Thread: Leave Potted or Replant Now?

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  1. #1

    Leave Potted or Replant Now?

    Not sure what's best for the tree at this point in the season... Would it be better to leave it potted until late fall when dormant, or go ahead and plant it in my yard now? (...I live in SE Pa if that makes any difference.)

    I believe it's an Acer Palmatum - Japanese Maple (see attached photos). My mom found it growing in nearly full shade behind a shrub in her back yard... she offered it to me. I dug it out and put it in a pot using it's original soil mostly, topped it off with a little compost and potting soil, and brought it home. It was doubled over from being 3-4 feet tall with a very thin trunk, so I have it staked.

    It's been in the pot about 10 days or so... looks like it's turning a little red in certain spots. It has a few dried up leaves near the top, but looks healthly overall... though I'm still waiting to see some new growth on it.

    Any advice is muchly appreciated... Thanks!
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  2. #2

    RE: Leave Potted or Replant Now?

    Still torn over whether to plant it or leave it potted until fall...

    I watered it a week ago and the soil is still wet... not sure if that's a good or bad thing. A couple leaves have dried out but nothing major. Also some of the leaves are getting these little "white-ish" spots on them (see the 2nd photo above)... any idea what they are from (too much sun, bugs, mold...??)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Eastern PA

    RE: Leave Potted or Replant Now?

    You should put it into the ground ASAP. The most stressful part of the transplanting was digging it up; that's the part I would have held off on until the tree was dormant. Since that's done, it's best to get it planted right away so it doesn't get further stressed trying to survive in a pot.

    If you've seen the thread on the Mimosas, part of the discussion turned up the fact that the Japanese maples are considered invasive in the mid-Atlantic states. Knowing that, I'm not surprised you found one growing in the wild.

    I haven't looked into the issue, but I'm still dubious about that status because the Japanese maple is often a fragile thing to keep going, especially with deer pressure. As its size tends to stay within edible-height of the hooved Hoovers, and as they seem to favor it, you would think they wouldn't have a chance to cause a problem.

    Green Man Enviroscaping LLC

  4. #4

    RE: Leave Potted or Replant Now?

    Thanks Ellyssian, I'll give it a nice spot in my back yard when I get home tonight...

    Yeah, it occurred to me after the fact that it probably wasn't the best time to dig it up... but couldn't resist the temptation to "rescue" it from the Boxwood it was growing out of.

    I didn't realize that leaving it potted would be putting additional stress on it either... (I've heard that particularly in the winter, it's better to have them in the ground for insulation from the cold...)

    As for the invasive discussion, it seems contradictory to me that Japanese Maples could be considered invasive in my region considering that they apparently grow wild around here as this one did. That would imply to me that they're actually a native tree! Here's a quick definition I found on google for invasive... doesn't seem applicable:

    Invasive Species: "an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Eastern PA

    RE: Leave Potted or Replant Now?

    Growing in the wild does not mean it's native - if something escapes cultivation and displaces native plants, than it can be considered invasive.

    I've spent time pulling butterfly bushes, Japanese barberry, multiflora roses, and Ailanthus from a few nature sanctuaries around here (specifically, Cherry Valley - between 33 & 611 - and the Lehigh Gap - near where the PA turnpike goes under the Appalachian Trail). They grow vigorously and don't provide the same quality of forage for the wildlife as the native plants they drive out. Nasty stuff.

    I just haven't seen the Japanese maple exhibit those same characteristics - especially because the wildlife does eat it, and the same pests that impact other maples seem to impact them. It might be that it spreads too rapidly - like its larger invasive family member, the Norway maple - so it drives out the native understory trees. Might be why you don't see as many redbuds around here?

    I definitely want to look into this issue more, because I certainly wouldn't want to encourage planting them if they're a problem (or on the verge of becoming one). I know I've planted two of them in my own yarda few years ago. One is struggling, and the other didn't make it through the deer & the past winter/spring.

    Green Man Enviroscaping LLC

  6. #6

    RE: Leave Potted or Replant Now?

    Ok, I see what you're seeing about it not being native...

    I checked the lists on the DCNR website and it is not listed as a native tree to PA (the list is actually surprisingly short):

    However it's not listed as an Invasive either:

    The idea that these might be associated as an invasive certainly takes away from the feel good factor (a little), but I really can't see these things ever being classified as such or becoming a threat to anything that's native to my area. They're pretty delicate, grow relatively slowly, and don't seem to have any real weedy charectistics. In fact, I think they would be completely dominated by most any of the native species in my area, which would propogate like crazy were it not for lawn mowing and other human activity.

    In fact, if humans ceased to exist, I think my area would be near 100% tree cover in less than two decades with a canopy consisting of Maple, Birch, Tulip Poplar, Sycamore, Oak, etc., reaching over 100 ft.

    It's hard to imagine a Jap Maple getting in the way of that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Eastern PA

    RE: Leave Potted or Replant Now?

    You should head over to Bowmans' Hill Wildflower Preserve - it's near New Hope. They offer programs on native trees (amongst other things). I attended one and have wanted to go back ever since. They have some beautiful trees there.

    Yeah, that DCNR list of native trees is far from complete - didn't make mention of a lot of species which I know are native (such as the Am. chestnut), and also doesn't cover any of the shrubs which its title implies!

    If you do a search on Bowmans Hill, they used to have lists of native plants, specifically for the southeast PA area. There's a lot that will grow great there - and is native - that can't be found in the rest of the state.

    Green Man Enviroscaping LLC

  8. #8

    RE: Leave Potted or Replant Now?

    Found the Bowman's Hill site you mentioned... lots of info:

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