1 - Growing Japanese maples in Hot Climates
2 - Growing Shantung maples
3 - Growing Azaleas in DF/W Area
4 - Growing Rhododendrons in Hot Climates
5 - My Landscape Plan
6 - Azalea Pictures
7 - Grafting Maples
8 - Growing Maples from Seeds
9 - How to Water Trees - New
1 - Japanese Maples In Hot Climates
Japanese Maples are easy to grow in the hot mid-west if given shade and water. They are very adaptable to a wide
range of soils and light. The only serious problems are from long periods of
standing water or from long periods of drought or from early or late
freezes or from too much sun. The red leaf varieties are
especially sensitive to too much hot sun and the small green leaf
varieties handle the sun the best. The best site is under
high shade with a north or northeast exposure but they will also grow
in other locations. They have shallow roots but are not overly
competitive and can coexist with many other plants or ground covers in
Many Japanese Maples reach a height of 14-20 feet with an equal
spread. The dissectums generally reach 6 feet
but can spread much more than this. All can be kept at six feet by
pruning. If you prune
large branches It may take several years to look natural again, so only prune current year's growth
for a natural
look. Best time to prune is right after fall color through December
when you can see all the branches and then make cuts to balance the
growth. Light pruning can also be done anytime but mid-May gives you the best
chance of getting new growth.
Leaf color is affected by the amount of sun,
moisture, nutrients or by the health of the root system. The same
variety may even exhibit different colors even when grown
nearby when there are differences in any of the above factors. In Japan
there are many varieties that color differently in various parts of
the country. Red-leafed varieties may get green from too much shade or
too much fertilizer or from not enough water. I have found that my best colors
occur when there is 1-2 hours of sun with ample moisture, but drying out
slightly between watering.
||An illustration of color variation from
the lack of roots. The Orangeola on the left has many roots while
the one on the right is a barerooted Orangeola without a sufficient root system.
Newly planted maples need a good hand watering once a week, or more if
in sun, the first year. Make sure that the root ball you planted is
getting wet until the tree has grown roots out into your soil. If your
maple fattens-up the trunk a lot in the fall or in the second year, it
is a sign that it grew lots of new roots. They prefer to be moist
during the hot summer with irrigation about every 4-5 days, but some
varieties can stay
healthy for up to two weeks without irrigation once they are established.
All maples appreciate a consistent
watering schedule. When temperatures are cool do not over water, but
let them dry-out a little, as this will encourage root growth which helps them when it does get hot. They
like the sun when
temperatures are below the mid-eighties and they tolerate the hot sun
very well until it is consistently above the mid-nineties. High
nighttime temperatures are also detrimental to all plants including Japanese maples,
especially those in containers, as it deters them from manufacturing
food from photosynthesis.
If your red-leaf Japanese maple leafs-out green in spring it is a sign that it is very
dry or has a poor root system. Usually watering in winter is not needed, but they do lose
a little water
even when they are dormant, so water monthly in winter if it is dry.
In summer if you see some interior leaves change to fall color it means
not all the roots are receiving moisture.
A mature Japanese Maple is rarely bothered by insects or disease.
Sound gardening practices, such as good air-circulation, and good soil
drainage should prevent any fungus problems. Copper based sprays or
all-purpose fungicides may
help with limbs that are dying but cannot be used during hot weather.
All summer sprays must be applied early in the morning to prevent
phytotoxicity. Even the organic sprays are detrimental to Japanese
maples during hot weather. Always prune off dead or dying limbs
immediately. I do not like groundcovers over my maple roots which may
harbor insects and rodents that could damage your Japanese maple.
Japanese Maples like morning sun but do fine as understory trees with
high, dappled shade. Metro Maples has the varieties that perform well
in those situations. They do not like heavy shade or being
crowded by other plants. Some varieties handle the hot afternoon sun
well but in
very hot years you may get burn in late summer. Most can handle a few
hours of midday sun as long as moisture is consistent. Be sure to
water extra in late summer or during very hot periods, or before any
sudden big change in temperature. Early
morning watering is best as there is a time lag in getting the water
to the leaves. Some of the red varieties do not hold color as well
under heavy shade or too much hot sun. A few varieties need almost full-sun to
color well, so grow these in pots then move to shade when it gets
hot. I do not sell many of the varieties that must have this
treatment. The most sun tolerant varieties have green leaves, such as
Seiryu and Sango Kaku but the most sun tolerant is the species itself,
Acer palmatum. Red leaf varietes cannot handle dry soils for very
long when temperatures are above 95 degrees. If your maple is getting too much hot sun,
either water more often or dig it up and move it in November.
