Need Help?
The Sooner Promise of Satisfaction Share Us & Earn Sooner Rewards Save $$$ Rated Top 5 for Quality and Satisfaction Rated Top 5 for Quality and Satisfaction
 

Japanese Maple Tree Care, Facts and Growing Tips

Japanese Maple Tree Care, Facts and Growing Tips

Seedling Japanese Maple Trees
Growing Japanese maple trees from seed is one of the most common methods of propagation. The seedling trees produced are of two types, the standard green Japanese maple tree known as Acer palmatum, and the red Japanese maple tree known as Acer palmatum Atropurpureum. The green variety of Japanese maple trees are most commonly used as rootstock or understock for grafting purposes, although, they also make good landscaping trees. The red seedlings are most commonly used as landscape trees, but can also be used as rootstock for grafting.
Seedling Japanese maples trees will have varying characteristics, just as each child from the same two parents, has differences. I have grown tens of thousands of seedling Japanese maples and have noticed the differences between seedlings vary mostly between seedlings with different parents and not so much between seedlings with the same parents. So, if you desire Japanese red maple seedlings with good dark red colored leaves, finding a seed source from trees with controlled pollination between parents, seem to result in seedlings with less variation.

Japanese maple seed is often described as difficult to germinate. I find it to be quite easy if persistent and patient. Seed can remain dormant and take up to two years to germinate. This process can be hastened if proper care is given during stratification. Stratification is the process in which the seed is subjected to either a natural or artificial climatic conditions. Most often, stratification is a cold treatment and is meant to duplicate the climate conditions during the winter months. Treatments can very from 30 days to 120 days of temperatures 34 degrees to 37 degrees. Stratification can also involve warm temperatures for a certain number of days. Some seed requires a warm and cold stratification before it will germinate. As for Japanese maple seed,seeds picked in the fall should be cold stratified for 120 days, before planting. A portion of the seed will sprout immediately, while other seed will remain dormant for the entire year and sprout the next spring. Seed can be planted in ground beds or in small pots; there is no single right way. I prefer to plant in pots, but this take a lot of space and more intense care, while ground beds are more forgiving and usually produce larger trees. Japanese maple tree seedlings can grow up to 36" in one season if all growing conditions are optimum.

One more note about seedling grown Japanese Maple trees. I have seen seed being sold by the name of selected Japanese maple trees like Bloodgood, Ever Red, Crimson Queen, etc. These varieties will only be produced by vegetative propagation like grafting or cuttings. Seed can be collected from these trees, but the seedlings will not be exact clones of the parent plant.

For information about grafting Japanese Red Maples click here.


Grafting Japanese Maple Trees
Grafting is the most popular method used to propagate hybrid varieties of Japanese maple trees. There are several reasons for using this method.
1. Grafting assures that the variety you propagating, will be exactly the same as the parent plant.
2. Experienced grafters can receive a very good percentage of successful grafts, this is important in large nurseries when controlling the cost of production is a major issue.
3. Grafting to rootstock that exhibits cold hardiness or extreme vigor makes the plant more adaptable to various climate and conditions.
The major drawbacks to grafting mostly involve the experience necessary to produce successful Japanese maple tree grafts, and the facilities that are needed. Becoming a proficient and experienced grafter usually takes many hours of practice and plenty of plant material to practice on. Learning by watching a experienced grafter is the best way to be sure you are grafting correctly. There are many different grafting techniques used by different propagators. As long as the technique used, produces successful grafts at a economical cost, consider the technique successful. If you are grafting as a hobby or to clone a Japanese maple tree for your own use, cost of production or time involved is not as much a consideration.

There are different types of propagation that fall under the title of grafting. The most commonly used method to produce Japanese maple trees is called a side graft of bench graft. This involves an understock plant, usually a seedling grown green Japanese maple tree (Acer palmatum). The understock is generally one to two years old and growing in a small pot. The upper part of the graft is called the scion. The scion is a small branch or limb that comes from the tree you want to propagate. Lace leaf and weeping varieties like Crimson Queen, Ever Red and many others, are almost entirely produced by this form of grafting. Grafting in this manner is done at different times of the year, but it seems that the months of January thru March produce the best results. The use of a bottom heated bench in a greenhouse will greatly improves the success rate. I have heard of several hobbyist grafters setting up a heated bench in their basement and using plant grow lights to successfully produce Japanese maple trees.

For information about rooting cuttings of Japanese Red Maples click here.

