Monday, December 03, 2007

Paperbark maple, Acer griseum and Witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia in fall colors

I seem to have gotten into a post Thanksgiving funk. I just can't seem to get motivated to do the blog and the interval between articles is lengthening.

It's just occurred to me that I haven't posted many fall leaf pictures so I'll do that before I continue with the anemones.

I planted four Paperbark maples, Acer griseum and they all died. Three were planted in a copse and it was excruciating to see them sprout new growth in spring only to wither and die within the month. I finally wised up and read about the ideal growth conditions for the tree i.e., doesn't like waterlogged areas, shelter from winter winds etc. and planted one more tree after a three year hiatus. The tree actually survived a whole year and hopefully will continue to thrive next spring. The fall leaves are not spectacular but interesting enough to post imho.

The other photos are of a Witch hazel. I believe this is a yellow flowered Hamamelis x intermedia, possibly 'Arnold Promise' but I can't be sure. It hasn't bloomed yet but the flowers are fragrant and quite lovely especially when nothing else is blooming when it is. Hamamelis x intermedia is a cross between H. Japonica and H. mollis the Chinese witch hazel.

The above photo of the paperbark maple leaves was taken at an earlier time. The photo is blurred, probably because of the wind but it shows the yellow orangeish color of the leaves before they acquired a reddish tinge.

The seashells under the tree are supposed to sweeten the soil a bit because unlike most maples the paperbark apparently likes a more neutral soil. I've also thrown eggshells to do the same as well as add calcium to the soil but the birds like to pick up the bits of eggshell and I've seen squirrels do the same although I have no idea what those nasty tree rats could possibly do with the shells.

Witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia. The first photo was taken earlier this fall. The second photo was taken on a very windy day about a week ago, it seems we had a lot of those this year so the picture is blurred but you can get an idea of how colorful the leaves are.

We also have a native common witch hazel, H. viginiana which has continued to be a disappointment with almost no fall color, gangly growth and a few flowers. It has the strongest scent though, so I've kept it for that trait alone.


Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Is it my imagination or do the paperbark maple leaves have a superficial resemblance to poison ivy? It's nice to see some colorful leaves!

My guess is that the tree rats in your neighborhood will have really strong bones from all the calcium.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

8:01 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Annie,
Oh no! That's all I need ... stronger boned squirrels ;(

Now that you mention it the trifoliate leaves of the paperbark maple really do resemble poison ivy. I guess the old adage of "leaves of three, let them be" is not always correct. We had another smaller leaf maple which also had three lobes but not as separated as the paper bark maple. I bought it from Arbor Day and it was described as a Japanese maple but it turned out to be a Acer buergerianum of some sort. It wasn't tree-like at all, only attaining a height of about 2 feet in 3 years and I didn't care for it's shrubby look and the fall colors were unremarkable so I dug it out. Were you ever able to get a definitive ID on the maple you found in the park?

5:30 AM  
Blogger Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

The best part of Acer griseum is the bark. It's truly spectacular on a large specimen in the winter.

Of course, you may have to wait a decade or two for it to reach sufficient stature to impress.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

I like the colour of the Maple leaves, very pretty! I'm glad that this one is doing fine, it is such a heartbreak to see a newly planted tree die, let alone more than one.

Witch hazel is great isn't it? I love the scent of the flowers and the autumn coloured leaves are very pretty too.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Xris,
I was initially attracted to the paperbark maples because of the exfoliating bark and dark cinnamon tree trunk. The colorful fall colors are definitely a bonus. I hope we won't have to wait decades to enjoy its beauty :) I saw a couple of newly planted trees in a garden. One of the trees died but the one that lived has grown appreciably in only a few years so I'm hoping ours will do as well.


Hellow Yolanda Elizabet,
It was difficult to lose the first tree but losing three at once was a real heartbreaker. We have red and yellow flowered witch hazels and they are indeed a great winter plant.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Carolyn gail said...

Hi Ki,

Sorry to hear of your post Thanksgiving funk. I'm glad to see you're back.

I love, love, love the Paperbark Maple ! Only real tree lovers buy them.

Since you plant a lot of young trees I'd suggest you try a product we sell at the garden center where I work. It's called Mycor Tree Saver and is " designed to reduce transplant stress while improving soil hydration and fertility. " It is a biologically active soil conditioner that is applied to the root zone of trees and shrubs at planting time. Five species of mycorhizal fungi and six species of beneficial bacteria help improve plant nutrition and soil fertility.

You can probably buy this product online if your local garden center doesn't carry it. I've used it extensively and never lost a tree !

4:08 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Carolyn Gail,
Thanks for the tip on the Mycor Tree Saver. I haven't seen it anywhere, most likely because I didn't know there was such a product. I'll look for it at the garden centers we frequent. I first saw the paperbark maple in a nursery which decided to sell only wholesale to landscapers. When they were still selling to retail customers, they would usually have end of the year sales so I bought the three trees then. The first tree I bought at full retail but a 4' tall tree was still a reasonable $50. I really lament that fact that I didn't do more research on how to site and plant the trees. But I guess a third time is a charm (after a little reading).

Still can't seem to get going. Haven't ever experienced the holiday blues which apparently affects many people but I'm feeling it this year.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Carolyn gail said...

It seems your gitup has gotten up and gone, Ki ! It could just be a seasonal disorder which is what I get when winter comes on. Painting seems to restore my sanity. Why don't you take up painting or a hobby that sparks your passion ?

BTW one of those 4 footer Paperbark Maples go for several hundred dollars at our garden center so you really got a deal. You can google Mycor Tree Saver and probably buy it online if you don't find it locally.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

I was going to write exactly what Annie did about the poison ivy - that was my first thought on looking at the photos of the leaves.

Cheer up - in a few days we'll have our earliest sunset, then the solstice, then latest sunrise, then it's practically spring. Well, really it will still be January then, but I always feel better once the days start to get longer.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Carolyn Gail,
My gitup, up and went. I actually went to school for painting but trying to earn a living that way was a lesson in futility. The business aspect of being an artist totally escaped me. It was more being a personality and selling yourself than making good art. Sounds too cynical for an already bleak time of the year.

We bought the paperbark maple in the photo at a nursery auction. Instead of holding over stock 'til the next year they decided to sell off everything in their inventory. So we bid and got the tree for $45. I missed buying three Stewartias but the guy I was bidding against looked like he was pretty determined to get them so I let it go. I think they were S. pseudocamellias but I looked online and bought three tiny different varieties of Stewartias so I'm not unhappy that I wasn't successful at the auction. There is a four foot tall Stewartia in the neighborhood that bloomed for the first time this year. I was amazed anyone would have this fairly rare tree.

I definitely will look for Mycor and Wiltpruf for our evergreens. Thanks for your comments.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Entangled,
Usually poison ivy has the brightest and most colorful foliage around these parts in fall. They have climbed on dead trees and overgrown living ones so the dead trees look quite beautiful and the living ones strangely two toned. This year was terrible for poison ivy color so it was not as spectacular a fall as it could have been. Except for the toothed leaf margins the resemblance of the paperbark maple leaves to poison ivy is quite remarkable. Don't know why I didn't see it before.

It's probably having a house full of people for a week and having to be "on" for the whole time that's led to the deflation. Takes a lot of energy to entertain that many people in my dotage. ;)

5:59 PM  

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