Make sure your maple is raised-up a few inches to a foot if you are
planting in a low spot or have a water holding clay. Remember, they
will not grow in water-logged soil. I like to mix-in lots of aged pine
bark and compost to the soil, leaving the area raised-up about 6
inches or more. If your soil is really bad, either keep them heavily mulched,
or you can plant them in raised beds of azalea mix (pine bark/peat
moss) and then will be able to grow azaleas too.
All Japanese Maples can be container grown. It's best to repot your
maple at least every two years, pruning the roots or using a larger
pot, and giving them fresh well-draining potting soil. Container grown
plants need good drainage and careful attention to watering. Check the
drainage hole every now and then and make sure that it is not
clogged-up. Every time you water there should be water running out of
the bottom of the pot. November or February is a good time to repot.
(For my prized maples I sift out the bark dust and the small and large
particles, and mix in 50 percent aggregate.) Fertilize lightly with a slow release fertilizer at half the
recommended rate or monthly with a liquid at half, or less, the
recommended rate depending on the season. Use gypsum for calcium if
needed. Occasional use of Epsom salts, at the same rate as your
fertilizer, can help release the nutrients to your maple. You might
want to protect the roots by wrapping the pot, or move your plant into
the garage, if temperatures go below 15 degrees for a long period.
Red leaf varieties grown in pots can have leaf burn even
in shade when temperatures are continuously very hot for extended
Japanese Maples in the ground do not need large amounts of fertilizer
but do like small amounts in spring and fall, and very small amounts
in summer. Fertilizer is not food but contain nutrients used to
manufacture food through photosynthesis. Maples must expend
energy to process fertilizer so never fertilize a damaged tree. Best times to fertilize are about 3 weeks before they start
growing in spring, perhaps again in early May, and as soon as you
think it has finally cooled-off in the fall. If your tree has been
damaged from the summer heat, do not fertilize in the fall, but wait
until the following spring. You will not burn them if you only use
one-half teaspoon per gallon in summer. A balanced fertilizer, such as
13-13-13, with sulfur, boron, magnesium and the other micro-nutrients
works well. Slow release is preferred. Use 1 tablespoon on small
plants, 3 tablespoons on 4 to 6 foot plants, and about 7 tablespoons
on large ones. Organic fertilizers work very well but may
decompose your potting soil too quickly. I have had
good luck with cottonseed meal (slow release, high nitrogen), or fish
emulsion with seaweed (nitrogen and micro-nutrients but not
long-lasting). Root stimulators with some nitrogen and lots of
phosphorus work very well on dissectums. This can also be used in
September (when it cools-off) to help harden and fatten the branches.
Despite what some people say, synthetic fertilizer does not kill the
beneficial soil fungus. Rain also has
nitrogen, especially in the city from the nitrous-oxide from
Water your maples early in morning as there is a lag time in supplying
the leaves with the moisture.
Micro-climates are areas that are different from the normal situation.
Shade, fences or houses to block winds, and lots of vegetation to
humidify and cool the area, all create a favorable micro-climate for
your maple. Trees do not like sudden large swings in temperatures and
it takes them a week or two to adapt.
Beware of squirrels in late summer chewing-off the bark which can kill
the tree. I use cayenne pepper sprays mixed with a spreader sticker, so that it
will last longer.
Japanese maples like a consistent amount of moisture. They do not like
long periods of ample moisture followed by long periods of drought.
Excessive spring rains or watering or excessive fertilizing can reduce root growth which then
lessens their ability to handle dry periods in summer, so whatever you
do, do not stop watering in summer when they are used to being wet.
In the shade they can be grown on small amounts to large amounts of
water but the water supply needs to stay consistent.