Producing Japanese maple trees from vegetative cuttings Producing Japanese maple trees from vegetative cuttings is another method of propagation that can be used. Rooting cuttings of this species, is not considered to be the easiest plants to put roots on, it is not an impossible task either. I have had good success rooting these varieties Bloodgood, Crimson Queen and Sango Kaku, and I plan to try many more varieties in the near future. I have read that some varieties are almost impossible to root; I believe it is a timing issue. The cuttings that I have rooted all have been taken in mid spring after the new wood has slightly hardened. I dipped the cuttings in a rooting hormone and stick them into a well drained soil mix. I like to bury one set of leaf nodes about one inch below the soil, and have two sets of leaves above the soil. I like to also wound one side of the cutting. I use an intermittent mist system to keep the cuttings from dehydrating. Roots are normally beginning to emerge 14 to 21 days after being stuck into rooting beds or pots. The cuttings I have rooted have all grown well and are becoming very nice trees. One thing to consider, when rooting the weeping varieties of Japanese maple trees, is that the trees will have to be trained to grow upward so tying and staking the trees must be done. Most weeping Japanese maple trees are grafted or budded high up on stems of none weeping varieties. This will give a nice straight trunk three or four feet above the ground before the weeping tree starts to grow downward.
For information about Insect on Japanese Red Maples click here.

Japanese maple trees are normally not affected by many insects.
Aphids are small insects about the size of a ball point pen tip, they will occasionally be found feeding on new tender growing tips of Japanese maple trees. Aphids will change color based on the color of the plant juices, they are feeding on. Although aphids multiply quickly they seldom do much damage, unless populations become excessively heavy. Aphids can easily be controlled with many general insecticides found at your local nursery or garden center. Spider mites are another insect that can also feed on Japanese maple trees, but are harder to detect. These tiny insects are about the size of a pin head. Spider mites reproduce rapidly during hot dry weather and live on the under sides of leaves this makes them tough to eradicate. The damage from spider mites is hard to detect by the untrained eye. If the mature leaves appear speckled or faded in color, I recommend checking for spider mites by placing a white piece of paper under the leaves and tap the leaves vigorously. This method will knock the mites from the leaves and onto the paper. Next, take a very close look at the paper, spider mites will be reddish colored or light colored with two brown spots on their back. Spider mites are sucking insects and drain the leaves of vital juices needed to keep the cells turgid and alive. General insecticides will not kill spider mites a miticide must be used. Contact you local nursery or garden center, they can provide you with the necessary controls.
Slugs and snails are a potential pest that feed on the leaves. These little guys are also hard to detect because, they feed at night and hide during the day. There are chemical controls and baits that can help control slugs and snails. An aluminum pie tin filled with beer, can be set around the floor of a greenhouse or garden, this will bait and drowned them. Slugs and snails are very harmful if diseases are present, they will spread the disease from plant to plant as they are traveling around the greenhouse or garden.

For information about diseases affecting Japanese Red Maples click here.

Common diseases affecting Japanese maple trees Anthracnose
This leaf blight disease affects many trees including Japanese maples. The disease is most common during warm and wet conditions. Symptoms are small rounds spots on leaves reddish purple in color. Many spots can develop into larger irregular patterns and then completely cover entire leaves. Controls include avoiding wet the foliage late in the day. Improving air circulation with fans and or controlling with chemicals from your local nursery or garden center.
Botrytis
This fungus also known as gray mold affects mostly dead or damaged plant tissue, Although, if left untreated botrytis can cause major damage to entire crops. This disease is also most aggressive in warm and wet conditions. Treatments include improving air circulation, avoiding wet conditions, pruning and properly discarding affected plant material, and chemical controls.

Fusarium
This fungus mostly creates problems in young seedlings. Damage shows up as brown or black lesions within the stem tissue at ground level. The seedlings will then start falling over. The disease can also affect other parts of the plant like stems and new buds. Control includes increasing air circulation, avoiding wet conditions and chemicals.

Verticillium
This fungus born disease is one of the most destructive diseases to affect Japanese maples as well as other plant species. Symptoms of this disease are brown or black streaks within the cambium layer of the affected limb or branch, causing death of limbs, branches or entire trees. This disease is easily spread by mechanical means like pruning with infected tools. Moderate control can best be achieved by pruning out affected plant material with sterilized pruners or clippers and burning. No known chemical control is available.
For information about Sooner Plant Farm Japanese Red Maples click here.

