Trying Al's gritty mix with my Maples in France.

fabricecApril 17, 2013

Hi all !
I've been reading Al's posts about water retention for a while now, enough to convince me to give it a try. I have about 30 (little) maples in my (little) garden and ever since I read al's view on plants I have been on the lookout for the proper ingredients.
Finding pine bark is no problem here, you can find it in any garden center ; for granite I had to grab a few bags of aquarium gravel which I thought would be the perfect size.
I also used high fired clay beads that I crushed into correct proportions and or lava rock that we can find here in two sizes, big and small.

I sifted all, stuck to the recommended 1/1/1 ratio and started to repot all of my maples. That could be a silly move but I was confident in Al's theory.

I washed the maples thoroughly in a water barrel by pumping them up and down, cut the big roots, leaving the fine ones. Needless to say I was surprised at how muddy and sticky the soil was sometimes.

The only different thing I dared compared to Al's way of doing was my using of recycled plastic pots which are very effective in terms of drainage for they have slots all the way from bottom to top to let more air circulate.

I fear I might have to water more that way but that's not a big issue.

So far, I haven't lost any since repotting.

Real Spring has just started here so most of them are still in buds.

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fabricec

More pics :

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 1:10PM
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fabricec

Pot Close-up :

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 1:11PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Fantastic!
I've never had a maple die after a re-potting in Al's mixes. I've even dug 'em up and potted them in a mix of bark and perlite, and nothing else.

When you water, water slowly and thoroughly, really taking the time to saturate the mix evenly.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:40PM
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fabricec

Thanks Josh !

I'm really pleased.
I read once that trees were great survivors and it's true.
I had a feel that watering slowly would be better, and that's what I usually do. Thanks for the advice, Josh.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 1:11PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

My pleasure!
If my containers get really dry, I'll water in a couple passes, a little at a time. And don't forget to fertilize regularly. With my maples and conifers, I typically fertilize every 2 - 3 weeks.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 1:37PM
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fabricec

Josh,

I have this fertilizer plan ready. I'll start in May until october with Biogold, a Japanese ecofriendly fert Maillot recommends on his site. I have never fertilized my maples before and i'm really eager to see what the difference will be.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 1:45PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The difference will be certain :-)

Josh

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 2:34PM
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fabricec

Hi all !

I wanted to share a picture of an Acer Saotome given to a friend. I didn't have enough of the right stuff for the 1:1:1 gritty mix at that time, so it gave me the opportunity to try the 5:1:1.

The acer is in a plastic container double potted for aesthestic reasons. I know I should have chosen a light colored planter but black suits it well and the place will never be too hot even in summer. The plastic container rests on a bed of high fired clay beads.

So far the maple has not been fertilised.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 2:02PM
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fabricec

Margaret Bee (left) and Acer Aconitifolium (right ) doing well in gritty mix.
The only maple left which is not in gritty mix is marvelous Hondo Ji (middle) in Air Pot.
More pics to come !
Bye!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:27AM
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flora2(7)

Hi
I enjoyed very much looking at your pictures--I don't know enough about maples but I do love them (after all I live in the Pacific Northwest of the US)
Thanks for the pics

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:34AM
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fabricec

Thanks Flora!
I post more pics as I take them out of my shabby "greenhouse" :)
Shinobu Ga Oka in terracotta pot

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:46PM
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fabricec

From left to right :

Acer Campestre Pulverulentum
Acer C. Postelense
Acer Ao Meshime No Uchi Shidare
Acer Momiji Gawa
Acer Green Globe ? ?
Acer Margaret Bee
Acer Hondo Ji
Acer Aconitifolium
Acer Hogyoku " the jewel "

All transplanted in Al's gritty mix this year.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:47PM
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fabricec

Sorry Hogyoku does not appear on the picture.

A dozen other small maples to come and that's it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:50PM
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