Twenty-Four Ways To Have Leaf Burn: 1. Lack of water, 2. Too much
salts/fertilizers/dog urine 3. hot, dry winds, 4. late-freeze damage,
5. chemical or organic sprays on the leaves during hot summers.
Do not spray when temperatures are above 80 degrees, 6.
salty well water - all deep wells in my area contain too much salt to
grow a Japanese maple, 7. damage to cambium layer of bark from weed
eaters, squirrels, dogs, 8. sudden change in the amount of hot sun,
9. very hot weather and hot nighttime temperatures causing roots to
stop growing, 10. water-logged soil or mucky container mix, 11. grub worms chewing
roots on small trees, 12. very high or low soil pH (<5.2 or
>8.5), which could lead to micronutrient toxicity, 13. Not watering deeply at least once a
month during droughts , 14. potassium deficiency can
occur during droughts from 'good' irrigation water that has more
sodium than potassium, or from excessive watering which will leach the
potassium from the leaves, 15. a sudden, dramatic increase in
temperatures for plants grown on the 'dry side' or plants grown with
too much fertilizer and a lack of water, 16. several fungus
like verticillum and antracnose can appear as burned margins or dead
spots during cool weather, 17. nitrate excess without sufficient
molybdenum, 18. ants or gophers destroying water penetration, 19. all
ammonium nitrogen without nitrate nitrogen, especially in containers,
may cause ammonium ion to become toxic especially in hot weather, 20.
mature plants that have limited root growing space and hot weather,
21. Root bound containers or not watering thoroughly, which leaves many
of the roots dry for too long. 22. Extended Texas heat waves with
high nighttime temperatures will lead to root losses, then leaf burn.
23 - Extended periods of waterlogged soil or natural gas leak leading
to a lack of air to the roots followed by hot temperatures. 24 -
Cutting roots in summer or use of weed killers.
2 - ACER TRUNCATUM - SHANTUNG MAPLES:
Shantung maples are easy to grow. They are shade trees that like full
sun to a half day sun but will even survive in shade. They seem to
like slightly acidic sandy soils the best,
but will grow quite well in heavy clay or alkaline soils. Shantung
maples do not like being too wet. I let mine dry out between watering. In the hot dry climate of North Texas your Shantung
maple should live well over 100 years unless it is planted in an area
that restricts root growth, such as a small courtyard or very small
yard surrounded by foundation, driveway, or roads which may shorten
its life expectancy. The basic growing plan is to give them
sun, lots of soil to grow in, consistent but not too often deep
watering, and then just
standing back and watching them grow.
Shantung maples grow every day. Even in winter they are growing roots
when it's above forty degrees.
To get fast growth they need sun, moisture, oxygen, carbon dioxide,
and all 13 plant nutrients on a balanced and continuous basis. Maximum growth will
not be achieved if any of the nutrients are in short supply. North
Texas soils are usually only low in nitrogen but use of complete
fertilizers will give your tree a more balanced nutrient
availability. A soil test is the best way to reveal shortages.
What may look like nutrient deficiencies are usually the result of
other problems like poor drainage, herbicide damage, soil compaction,
root fungus, or from inconsistent moisture levels. Over-watering may leach nitrogen and other nutrients from
your soil, or produce a weaker root system which makes it harder
for the tree to deal with extreme weather conditions when they arise.
Metro Maples is a leader in Shantung and has tested them in every
way. In the year 2006 the neglected Shantung out by Dick Price Road got
permanent wilt from a two year drought. Permanent wilt means that even after
watering the leaves were still wilting the next morning. It took over 2 weeks
before the tree recovered, so be patient. Even as dry as it got, it
did not lose any leaves or branches and it was as beautiful as ever in
the fall (see picture under Shantung Maples, it is the close-up of
yellow fall color). I do not suggest you let your Shantung get that
dry as it probably was getting close to being seriously damaged.
Large trees in your yard are irreplaceable, so make sure they get
water during droughts. Annuals, perennials, and even shrubs can be
replaced, but mature trees might take 2 generations to replace! Large
trees help to cool your house, saving you energy, and if you choose
one like the Shantung maple it will cool your yard and enable you to
use less water on your shrubs and lawn. My yard is about 10 degrees
cooler than the neighbors treeless property. St. Augustine grass takes
much less water in the shade. The best way to water is deeply and not
too often. I find it takes me 3 to 5 hours from a single Rainbird
shrub head to water a 20 foot tree in totally dry soil, which is about
500 gallons of water, but it might not get watered again for 2 weeks.
