Harlequin Maple variegation problem

green_goJune 13, 2014

I have a young Harlequin maple which does not show much variation. I can see, it is still variegated and not reverted to green, but you can barely notice it - from the distance, it looks like plain green maple.
What am I doing wrong? The light is not an issue - the tree gets full sun. What else could trigger the disappearance of variegation?
Here it is:

Leaves close-up:

Some leaves on the top of the branches show a bit more variegation:

And this is what I hoped to get - this picrure is taken from the mature Harlequin maple at the Botanical Garden just a week ago:

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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Not sure on your particular tree. Am I assuming it showed more variegation in the past?

For what its worth, after this terrible winter my Metasequoia Ogon leafed out fairly green this spring and then took on its usual bright yellow / variegation.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 12:51AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you have to cut out all green branches ...

your coloration looks off also ... perhaps a frost at leaf emergence ...

your leaves dont look like mine ... and to my eye.. not like those in the last pic ... meaning simply.. maybe you are comparing apples to oranges ... yours is definitely variegated ... the colors are just different ... see link ...

but.. green is green.. and you didnt plant a green tree.. eh???

i hope you know how to prune ... the only suggestion i offer... is take large branches off in pieces ... so the last cut can be proper... as compared.. to trying to lop off a 6 or 8 foot branch.. and leaving a large scar ....


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 8:15AM
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My variegated sweet gum was also much less dramatic this spring when it leafed out, but is becoming more intense as the leaves mature. Has your tree always had this lack of contrast, or is this a new thing? Yes, you must keep any reverted limbs pruned off, but I would not call any of these in that situation. Not all trees are created equal if you get my drift. Your's may not now or ever look like the one in the Botanical Garden, but I'd call this a wait and see situation. There are cultural aspects can come into play with intensity of variegation as well, such as sun exposure.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 7:25PM
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When I purchased it in the summer of 2012, it has its normal variegated leaves typical for other Harlequin maples with clearly defined white edges. In 2013, when leaves emerged, they were already pretty much the same as this year - the variegation was not the same as when I purchased it. Not sure what caused it - maybe, something in my soil? But the tree seems to love the soil, since it is growing fast.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 8:43PM
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I found this on another forum:

âÂÂI have observed in the nursery, and in older plantings, that culture may have a large influence on the retention of variegation. Plants that are overfed and produce exceptionally long shoots of new growth may have the variegation suppressed in that wood. Markings may also be masked, or overcome, with excessive nitrogen feeding in the absence of sufficient phosphate and potash.âÂÂ

Maybe, my maple is overfed? I am throwing it a handful of granular fertilizer in early spring, and them give it some later in the season. I probably should put it on a lean diet and see if this will change anything...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 9:04PM
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"Maybe, my maple is overfed? I am throwing it a handful of granular fertilizer in early spring, and them give it some later in the season. I probably should put it on a lean diet and see if this will change anything..."

Yes, overfed. Stop feeding it.

But sometimes they just revert.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 7:50AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Don't fertilize the plants around or near it either. That includes the lawn. Also understand when a tree is transplanted, that it is normal for it not to behave normal. They are busy trying to save their own lives growing roots. It may very well return to "normal" over the next couple years. I once read that it can easily take ten years before a tree truly behaves "normally". We have a dogwood that is just now beginning to grow after 6+ years. We have a sugar maple that took 3 years to produce fall color, and another 4 years to produce more typical fall color, and another 2 before it was more than a "quick" color change. In short, nothing to do but wait, and be careful of cultural practices.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 10:55AM
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