I like the way a low graft flows into the natural form of the tree.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dissectum Habits


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

Both can make a nice tree but with a low graft you have more options ...Matts link shows the same form on both trees but in reality you can, with a low graft, make a more horizontal tree but let it grow up as well ...you can train it in much more unique ways or just stake the leader and let the rest do it's thing...You have MUCH less choices with a high graft . NOW lets make a distinction here... whether a dissectum has a graft at 1-4 " or 4-12"(although 12 is pushing it a bit IMHO ) is probably not relevant ...I and I think Matt( not to speak for him) are talking about those grafted at 15-36" as may are grafted in the 24-30" height.
As far as the argument that Nurseries have to make money ...I don't buy that ...Quality should never be sacrificed for $$$ and expediency and just because it's easier doesn't excuse it ...
But in the end it is personal choice if you want to buy such a tree go for it ...some may even like it better or sacrifise a bit to buy a larger tree at a possibly more reasonable price and that says nothing about there taste just that it is differnt.I prefer low or at least not "high" grafts but am flexible on the " of such to a degree... buy what you like just becouse one person here says something ( Me) it is an opinion not necessarily a fact. David


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

"As far as the argument that Nurseries have to make money ...I don't buy that ...Quality should never be sacrificed for $$$"

Why is a plant grafted at 6"-8" a better quality plant than one grafted at 30"-36"???????????? Please clarify, that statement sort of comes across as you being the only one that knows what a "quality" plant is. A lot? of people on this list are maple freaks/geeks and know a lot about them. But your average consumer will love their high grafted tree as much as their low graft (they may just have more problems on taking care/staking their new tree).
I stated the "reality" of the different decisions a nursery owner/propagator has to make....they make a living doing this!! If their customers want/have no problem with a high graft, why put more labor into that plant????


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

Sorry David, went off "half-cocked" and THEN re-read your e-mail....I apologize if it came across a bit strong.

IF the end consumer likes a taller straight trunk vs one that has been trained up a stake (with a little wiggle in it), who is anyone to say they are wrong????
ANY GROWER who produces a plant, loses money every time they touch it....sorry that is a fact!!. But if their customer base is willing to pay more money for more touching/training/manipulation on a plant of the same "grade size" (ANLA Standards), good for them!!! What percentage of the population would be willing to pay the higher price at the garden center or would notice it when they bought the plant??? I wish I knew or had an idea....but my gut says not a very high percentage at all.........


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 12, 07 at 8:01

I think it comes down to how you are going to prune it. Most don't, and the plant comes out looking like a giant half ball. You don't see the trunk at all unless it's winter.
However, if you prune the trunk to 'show some leg, you see the trunk all year round. Then, of course, you want a low graft. Otherwise it looks like a weeping maple on a stick.

I'll take the low graft.
Japanese Laceleaf Maple


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

"weeping maple on a stick" - nice choice of words, Botann, and exactly what is being produced. And to support schmoo's comments, these are being produced by growers in response to consumer demand! The consumption of Japanese maples by the gardening public is enormous - it finances a good many wholesale growers in this part of the world - and few of them (the great buying public) tend to be very knowledgeable about the plants themselves. They are going for appearance, period. As a nurseryperson myself, I can tell you that many do not care for the low mounding, mushroom-shaped dissectums of low grafts and they are seeking out and asking for high grafts. This is to accommodate the tiny spaces that pass for "yards" in many areas of the country where high property values and huge housing demands have resulted in miniscule lot sizes dominated by enormous houses - there is simply not enough space for a full sized J. maple and folks are looking for smaller (but taller) alternatives. In some cases these are even sold as "patio trees" or small trees of a specific height (generally no more than ~8') and are exactly as Botann descripes - a weeping maple on a stick. The tree is neither any better or worse in quality than one that is low grafted - it is merely servicing a different consumer demand.


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

That is one way of looking at it GG.I certainly don't begrudge large wholesale operators from using such techniques ...they have long since gone from quality to quantity and to maximizing profits. I do think for the smaller specialized grower it is NOT a good thing and I am speaking about them..Most startesd out as a lover of JM and other specialty plants and get carried away with $$. Offering both is the best way and many do .I also think the argument of most folks don't know the differnce is also a bad one and goes to the point of $$ over quality and far beyond the matter of high and low grafts. Its akin to offering certain cultivars to folks that won't do well in their area or specifyiong full sun and or full shade...where trees may not experience maximum beauty but most folks wouldn't know the differnce ...just to get more purchases and who would not know the differnce.Folks w/o knowledge don't know the differnce and it's a little cynical too say since they are ignorant it's ok to offer something out of effeciency and cost effectiveness even though it may not be the best form .
Now all that being said I don't think this is a big deal and high grafts arn't at all threatening to the plant ..I guess i just feel it's a little cynical to say most folks don't care or nuseries have to make money and makes it ok... and I was specifically, although I agee it was not clear and appologize for that, speaking of small ( cottage industry) specialty JM growers ..David


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

I have to agree with david on this issue. I understand the economic issue as I work for a fairly large retail nursery myself. But I definetely think japanese maples (along with other similar specimen plants) should be trained and cared for to maximize their beauty. IMO these trees are living works of art, and they should be treated as such.

The american mentality of the assembly line has infiltrated the propagation and growing of japanese maples. And if the quality of many american products these days is any indication of how these plants will become in the near future, I will glady pay alot more for a quality cared for tree rather than one that was grown to maximize profit. I would take just one of those trees shown in the above picture over 50 trees that I've seen come through my nursery that were grafted high, overfertilized, and improperly pruned.

But I guess most people only care about the color and not the structure, so until people become more appreciative of that type of beauty, I guess the big nurseries will keep churning out less than spectacular trees.


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

David,

Sent you an email... did you get it?

Thanks,

Dax


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

Final one for me on this issue(thankfully most likely)....for those that feel a high graft is a lower quality plant, don't buy one and it sounds like you wont. Both trees can be attractive, one form more than the other to some.
But some of the comments on this issue come across as someone put you on a pedestal and said YOU are the one to determine a quality plant. While this is your opinion (just as I have stated mine), I call BS. The structural/visual quality of a plant is determined by the person that buys that plant to put it in their yard to enjoy. If you work in a nursery and can sell them on a LG Acer. pal. dissectum, awesome, cool, right on....but they make the final decision.
To think/say a LG is a HIGHER QUALITY than a HG is BS. They both can be high quality, just look different years down the road............


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

No Dax resend..David


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

I'm not trying to say that I'm the authority on quality JMs here, I only offered up my opinion about the situation and backed it up with my reasoning. I'm sorry if I came accross being pretentious or something, that was not my intention.

In fact I own more high graft dissectums than low grafts. But of the hundreds of dissectums I've seen (a majority being high grafted), the low grafted ones have almost always looked more natural especially when 20 years old or more. My only intention was to provide information on the advantages/disadvantages to high grafting.


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

"My only intention was to provide information on the advantages/disadvantages to high grafting."

Well written & clarified Matt!

Schmoo


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RE: opinion on high grafted laceleafs

I've resent David.

Dax


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RE: Excuse Us

David,

Please send me an email if you didn't get this one either:

conifers@mchsi.com

Thanks,

Dax


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