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can this japanese maple survive?

Posted by blue3too (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 8, 14 at 22:47

I purchased this japanese maple in july 2013. It was in a plastic container and I didn't plant it immediately last year. I am trying to plant it into ground now but am a little worried about the healthiness.

It just starts to grow new leaves now. When I take it out of the container, I noticed that its root actually is wrapped by burlap.

The burlap already rot. There are some small feeder root out of the burlap. But the roots seems to be very unhealthy. I just want to get some advice about the survivability of this tree:

1), from the pics, do you think there is rotten root problem? It is definitely not white and strong roots.

If it is rotten root, do you think the rotten root problem is severe enough to prevent it from survive?

2) should I cut those roots out of the burlap?

3) should I treat the tree?

thanks. I will post more pics in the reply since seems I cannot attach more than 1 pic in a post.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: can this japanese maple survive?

another pic.

RE: can this japanese maple survive?

more pics.

RE: can this japanese maple survive? 5th pic

4th pic.

RE: can this japanese maple survive?

treat with proper planting ... and proper water.. see link ...

i would insure.. that the collar around the trunk is removed ...

i hope you didnt leave it like that since you posted the pix near midnight ...

do NOT fertilize a stressed tree ...

seen a lot worse ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

RE: can this japanese maple survive?

I'm not sure how tough Japanese Maples are, but we recently moved to our new property and there was a small Waterfall Japanese Maple with a price tag of $75.00 on it planted right next to a tall Japanese Maple. There are two brick planters on both sides of the front entry, and we couldn't make sense of why the previous owners had put two in one planter and none in the other, so we dug that baby up and moved it.

At first it seemed like it wouldn't make it. A tiny $75.00 tree!! It went into shock although we watered a lot with B1 solution, and we worried all winter if it would come out of dormancy OK. You should see it now! It's leafing out all green and pretty.

This month it will get some fertilizer. We dug the hole first, and put in amendments and the roots were not exposed to air for longer than 2 minutes.

I hope you got it planted and I wish you luck!


RE: can this japanese maple survive?

"When I take it out of the container, I noticed that its root actually is wrapped by burlap."

Containerizing B&B stock isn't unusual. It's just a less-than-optimal way of holding nursery stock over.

"The burlap already rot(ted away)."

That may be true, but I would double check to make sure that is the case before planting. As Ken said, I would also remove the burlap showing around the base of the trunk. Typically, the burlap, in this type of scenario, will be embedded below the outer layer of soil. When the B&B'ed rootball is placed into the pot, soil is filled in around that, and then roots grow through the burlap into the surrounding soil. You may find that the burlap is still very much intact and just below the added soil's surface.

Also, check the level at which the tree was planted. It looks like to me that they've added lots of soil on top of the existing rootball. This excess soil needs to be removed down to the top of the original rootball. Otherwise, the tree may end up being planted too deeply.

"from the pics, do you think there is rotten root problem?"

No, that part looks fine to me. I see no evidence or rot.

"should I cut those roots out of the burlap?"

Maybe, but this question is somewhat confusing to me since you said the burlap had decayed. Is it there or is it not?

"should I treat the tree?"

If by treat, you mean address the problems I mentioned above, then yes. Otherwise, I'd need to know what you meant by treat.

RE: can this japanese maple survive?

Thanks a lot for the comments, gusy. It is so kind of you to spend time answering my questions.

The burlap is rotten away but the roots that grow out of the original burlap look brown& a little tangled together and I was wondering if I should trim all the roots that penetrate through the original burlaps. :)

But I couldn't wait and just went ahead to plant it without root-trimming in the ground that day. Hope it does well in the future.

btw, some other questions:

1. I saw different opinions about how deep the hole should be. Some people says just the depth of the root ball and don't disturb the soil below that depth. But some people says twice depth of the root ball and fill it with small stones for better drainage. I guess it probably depends on what kind of soil you have. What is your opinion here?

2. how you get the plant out of the container before transplanting it into the ground? The tree and container together is heavy and it is unwieldy to get the plant out without cutting the container, which is what I did. Is there a good way to save the container :) ?

RE: can this japanese maple survive?

do NOT trim the roots... in this picture ... you are making much to do about nothing ...

there are horror stories.. this is NOT one of them ...

you obviously have the rotting kind of burlap [some isnt] ... i would not spend time making sure its all degraded ... EXCEPT for that collar ...

find the trunk/root interface.. and insure it is at soil level ... do not loosen soil below that.. or the tree might sink as the soil resettles ...

you are severely stressing it.. if it isnt fully planted by now .... especially if it is already leafed out ...

i dont understand.. when you have pix of it out of the pot.. why you are asking to get it out of the pot ...

i give you two thumbs up about trying to research it all ... but you are being overwhelmed by info.. that does not apply to you...

please read the link i provided above.. it was written by brandon.. who is also responding to you above ...


RE: can this japanese maple survive?

Go check on the tree you planted. Make sure the root flare is visible to you. That is the part where the roots come out of the trunk. You can keep this root flare 2 inches above ground level, then cover up with the soil you dug out, but don't cover the place where the first roots start coming out of the trunk. Look at some old trees around you, you can see how the trunk flares out where it goes into the ground. That part is the root flare. It needs to be above ground. All roots should point away from the trunk, they should not be curving back towards the trunk or appear to be circling it. When you plant it add two inches of mulch around the base of the tree but not touching the trunk. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk. This summer, you need to insert your index finger in the soil down to the second knuckle, and if the soil appears dry, then water the tree slow and long, so that the water seeps in and reaches the entire root ball.
Since you just planted it, if you think you did not do it right, then dig it back out and replant it properly. You won't hurt it.

I planted some trees for the first time last fall. Even with my limited experience, I can tell you your roots don't look too bad. With proper planting and watering as above, your tree will probably be fine next year. This year, you can expect it to be slow as it will be getting established in its new home.

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