Acer forest planting

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Acer forest planting

Post  cmd5235 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:21 pm

Hey all! First, I just wanted to say how great this site is- I've been browsing it all the time since I found it recently, what a great resource!

I have a question/ need for some help or if you could point me to a good online resource. I have quite a few (20 or so) small Japanese Maple seedlings that I have collected over the past two or three years. They all came from a family members tree, which I am thinking of air layering in a few weeks. Anyway, I live in an apartment with my fiance, and have the maples in small plastic training pots, so that I could take them with me. I would love to grow them in the ground to develop a good trunk in all of them, but alas I cannot, seeing as how I don't own any ground space right now. Instead, I am growing them on our second floor deck. The deck is not very big, and I have them on a two tier rack getting morning sun only (the afternoon sun dries them out, combined with the constant air movement). I want to use them in a forest planting. There are a few I will grow as single trees in the future, but for my space and their current developmental state, I think a forest planting would work great for the rest. Any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

I work a 24 hr shift every Thursday into Friday, so I won't be able to post any pictures until tomorrow AM. I also don't have a huge, low pot. The biggest I have that I will probably use is about 14-16 inches long, and is an oval shape. Again, I will post a picture tomorrow. Thanks all! : )

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  lordy on Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:46 pm

OK, here goes. And you probably wont want to hear it, but for two reasons, you should plant them back in the ground. First, you live in an environment that is not great for growing trees. And second, if you want the seedlings to grow into trees to use in the forest planting, they wont be developing very quickly at all in plastic pots. If your family member would permit you to, why not arrange to start a grow bed at the site of the parent tree. It obviously does well enough to produce seeds, so should be able to support seedlings. After a few years you can put together that forest. For the short term, go ahead and air layer the parent tree branch and you can have that at your apt. in a few months. Maple forests are not difficult to get very nice results with.

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  Tyler on Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:56 pm

An interesting point to bring up about the parent tree. On CBC (national radio in Canada) there was a piece about a horticultural student looking at growth in parent-sibling growing environments versus in areas away from home. Long story short, it turns out trees had a more aggressive growth when planted with competition, that is to say not around the parent tree environment. Sibling trees generally played nice with one-another in the safe environment.

I would say its not imperative to get them in the ground next to where they were collected , but it is to get them back in the ground regardless.


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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  lordy on Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:04 pm

Tyler wrote:An interesting point to bring up about the parent tree. On CBC (national radio in Canada) there was a piece about a horticultural student looking at growth in parent-sibling growing environments versus in areas away from home. Long story short, it turns out trees had a more aggressive growth when planted with competition, that is to say not around the parent tree environment. Sibling trees generally played nice with one-another in the safe environment.

I would say its not imperative to get them in the ground next to where they were collected , but it is to get them back in the ground regardless.

My thought was not necessarily to be close to the parent tree, but I presumed that it was fairly nearby making it more easily accessed. Even if it wasnt nearby, it was on the property of a family member, who would likely be amenable to a grow bed there, since the possibility seems to exist for an air layering in the future. Nothing to do with grow properties of being near the parent plant. Sorry if I was unclear.

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  JimLewis on Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:28 pm

Well, he/she's already said they canNOT be grown in the ground, so that seems moot to me. But before we can give any concrete advice, we need to see the trees -- all that will be used in the forest composition, at least.

To me, the word "seedlings" indicates that they do need to grow out before being put into a forest composition -- perhaps in 1-gallon pots.

It may turn out that because of current space limitations, a forest composition is a bit ambitious and he/she might want to think of other multi-tree groupings instead??????

But we'll see when we see the plants.

BTW, "Northeast" is a rather large area. Pinpointing it a bit will also help us.


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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  lordy on Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:40 pm

Well, he/she's already said they canNOT be grown in the ground, so that seems moot to me.

Really? Is that what this says?

"I would love to grow them in the ground to develop a good trunk in all of them, but alas I cannot, seeing as how I don't own any ground space right now. "

To me, this says that at the apartment there is nowhere to plant. It does not say definitively that the family member/property owner where the parent tree is would disallow him planting the seedlings there. It was a thought, a suggestion of a possible avenue for furthering his desire.

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  RKatzin on Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:06 pm

Hi, I have been using three methods for growing Japanese Maple forests. I have not settled on a best way, as yet.

Each method has it's own merit and I'm beginning to see that a combination of all three will develop the most refined forest.

When I gather my seedlings I plant them all in individual 3" pots and grow them for one season in those. The next spring I bareroot them all and pot them up to a 6" pot. The biggest ones I plant in groups of three. The smallest I plant one to a pot and the middle size I plant two to a pot. Again I let them grow for a season and in the third spring I have trees the same age, but different sizes.