Seedling Japanese Maple Trees
Growing Japanese maple trees from seed is one of the most common methods of propagation. The seedling trees produced are of two types, the standard green Japanese maple tree known as Acer palmatum, and the red Japanese maple tree known as Acer palmatum Atropurpureum. The green variety of Japanese maple trees are most commonly used as rootstock or understock for grafting purposes, although, they also make good landscaping trees. The red seedlings are most commonly used as landscape trees, but can also be used as rootstock for grafting.

Seedling Japanese maples trees will have varying characteristics, just as each child from the same two parents, has differences. I have grown tens of thousands of seedling Japanese maples and have noticed the differences between seedlings vary mostly between seedlings with different parents and not so much between seedlings with the same parents. So, if you desire Japanese red maple seedlings with good dark red colored leaves, finding a seed source from trees with controlled pollination between parents, seem to result in seedlings with less variation.

Japanese maple seed is often described as difficult to germinate. I find it to be quite easy if persistent and patient. Seed can remain dormant and take up to two years to germinate. This process can be hastened if proper care is given during stratification. Stratification is the process in which the seed is subjected to either a natural or artificial climatic conditions. Most often, stratification is a cold treatment and is meant to duplicate the climate conditions during the winter months. Treatments can very from 30 days to 120 days of temperatures 34 degrees to 37 degrees. Stratification can also involve warm temperatures for a certain number of days. Some seed requires a warm and cold stratification before it will germinate. As for Japanese maple seed, Seed picked in the fall should be cold stratified for 120 days, before planting. A portion of the seed will sprout immediately, while other seed will remain dormant for the entire year and sprout the next spring. Seed can be planted in ground beds or in small pots; there is no single right way. I prefer to plant in pots, but this take a lot of space and more intense care, while ground beds are more forgiving and usually produce larger trees. Japanese maple tree seedlings can grow up to 36" in one season if all growing conditions are optimum.

One more note about seedling grown Japanese Maple trees. I have seen seed being sold by the name of selected Japanese maple trees like Bloodgood, Ever Red, Crimson Queen, etc. These varieties will only be produced by vegetative propagation like grafting or cuttings. Seed can be collected from these trees, but the seedlings will not be exact clones of the parent plant.

For information about grafting Japanese Red Maples click here.

Japanese red Maple leaves turn from red to green when the intensity of light is decreased.
Most if not all varieties of red leaf plants lose the red color if the leaves are in a shaded area. Our trees are grown close together to conserve water and help keep plants standing.This causes the new upper most leaves to become very red and the leaves that are shaded by other leaves to become green. Once these trees are given more space the red color comes back.

For information about growing Japanese Red Maplesclick here.

Tips for growing Japanese red maple trees from peat pots from Sooner Plant Farm. Soil mix, fertilizers and pot sizes. If purchasing Japanese red maple trees in peat pots from Sooner Plant Farm, follow these instructions to improve your success with our trees.

Remove trees from boxes and water thoroughly. Replant into larger containers as soon as possible.
Recommended shift up pot sizes:
3"-6" trees re-pot into 4" pots
6"-12" trees re-pot into 4" or quart pots
12"-18" trees re-pot into quarts or 1 gallon pots
18"-24" trees re-pot into 1 or 2 gallon pots

Japanese Red Maples prefer a slightly acid soil, a well drained organic soil mix is preferred.
Incorporate into soil mix a low rate of a slow release type fertilizer.
Here is a typical soil mix that can be used. Although, many other soil mixes can be used and can also produce good results. As every grower has different growing conditions, each grower will need to develop a soil mix that works best for their location and growing techniques.

Basic Japanese maple tree growing mix
3 parts ground and composted pine bark
1 part perlite
6 lbs 18-6-12 osmocote slow release fertilizer per cubic yard of soil mix
4 lbs dolomitic lime per cubic yard of soil mix
1/2 oz of micromax minor elements per cubic yard of soil mix
Again this is a soil mix to start with, and should be adjusted based on your specific needs
Keep soil evenly moist but well draining. Trees will become darker red with increased sunlight.
Trees should become salable
1 gallon in 1 year
2 gallon in 2 years
3 gallon in 3 years (shift 1 gallon plants into 3 gallon)
5 gallon in 3-4 years (shift 2 gallon plants into 5 gallon)
For information about growing Japanese Red Maples from seed click here.

 
 

Sooner Help Zone

Quote of the Day

"You will never know Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have"

Customer Testimonials

I love Sooner Plant Farm. Great source for wonderful plants, and very nice to do business with.


Kathleen
Needham, MA
September 2014