Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

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Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  kingfisher on Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:05 pm

I planted a red Acer Palmutum about 2ft tall in my garden some 12 years ago and am now considering moving.
It would be impossible to dig the tree up now ,it is in heavy clay beneath my garden,it has been growing untouched and it is around 9ft tall.
The trunk at he base is 3 inches think changing to 2 inches just above the ground.
There are no roots at ground level as the ground level was raised 3 years ago.
I would really like to take the tree with me in some form and i thought of maybe making a bonsai from it.
But i am unsure as to the best way to achieve this,and how long it might take to air layer it as time may be a constraint.
I have read somwhere that the red acers are slow to produce roots from layering.
Any thoughts or ideas welcome.



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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  0soyoung on Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:42 pm

It should be okay to dig it now, since it is leafless and dormant.

If you are going to replant it straight away, just wrap the root ball (damp soil and all up to the trunk) in polyethylene sheeting (aka visqueen) - of course remove it when planting in the new location. - and tie it up securely with thin rope. When it is in the new location you may need to stake it until next fall so that the new roots won't get broken by wind caused rocking of the root ball in the ground.

If weight is an issue or you are planning to pot it, you can bare root it by gently washing away the soil with a hose pipe (soak a clay root ball in a tub of water for a few hours first). Again you can temporarily wrap the roots in poly sheeting after putting some damp sphagnum or dampened paper inside. You can also cut it down some for convenience in transporting the tree to your new location. Again, the tree will need some support through next season.

All those 'difficult rooting' stories are irrelevant. You are transplanting a tree. If it helps to know, your tree is very likely grafted onto a more vigorous acer palmatum root stock. Your two biggest concerns are 1) keeping the roots damp and aerated and 2) not letting the roots get any colder than -10F but cooler than 40F.

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  kingfisher on Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:25 pm

I don't think it will be possible to dig it up,it would do too much damage to the root system as the whole tree is surrounded by concrete,also I know the roots go down a long way as the ground level was raised and it was planted quite deeply originally.

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  0soyoung on Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:07 pm

kingfisher wrote:I don't think it will be possible to dig it up,it would do too much damage to the root system as the whole tree is surrounded by concrete,also I know the roots go down a long way as the ground level was raised and it was planted quite deeply originally.

So why did you ask the question?

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  kingfisher on Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:39 pm

I did say originally that i didn't think I would be able to dig the tree up.
My question was whether layering would work best and how long it might take.

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  kcpoole on Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:22 pm

kingfisher wrote:I did say originally that i didn't think I would be able to dig the tree up.
My question was whether layering would work best and how long it might take.

Any where from 4 - 6 months to layer and only if you are experienced. Some Japanese Maple are difficult to layer.

how much was the soil raised?
to me it looks like a reasonably Easy dig to remove entirely. Good access on 3 sides, and the back is not hard up against the house.

Ken

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  kingfisher on Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:28 pm

Ground level was raised about 12-15 inches,i was just worried about damaging a lot of the roots as it is very heavy compacted clay beneath the tree.

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  Sorcertree on Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:15 pm

I wouldn't want to leave what could be an excellent base behind.

I would dig around those three sides a little and cut some roots.

Wrassle that thing out of there.

Chop that large branch off. And the little one to that old scar/nodes, easy out!

You'd have to pamper it, but. ... what lies beneath?

It could be wonderful!

Sorce

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  fiona on Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:21 pm

A lot of the trees (of varying sizes) sold in nurseries and top end garden centres are dug up by using a big machine that undercuts them and brings up the rootball. The undercutting machine generally reduces the size of the rootball simply by slicing through the bottom parts of the roots.

I don't think it would be a big issue to use a similar technique although obviously (I assume) you would be using a good old spade and loppers. I've dug up a bigger Acer than that using spades and loppers and from a good Scottish clay soil. I'd give it a go. If you have a tree nursery or decent garden centre nearby, you might be able to snaffle a large tree pot off them.


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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  kingfisher on Wed Dec 24, 2014 6:32 pm

I will remove some soil and see how far down the first roots are,but I think I will definitely try and dig it up and place in a large pot,then I may need some more help to decide where and what to cut and remove.

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  kingfisher on Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:25 pm

I have removed some soil and the first roots are about 12 inches below ground level,but the trunk is around 4 inches thick at the lowest point above the roots.
Is a 4 inch trunk a little too big for bonsai ???

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  0soyoung on Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:17 pm

kingfisher wrote:Is a 4 inch trunk a little too big for bonsai ???

nope!

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  kingfisher on Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:29 pm

Ok cool,i will attempt to dig the whole tree up and post pics of the trunk and roots.
How much should I cut down to ensure the roots have the best chance of growing well

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  M. Frary on Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:53 pm

4" trunks are perfect! Gives you a tree around 24" to 30" tall.

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  kingfisher on Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:04 pm

Ok, the tree is finally out of the ground,could now do with advice as to where to cut it down to and which,if any,branches to keep



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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  Marty Weiser on Thu Jan 01, 2015 3:00 pm

I would just get it growing well this year and worry about styling next year or the year after. If it has lots of top growth this year that indicates that the roots are doing well. In that case I would cut some of the long, leggy branches back in mid season (mid-June here in zone 5) and you should be rewarded with some lower buds that may give you ideas about the ultimate cut back. You appear to have good, but not great roots and the tree needs foliage to develop more roots.

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

Post  Sorcertree on Thu Jan 01, 2015 5:23 pm

I'd cut that log off the top at 14 inches, and seal it.

I doubt the roots are going to be able to keep that going, even if it could, you really don't need that section anymore.

Let that young section feed your root growth. And it looks good to bud below 12in too.

Sorce

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Re: Need advice 12 year old acer palmutum

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