Shantung maples are great street trees and can be planted 8 feet from
your house. I do not think Shantung roots will tear-up a patio or
Most soils have enough nutrients although adding a complete fertilizer will improve growth. Good times for adding nitrogen are
early March, and again in early May and September when it cools-off.
Temperatures and timing of fertilizer and water are everything to
achieve maximum growth potential. Do not fertilize them in
summer. Shantung are sensitive to nutrient imbalance so be
careful when adding just one nutrient as deficiencies or toxicities
will result. Also,
remember never to fertilize a tree that is damaged or overly-stressed,
but wait until the following year. Damaged trees for whatever
reason will not usually look or act normal until the following year.
Shantung benefit from consistent watering until they are established,
or during droughts, but too often people over water them the first
year. Do not water them every day unless you have planted it at the
wrong time like in summer or early summer! Once every 5 days between watering
is plenty even with very high temperatures. Once established in one
or two years, they like consistency, either once a week, bi-weekly, or
longer between watering. Stressed trees do worse when continued
to be over-watered and can lead to death. You know your tree is
stressed if it losses its dark green color or has some burnt
edges. Keep them mulched and do not allow root
competition from other plants in their root zone until they are
established. Getting rapid shoot growth the first year in the ground
may not be possible without rainy periods or a knowledge of
fertilizing basics, but be assured that it is
growing lots of roots getting ready for fast growth the next year.
Wrapping the trunk prevents damage to young bark from the sun and
Dig a wide hole to break-up the soil which will help the roots to
quickly grow out. Add some organic matter, sand and compost to a depth
of 15 inches if your soil is workable or just use your native soil. Do not plant too deep. When the trunk at the base starts to increasingly widen, this is
your soil level point. Young trees do not always have a noticeable
root flare or may have just one large root. With age your Shantung
will have many large roots all around the trunk base. I have never
seen or heard of a Shantung maple having trouble with circling
roots. They should not require staking. I have planted a
Shantung maple in a very windy spot in a sandy soil and while it is
leaning a little away from the wind it has been fine. Growth will be
thicker and slower in windy locations. Shantung maples have many
fibrous roots, primarily within the drip line. Replace
washed-out soil that exposes roots around the base, as they will burn
when exposed to the sun.
Shantung maples will look better if pruned at a young age. This maple
has a tendency to grow very low branches and trunks. Prune-off low limbs, that
are small, up to where bigger main branches start, around 3 or 4 feet
Smaller branches below larger branches will not ever grow as fast and
will stay smaller, and I feel that the first branches on a tree should
be the largest ones for the best look. Remove any small weeping
branches that hang down to enable you to get close to your tree and
for a cleaner look.
Shantung maples grow crooked when young and they
seem to turn-out even better than the ones I've straighted! The picture below
(left) is a Fire Dragon Maple that I selected to be the centerpiece of
the new Maple Knoll garden. The 2 year old Fire Dragon Maple (right)
is what it once looked like, a crooked tree with two leaders. The
smaller leader now is a nice looking first branch and most of the bend
||Left - The same tree shown
above, right, after one year's more growth, showing you what it looked like at the
end of 2007.
||Left - Not much growth in 2008
due to a large hail storm and lack of rain. It now has a 25gal root
system though and many more small branches.
|Four years later here is the shape.
Compare to original photo shown again, right.
||The first 2 branches on the
right were later removed to simplify the main low branches.
||Left - Another year has past
and this picture shows the view from the opposite side. Now it's a 5
1/2" caliper tree. 'Fire Dragon'ģ
has a tendency to grow 3 branches from a terminal, the terminal makes a
large branch, and top 2 side branches make a small and medium branch,
every other year. This is a distinctive pattern I have not seen in
natural shape produces many crowded branches with many leaders. Major
pruning can be done right after leaf drop in December or again in early
May/June. One inch branches pruned on a vigorous tree will be completely
healed-over by the end of summer. I wouldn't worry about painting the
cut unless the tree is under some kind of stress. If you prune at the
wrong time and get excessive sap flow don't worry. In about 9 days the
wound will be sealed enough to stop the sap flow.
