Acer Shirasawanum 'Sensu' Repot

peapod13(8 South Sound WA)March 10, 2011

I noticed today after work that many of the buds on my "Sensu" looked noticeably larger than the rest and about half of the larger buds were also split. So, I decided not to wait any longer to repot this tree. Here's some pictures of the process.

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq265/Peapod1313/Gardens%20and%20Trees/Sensuinnurserypot.jpg

This is where I started.

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq265/Peapod1313/Gardens%20and%20Trees/Containerwithscreen.jpg

New Container

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq265/Peapod1313/Gardens%20and%20Trees/nurseryrootball.jpg

root ball as it came out of 2 gallon nursery pot

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq265/Peapod1313/Gardens%20and%20Trees/bareroots.jpg

Bare roots after being cleaned

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq265/Peapod1313/Gardens%20and%20Trees/incedarcontainer.jpg

Placed in new pot (sorry about focus)

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq265/Peapod1313/Gardens%20and%20Trees/finished.jpg

Finished

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq265/Peapod1313/Gardens%20and%20Trees/tools.jpg

Tools used. I borrowed some of my fly tying tools to pick the dirt out of the root ball and then to pack the gritty mix back around the roots after repoting.

I did cut on pretty big root that was sort of "J" shaped and went directly back under the trunk of the tree. I hope it didn't take too much out of the root mass. Many of the very fine roots were lost in washing the old soil off the roots, but there was easily 75 to 80 percent of the original roots left after washing and cutting out the one large root mentioned above.

Anyway, now I wait and hope the tree grows in new fine roots and grows well this year.

Blake

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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

I noticed today after work that many of the buds on my "Sensu" looked noticeably larger than the rest and about half of the larger buds were also split. So, I decided not to wait any longer to repot this tree. Here's some pictures of the process.

This is where I started.

New Container

root ball as it came out of 2 gallon nursery pot

Bare roots after being cleaned

Placed in new pot (sorry about focus)

Finished

Tools used.

I borrowed some of my fly tying tools to pick the dirt out of the root ball and then to pack the gritty mix back around the roots after repoting.

I did cut on pretty big root that was sort of "J" shaped and went directly back under the trunk of the tree. I hope it didn't take too much out of the root mass. Many of the very fine roots were lost in washing the old soil off the roots, but there was easily 75 to 80 percent of the original roots left after washing and cutting out the one large root mentioned above.

Anyway, now I wait and hope the tree grows in new fine roots and grows well this year.

Blake

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 12:52AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Excellent work, Blake!

I love the new container...I'm rather fond of these decorative wooden "barrels."

The old root system wasn't as large as I'd expect, but now that it's in the gritty mix
I bet the root-mass will increase greatly.

Again, fantastic work. Make sure to update when the tree is in leaf.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:41AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Agreed - great job - exemplary! Your tree will be just fine.

Here's a tip: You have all your branches emanating from 2 points on the trunk. There is a whorl of branches all originating from the same spot on the trunk above the lower two branches. You should reduce that whorl to only 2 branches and reduce the length of the two branches you leave. If you don't restrain the top, the lower branches will weaken and eventually die. Also, if you don't restrain the upper branches, they will fatten quickly (because that's where the tree WANTS to send energy) and become disproportionately heavy. Don't worry, cutting back like this will not affect the health or growth of the tree - it will back-bud like mad! As you approach managing the trees energy, remember to limit branches emanating from the same point to only 2 or 3 or you'll develop large, thick unsightly 'knuckles' at the points where multiple branches originate.

With maples, you need to direct focus on energy management with the lower branches in mind - you can always build a top on this tree because that's where it WANTS to grow, but the lower branches are harder to keep, unless you take care of them properly.

Al

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 2:55PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Thanks for the encouragement Josh and Al. I'm sure with help from this group, even I'll be able to grow some nice trees.

Based on Al's advice above, I'm willing to remove branches and prune the one's that remain. Can you guys take a look at the picture I've attached and see what you think before I start making cuts?

Any and all comments are appreciated.

Thanks again,
Blake

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 4:09PM
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jodik_gw

Nice work! And the properties of the gritty mix will make the larger container a non-issue. I bet it will quickly colonize with healthy new roots!

I think it might be time to check my own trees, wintering out in the garage...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 4:14PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Very good. Remove the small bud & short branch in the crotches of what will remain, too.

Can you see how much wood is developing and how the knuckle is already starting to form where all the branches come together? Add the growth from that little bud in the crotch where the 4 large branches and by summer's end you'd have a big bulge there that would immediately grab your attention as something badly out of balance. You'll be much happier with the structure (especially down the road) if you attend to things when they're still easy to remedy. Good job!

Al

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 4:22PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Thanks Jodi.

Al, thanks again for the encouragement and advice. After you mentioned it I did see the "knuckle or buldge" that has already began to form. So here's the tree after getting a pedicure, a new house and a haircut.