I now arrange the groups together into a forest. I've done several on slabs and though I was quite happy with the results, I think now that a wooden box at this point would improve progress in development. This spring I've built boxes for all my slab planted forests.

Looks like this:


Another method I'm using is field growing trees for forest planting. The singles I planted, the smallest of the seedlings, have been repotted as needed and are now hardy enough to be planted out. I can tell right off that these trees will make a completely different type of forest.

In ground growth is explosive, jumping up to an inch trunk in one summer, but coarse. I will grow and chop these for a couple of seasons and then dig them all and plant my forest. I see a much older, deep in the forest grove of trees, compared to the more park-like setting of the pot grown trees.

The other way I've done this is to just plant as many trees seedling as will fit into a large container and just let them run for a couple of years. Then bare root the whole mess and seperate them into groups and arranging them into a forest. This happened as a matter of course, having a bunch of seedlings left over so I throw them all into a big pot.

Another method, as mentioned, but I'm only beginning down this road, is to airlayer a bunch of new trees for a forest. I have a large Coralbark Maple (Sango kaku) and two Amur Maples, a Zelcova, an English Hawthorn and a Chinese Elm that I'm going to airlayer this season.

Well, there's something to think on, hope I did you some good, Rick


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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  cmd5235 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:08 pm

Hey everyone-
I would love to put them in the ground, and have them in small pots so that I could move them. Here's my dilemma with all of that. I could put them back in the ground at the family house. However, the house is looking to be sold and the property subdivided in the next year. So putting them back in the ground or a grow box there probably won't work. I could get some rapid growth, but at the same time, I could get stuck with having to try to move them in the fall or winter. That being said, the parent tree will likely be removed, hence why I wanted to collect seedlings and a few layers. The tree was there since I was born, and I have many fond memories of it. I'm trying to take those memories with me, in the form of (future) bonsai.

I know I don't have the most conducive location for bonsai development, and I may be moving apartments in a year or two (hopefully into a house), so I'm trying to do the best with what I have. I thought of a forest, or even a 5/7/what have you group planting for both the ease of care and the reduction of space so that I can put more of the trees in larger 1 and even 5 gallon plastic pots. Let me attach some picture. Again, I thank you all for the input- it is greatly appreciated.

And fyi, I live in the Philly area. Anyone know of any good clubs or groups?


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pictures

Post  cmd5235 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:12 pm



This is the pot I'm thinking to use with a matchbook next to it. I'd love a lower and bigger pot, but don't have access to one now.



Trees from a distance (I apologize for quality)



Trees up close
If you were wondering, the vent on the wall is NOT functional

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  JimLewis on Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:58 pm

PENNSYLVANIA - Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Bonsai Society. Meets at Greater Plymouth Community Center, 2910 Jolly Rd, Plymouth Meeting, PA, third Friday, 7:00 PM. Linda Brant, 610-948-6380. Email: lbrant@comcast.net Website: http://pabonsai.org

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  JimLewis on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:00 pm

Really? Is that what this says?
(Sarcasm intended, I assume}

Apparently it was . . .

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  cmd5235 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:39 pm

I feel as though I've created more arguing between members then anything else.. : /

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  lordy on Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:10 am

JimLewis wrote:
Really? Is that what this says?
(Sarcasm intended, I assume}

Apparently it was . . .
What it says is that some of us are reading into the statements things that were not said. It would really be nice for EVERYONE to state facts, not what they may just perceive as facts, and not jump to conclusions, nor treat people as though you were the principal scolding some unruly student. Can you do that????

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  RKatzin on Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:23 am

Hi, very nice bunch of seedlings! The parent tree must be a cross between a regular Acer Palmatum and an Atropurpureum. I gather seedlings from one like it and they're just like these. Mostly green leafed with the occasional red leafed one, about one in a hundred. The true cross is green with red blush and a few seedlings will come like that, but not that many.

I don't see any reason why you can not do your forest on the same cart you're keeping the trees on. I'd make two boxes to fit the top shelf, something around 18"x24"x4", and plant each with ten to fifteen trees. That should take care of most of your trees. Maybe plant a group of three in your nice pot.

I have bare rooted hundreds of these young Japanese Maples while in their first flush of leaves in spring. As long as they're kept in the shade they pass through in fine shape. I have lost some to extremes. One season it froze the day after I had done several plantings and I lost a few in each planting. My bad for not bringing them under cover. One season it jumped into the 100's for three days in early May and took some trees I had just done. You can do it, but be prepared to take action if the weather heads south suddenly.

You can not do a forest without bare rooting the trees. The arrangement of the roots is as important as the placement of the trees. You want to avoid the same pitfalls as you would with any tree. Over-sized roots and cross-over roots must be sorted out. When planting trees close together about 1/3 of the root is removed from the side of the trunks that face each other. The roots facing outward should radiate evenly from all trunks and the roots facing the interior of the composition should be trimmed to weaken their structure and limit their growth.