Don't prune your Shantung Maple up too high too soon. At least
two-thirds of the height of the tree should have branches. Far too often
I am seeing elms, oaks, etc. that are being pruned way-off the ground
leaving very little branches, and leaves, for photosynthesis. It is way
too much shock for a tree at one time. Do not prune lower limbs on very
old trees. Recently someone in Mansfield pruned-off all the huge old
lower limbs on an old cemetary oak that will never heal over and will
eventually result in the tree's death. Don't let anyone prune your tree
without first making them mark the branches, showing you what they will
Be careful of weed killers around your trees. Shantung have been killed by
the product Image and other weed killers. Also be careful of using any foliar sprays when
temperatures are above 80 degrees as damage may result from heat induced
Lastly, be careful not to scratch the young bark on the trunk or
branches. Small wounds are not a big health problem but when the tree
turns that area naturally black, as if painted, it can be unsightly.
Don't let cats use your tree as a scratching post as it will leave black
marks for several years. Plant Shantung maples at the proper time
for our 1 year guarantee. We no longer guarantee trees planted in the
months of May thru mid-September as this can be too stressful for them in our
hot climate if not watered properly.
3 - AZALEAS:
Sorry but I no longer have azaleas for sale. I need the time and water
for the maples. Here's how I grow them:
Azaleas in the DFW area are easy to grow once you get the soil right.
They require an acidic soil, 5.5 pH is good, and plenty of air to the
roots. Both these requirements are satisfied with the use of pine bark
in raised beds. Peat moss can also be mixed with the bark. They will not
grow for very long in heavy alkaline soil. I take the plant out of the
pot and set it on a few inches of mix, and then pile the mix around
them. You will spend more on the planting mix than the plants, but at
least there is no digging involved.
The second big problem is getting their roots to grow into your mix. The
roots have been grown in containers and until the roots spread into the
surrounding pine bark there is a chance of them drying out. Don't buy
bargain plants that are extremely root-bound unless you are able to
watch them often until they get established. Cut the roots on the bottom
and spread them out before planting. Should they wilt you can water them
with a hose. If they still wilt then the root ball is probable totally
dry and you should let a hose drip on that plant for maybe an hour, or
you can lift it up and dunk the roots in a bucket of water. By next
summer they should be able to sustain themselves on the sprinkler system
and not need as much attention.
Should the fall and winter be dry and warm they should be watered before
any abrupt hard freeze. Azaleas, being evergreen, need moisture in the
winter and if the pine bark is dry, or frozen, they will not be able to
take the freeze as well. When the sun is shining, even when its cold,
your azaleas need at least some moisture to keep their leaves from
burning. Sudden drops in temperatures can cause the bark to split along
the base of the plant when the azalea is getting hit by the sun.
Therefore, the north side is the safest spot for them. Azaleas are very
hardy though and bark split is not a common problem unless your plants
are overfed or overwatered in the fall and therefor too vigorous right
before the sudden cold.
Water your azaleas regularly in the summer for good growth. The plants
in full sun will need the most. Wind also dries out the leaves making
watering necessary. For best growth they will need a small amount of
watering about every third or fourth day in the summer if it has not
rained. I have some established azaleas in the hot afternoon sun in a
peat/bark mixture which are watered just once a week.
Azaleas require little fertilizer. The pine bark has everything that
they will need. However for faster growth and lusher looking plants you
can fertilize with a balanced azalea food in April, May, June, and
September. Too much nitrogen fertilizer is worse than none at all! You
can burn the roots and foliage by over-fertilizing. Azaleas grown with
lots of sun will need more fertilizer to keep them green. Note:
Excessive watering can leach nutrients out of the leaves. The nicest
ones Iíve seen in the area receive a product called Ironite once or
twice a year. This product is safe to use. Since our water is alkaline
this product helps to keep the bark acidic by supplying sulfur and it
also really greens them up by supplying chelated Iron, some nitrogen,
and other micro-nutrients. Without a soil test you will just have to
judge how green the leaves are and apply Ironite when you think they
could be a little greener. Cottonseed meal or Miracle Grow for Azaleas
are good also.