I trimmed everything but the three main branches on the top saddle/crotch/whorl including several buds and small branches eminating from the crotch. Then I trimmed the three upper branches to two nodes. I left the three lower branches "as is".

I know the sap has definitely begun to rise in this little tree because the wounds began to bleed within minutes of pruning. Based on a few searches it would seem the consensus is to not treat the pruning cut with anything. I'll do a little more searching and reading later this evening, but in the mean time will gladly take any advice on the matter.

Now to protect it from direct sun and wind (high wind warning here tonight), let it heal and wait for the leaves to emerge.

I think I'll leave it in the garage another night or two (we've already have reports of 50 mph wind gusts).

Blake

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 8:21PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Yes - leave it in the garage until it starts to leaf out, then move it in and out as temps allow, unless you can rely on temps above freezing after it leafs out. You'll see that the top will still be very strong & you'll probably want to restrain it again, mid-summer. Don't worry about the sap/bleeding - no maple tree ever 'bled to death' except in the dreams of old wives who carry tales. ;-) Strong work!

Al

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 8:44PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Nice cuts!

I just removed three feet from one of my Trident Maples yesterday.
Now I'm thinking about shortening the branches, as well.
Great Thread!

Josh

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 8:53PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Thanks Al,

Okay, I'll leave it in the garage until leaf out (which I'm guessing, with all the buds splitting, will be in a week or two).

Although temps can change day to day or even minute to minute this time of year in the PNW, the snow is gone and we are back to "normal" temps for this time of year (mid to high 30's at night and high 40's to low 50's during the day).

Blake

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:00PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Thanks Josh,

I'd love to see pictures of your tree.

Blake

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:18PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Blake, thank you for the invitation.

Here's my Trident Maple (Acer buergerianum) back in November. I chop it down in the Spring,
and I chop it throughout the growing season....even so, it's difficult to restrain this vigorous species.

And here's how it looked after this spring's chop, prior to the trimming of the upper branche tips.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 10:11AM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

This is the seedling you were trying to identify?

It's interesting that the leader shot up without branching. From a purely aesthetic perspective, it would seem chopping the leader was the right thing to do. You can always train a branch to form a new leader, and now with the branches, it has more of a "tree" form.

Is that this years tiny little leaves in the last picture?

Blake

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:36AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, this is that seedling that I was trying to identify!
Collected in mid-June of 2008, so it's nearly 3 year's old now. Time flies!

Believe me, it'll develop at least two new leaders this year, and I'll have to chop them both....
after which, it'll send up a third leader (that I'll let stay for Autumn color purposes).

Yeah, those are this year's leaves.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 12:10PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Hey Josh - I'm curious why you keep the JM in the pot? I think it was you that grows the peppers and starts them indoors and then you plant them in the ground because they do better there - so why not the maple? Just like being able to move it around to show it off? Or do some just do better on pots?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 5:53PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Redshirt!
Yeah, I like being able to move it around and rotate it for even sun exposure.
I have another Trident Maple that I might put into the ground...if I find the right spot.
They'd surely grow more aggressively in-ground.

The peppers are more productive in the ground with less attention from me.
Plus, I like to stroll around the garden.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 8:33PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Another photo of my freshly repotted Sensu from an overly zealous beginner.

The focus is off (again) but you can see that the buds have all split and one of them looks like it's starting to show the beginnings of a leaf.

Blake

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:25PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Leaves beginning to emerge on this tree also. For anyone searching for photos of different stages of budswell, notice how much more the buds swelled before leaves began to emerge.

Blake

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 9:21PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Update on the Sensu.

Leaves are mostly out now. Tree appears to be back budding some as well.

Blake

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 8:31PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Rockin!

Al

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 9:12PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Update:
The Sensu is really brushy now. Not really what I expected. I can see this one will take lots of growing and pruning over many years to develope a nice shape.

As long as the trees continue to make rapid changes, I'll continue to post frequent updates. I'm enjoying watching these trees and the changes in size, shape, color etc of the leaves.

I hope others are enjoying the trees as well and I don't over do the updates.

Blake

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 7:41PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Make sure you keep all those little buds occurring at branch bifurcations cleared out to avoid unsightly heaviness there - two branches originating from one point only is best.

AL

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 9:21PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

I probably should have removed some of the buds earlier in the process. You may have even meant that when we were talking about reducing the limbs, but I didn't grasp exactly how the buds would sprout and grow. This little guy is quite brushy now and will need additional trimming. I can also see by the way it buds/back buds that I will constantly be pruning to achieve the shape I want.

Here's a full tree pic.

Thanks for following along with me.

Blake

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 9:47PM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Update:
Pruning/thinning trees based on new understanding of how trees grow. The Sensu has had many of new shoots removed and all shoots have been trimmed to one or two sets of leaves. As with the Tamukeyama, the goal here is to begin shaping the basic skeleton over the next several years.

Blake

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 9:53PM
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