I will tell you, building your first forest is a riot! I think I rebuilt my first about six times before I settled on a layout I was happy with. On the Bonsai4me site is a very good spread on how to set up a forest planting. An extra set of hands is a definite bonus. Best of luck all the way, Rick

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  Marty Weiser on Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:47 am

I lead a forest workshop for the Inland Empire Bonsai Society last month using similar maple seedlings that seemed to be a success - i.e. I got several compliments and no one has told me their trees all died. We planted them in shallow wooden boxes that were made with 1/8" hardware cloth (wire mesh) bottoms). I made some fairly nice ones, but they can be made from 1x2 or 1x3 stock (actually 0.75" thick by 1.5 or 2.5" wide) quite easily. The mesh allows you to poke wires up through the bottom where you want the trees - you can arrange the wires until you are happy, twist a bit up through an adjacent hole, and have a good way to anchor the trees by wrapping the wire around them. Below is the list of box sizes I was making and the suggested number of trees.

Size Trees Price
6” x 6” 2, 3, or 5
6” x 9.75” 5, 7, or 9
8” x 13” 9 – 13
10” x 16.25” >13

One of the biggest issues I have seen in creating forests from small trees is to not have enough trees for the space. You want some of the trees to be quite closely spaced. In addition, you want them very irregularly spaced. I have found that you can develop some trunk size differences in the potted forest by allow the main trees more foliage and keeping the others pruned back. The larger root run, even with competition from neighboring trees, allows for more growth than in individual pots.

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  drgonzo on Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:23 am

RKatzin wrote:
I will tell you, building your first forest is a riot! I think I rebuilt my first about six times before I settled on a layout I was happy with.

This made me smile as its just so very true. I sat there and futzed and futzed with 5 (yes 5) Beech trees for hours, finally piled dirt on them to cover the roots, soaked it down, left it overnight and got back to it the next day! This spring it was expanded to 13 trees and is much nicer. But I still look at it and want to move one of the trees over a little. I'll probably always be futzing with the damned thing.

-Jay


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Thanks Marty

Post  RKatzin on Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:54 am

That's a great idea Marty! I'm going to build one like that tomorrow and see how it works. By the way, the box I pictured is constructed from recycled pallet material.

I've never used wiring to make forests, not that I'm opposed to wiring by any means. The way I do it is I first prep all my trees and heel them into a pile of soil in roughly the position they will be planted in. I lay down a layer of soil and place a small mound where the trees will be placed. Then I transfer from the pile to the pot arranging the trees loosely and holding them in place with a bit of soil. Once they're all set up I do minor adjustments as I add in the rest of the soil. It all gets locked in when it's watered down.

Sounds arcaic, I know, but that's what you get when you teach yourself. I'd love to do some workshopping, always pleased to learn and willing to try something different, but they're all so far away. Spokane is a bit of a stretch for a day trip. Thanks for the info though, it is appreciated, Rick

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  drgonzo on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:19 am

Rick

I used to do it that way, now I find as I work with Larger trees in my forests I wire everything to a 1/4 wire mesh screen cut to fit in the pot (Peter Adams style) and reinforced with a 3/16 wire oval, It takes forever to carefully wire each tree down and is awkward to do but I sleep better knowing that the 30 inch high number one In my Beech forest isn't going anywhere (and neither is anyone else) when the wind kicks up in thunderstorms.
-jay

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  cmd5235 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:13 pm

Thank you so much everyone! I'm going out to my local Home Depot today to build a box. In regards to the different varieties, I'm only putting the green foliage together, I don't want the clash. However, I have a lot of red maple seedlings. I'd love to have one or two single tree plantings in a few years, but may do a group planting with them in years to come.

One question- when it comes to root pruning when they are in a grow box or later a pot, how is it done? Is the entire forest planting pulled apart every few years to root prune each individual tree, and then reassembled?

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Re: Acer forest planting

Post  RKatzin on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:49 pm

Hi, once the planting is a couple of years old it will need repotting. The roots will have grown into a solid mass and the whole planting is removed from the container and the roots trimmed back as one. Runaway roots, ones that grow out of proportion to the rest of the pack, need to be weakened or removed and replaced with smaller roots.

Once you have the mat out and cleaned you can cut wedges out between trees with shears to allow fresh soil to be worked in. I do this on the second report. On the first the trees are usually still loose enough and the removal of the runaways opens enough space for fresh soil. By the third or fourth year the trees are pretty well knitted together and wedges need to be cut in. Rick

BTW, I was born in Reading, raised in Birdsboro, Douglasville area. Futzed is a word I haven't heard used in a sentence in many years. Good ol' Pennsylvania Dutch!

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Re: Acer forest planting

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