Azaleas donít need pruning but if you like to shape them they should
be pruned after flowering. This means May or June, depending on the
variety. Every time you prune a branch you will get 3 or 4 side branches
which will give you 3 or 4 more flowers. Long summer shoots can also be
cut-back which will cause many side branches to form. Due not prune
after about July 15 unless you donít mind pruning off the flower buds!
Azaleas form their flowers buds in late summer to fall and hold them
through the winter and bloom in spring. Many azaleas lose some of their
old leaves in the Fall and this is normal. In October some of the old
leaves will turn yellow or red before dropping. Also, some Azaleas,
primarily the red ones, turn a dark purple color in winter and this is
also normal and creates a nice contrast in foliage.
Since your azaleas are planted correctly you should not have any fungus
or disease problems. In the shade you will not have any insect problems
either. Azaleas in a sunny location might attract Whiteflies. These
insects do not seem to bother azaleas in the shade. Whiteflies are very
small white insects that fly around like gnats when disturbed. They can
damage your plants and can be sprayed with Orthene. Do not use Dursban
on azaleas. The environmentally safest solution is to use a dormant oil
spray like Superfine in late winter which will prevent eggs from
hatching. One possible fungus you might see is blossom-end rot. This
only affects your blooms and does not kill the plant. Blossom-end rot
starts as small brown dots on your flowers and within a few days the
whole flower turns a mushy brown mess. Spray with products containing
Bayleton as the flowers are just opening.
Azaleas are long-lived plants. There are some in Japan that are over 600
years old. Basically all they need is correct planting, a little
water, and annual mulching. Try to keep the pine bark moist and they
will do fine. After about 10 years they probable will need to be lifted
and replanted, rasied-up again with fresh azalea mix. If your azalea is
not vigorous, lifting and replanting may help. This is done in the fall
or late winter.
4 - RHODODENDRONS IN HOT CLIMATES:
Azaleas are members of the rhododendron genus. Generally, Rhododendrons
are more mountainous plants and like cool weather, whereas azaleas like
it hot. Rhododendrons can be grown in Texas. You must select the
right variety and plant them much higher-up than an azalea. Pure pine
bark works well or mix in a little soil (about 10 per cent), but only if
it is a sandy acid soil. Rhododendrons need a lot of air in their roots
to stay alive in Texas. Try to create a cool and moist micro-climate.
North and northeast exposure is the best. Only the R. hyperythrum
hybrids can be grown like an azalea. Pine needles make great mulch. They
prefer every other day waterings while getting established but later do
fine in hot temperatures with a little sprinkel every 3 or 4 days on
their shallow root system. Rhododendrons in Texas or the midwest, cannot
take as much sun as an azalea but some morning sun is nice.
Some really good-doer Rhododendrons are: Roseum Elegans, Anah Kruschke,
Black Eye, Yaku Angel, Anna Rose Whitney, Wheatley, Pink Pearl, Cynthia, Yaku
Sunrise, Graf Zepplin, Catawbiense Grandiflorum, Nova Zembla and all the
R. hyperythrm hybrids from John Thornton in Franklinton, LA,
Pushetetappa Nursery. You'll probable have to mail order any of these
plants but you might find some around town or in nurseries in Oklahoma
or Arkansas. Sometimes Metro Maples has some in stock, so please check
my catalog page.
