Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Weeping trees, sap running?

I was out by the birdfeeder when I noticed two trees with wet streaks on their bark. One was a Japanese maple Bloodgood which I transplanted last fall and the other some kind of elm or zelkova we bought at a plant sale. The Japanese maple seems to be oozing watery liquid from a wound on the bark but not from the ends of the cut branches. The elm seems to be weeping from a few branch collars but not from any wound. None of the other trees we have exhibit this condition so I'm wondering what's causing this? I hope it's not the sap running already?

Planting the Japanese maple was an afterthought. I cut off all the branches and dug out the fairly large tree cutting many of the roots. We didn't want the tree, especially in the front yard because it was badly shaped the result of never being pruned. I was about to throw it out in the street for the township mulching truck but felt badly about discarding a tree so cavalierly, so I decided to plant it in an inconspicuous corner of the yard. We had moved a large weeping Japanese maple before with nary a droop or transplant shock so I knew the trees were very tough. We did try to retain many of the roots with that tree and the Bloodgood was almost shorn of the fine roots but I thought I'd give it a try especially since the tree was pretty much in dormancy when I dug it up. If you scratch the bark, it still looks green so hopefully it will survive the horrific barerooting I subjected it to. If the weeping is a sign that the sap is running it's a good and bad thing. Good that it has set new roots that are able to take up water but bad that it's far too early in the season. At least there are no buds yet - if any will appear.

The elm is a puzzle but again if it is the sap running then it's a bad thing because it's definitely too early in the season but the buds have not opened so hopefully it will be ok. Temps are supposed to drop today into the 20's from the pleasant 50's we experienced this weekend so winter is finally upon us as it is supposed to stay cold for a protracted period of time though some of the neighborhood Japanese quinces have started to bloom.

If you look closely there are ants drinking the sap in the closeup Japanese maple photo.


Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

Good luck with the trees. You are just going to have to let nature play out, as in I don't think there is anything you can do. I have had good luck with moving Japanese Maples so you have a chance. We are living in unprecedented times with the weather but as you note the Northeast is in for some cold stuff.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Unfortunately dfp, I was meaning to discard the Japanese maple tree so I didn't take special pains to keep an intact rootball. In fact I was digging dirt out of the roots to make the tree lighter so I could wheel it out to the curb and in doing so cut a lot of the small rootlets. Should be interesting to see if it puts out new shoots. The weeping gives me hope that it has formed new roots. Brrr, 20 degrees this morning.

4:55 AM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Japanese Maples are outside my experience, but the Pagoda Dogwoods always 'bled' in our Illinois winter.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

4:21 PM  
Blogger La Gringa said...

I often have those second thoughts, too. I find it so hard to throw out a plant! No matter how bad it looks, I want to give it a second chance.

I'll have to say that it is getting a little easier with some of the rampant tropicals we have here in Honduras.

Good luck with the Japanese maple.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

It is of some comfort to read that your dogwoods bled in winter too. As soon as the weather turned cold the weeping stopped. I guess I should take this as a good sign that the Japanese maple has developed new roots despite my maltreatment.

La Gringa,
It's a good thing there's rampant growth in the tropics as your vegetation is cleaning our air. I'm guilty of pulling up perennials that had unrestrained growth like anemones that grew too tall in front of windows. I thought I cleaned them out and later realized that we really needed them there. Luckily there were some rhizomes I missed and it's repopulating the area. Oftentimes plants are smarter than people.

4:51 AM  

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