Currently I don't have azaleas for sale due to a lack of well-water used
to grow all of my maples. Sorry, I love the plants and they are great
companion plants to maples, but I don't have the time or water right
5 - LANDSCAPE PLAN:
My ideal garden has mainly azaleas, rhododendrons, and Japanese maples
under a canopy of large Shantung maples. (I do not want to garden in
Texas in the hot sun so shade trees are essential.) These four basic
plants all require similiar watering schedules and soils and are very
low maintenance and look great together. I get tremendous spring and
fall color. In summer I like only the quiet whispering of trees so I do
not plant annuals. Tsuki Gardens, my display garden, is a very
meditative place most of the time. I do not plant ground covers as they
all become invasive. No vines either. Azaleas are the ground cover and
paths are made of mulch. Grass is outlawed. Not only does grass rob soil
nutrients and water it requires mowing which pollutes the environment. Rhododendron leaves provide texture as do the maples. I do not plant
other small trees, like crape myrtles, because their roots are too
aggressive. I do not plant other large trees, like cedar elm, becasue
their roots are very aggressive and their limbs break in ice storms
which then falls on my plants. This garden requires very little
maintenance. An occaisonal leaf and twig clean-up, mulching, or pruning,
and watering faithfully is all that is routinely needed. Sometimes plants
are dug and reset either to respace them or to get more bark underneath the
rhododendrons or azaleas. Lastly I recommend to create focal points
with plants or stones, water features, garden ornaments, benches, or
trees in pots to keep things interesting for the eye. There are
thousands of azaleas, rhododendrons and maples to choose from if you
know where to look. WARNING - Maples, azaleas, and rhododendrons are
addictive! To get started with serious gardening you should visit many
gardens and find out which plants really get you excited. Then join a
plant society where you can meet people with your same interest and they
will be a big help in finding the really nice plants that you want.
Finally, realize that your taste in plants may change throughout the
years, and when they do you can dig up the plants you no longer love and
give them to friends.
Places to see maples:
Places to see lots of maples besides Metro Maples are at Lendonwood
Gardens, Grove, OK, the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens (they have many
that are fifty years old), the Dallas Arboretum, and the SFA Mast
Arboretum in Nacogdoches, Tx.
Following are some pictures of the azalea varieties in Metro Maples's
display garden that were chosen from the 300 different varieties that I
have grown: or visit:
The Rhododendron.org website to
learn more about Rhododendrons.
6 - Azalea Pictures
7 - Grafting Maples
Japanese maples are usually propagated by grafting. Named cultivars do not
come true from seed so a branch is cut from the cultivar and grafted onto a
Japanese maple rootstock that was grown from seed. This way you will get the
exact clone of the cultivar. Also, some Japanese maples will not grow without
the use of a more vigorous, seedling-grown root-system. The rootstock of choice
is Acer palmatum, the seedling grown Japanese maple, the one that is found in
the wild and has been around for millions of years.
8 - Growing Maples from Seeds
||These Caddo maple seeds were collected around the first of
November. They were then put into this plastic bag with a little moist
peat, then labeled with a permanent marker, and then stored in the
vegetable crisper of my refridgerator until May. If they have germinated
in the bag (shown), they are ready to plant. Usually they are planted
before they germinate in the bag, or about mid-March. Plant seeds only 1/4
inch deep, or in this case very carefully put the roots into some peat and
leave the small leaves above the soil line.
9 - How to Water Trees
Trees are a valuable part of your landscape. They cool your house
saving you money on your energy bills and cool your garden so both you and your
flowers will be happier. Trees benefit from irrigation when rainfall is
not abundant. Droughts can weaken your tree leading to pest problems or
dying branches which can eventually lead to tree death. Once you start
watering you should continue to do so on a consistent schedule until rain comes.
The best way to water a tree is with soaker hoses or drip irrigation.
Sprinklers are less efficient. Deep watering to a depth of 15 inches, once
a week is ideal during the growing season when drought exists. Watering
deeper wastes water. Watering more often can lead to disease and insect
problems and is also harmful to your soil's health and leaches nutrients out of
your soil. Trees should be
watered on their own schedule and separated from other garden plants so as to
prevent over-watering. Tree roots needs oxygen to function properly and
too much water fills all the spaces in the soil, not allowing room for the
oxygen. Watering too often encourages shallow rooting which can lead to
drought damage later on, and also wastes water. Wetting the foliage may
encourage insects and disease.
It is best to water the soil directly under the foliage and not past the drip
line, except on newly planted trees. Do not wet the trunk or water within
2 feet of the base of the tree, and do not wet the foliage. The best time
to water is at night followed by early evening.
Newly planted trees need water applied right over the root ball and a few
feet farther out as well. If you have built a water dam extending out a
couple of feet from the original root ball then fill this up twice and do not
water more often than every 3 days to get a tree established.
Trees should also be watered in winter, during droughts, as they also lose
moisture when they are dormant. Much less water is needed at this time and
they should not be watered during very cold periods when soil temperatures are