Sun 5 Aug, 2012 07:41 pm
As my fourth try in hot, alkaline country I've finally succeeded in keeping a dwarf 'lace leaf' type going for about 4 years now. It was labeled as a dwarf, and I believe it to be true since it hasn't grown but maybe 6" in all this time. I have yet to try fertilizer - just some Ironite annually to keep down the alkalinity. My tree looks quite healthy, but I'm wondering if there's a growth nutrient for these - mine's about 3' tall with a good 18" spread. It looks so healthy I've been afraid to try anything, even pruning. Any suggestion will be a help, especially in this hot country (San Antonio). Thank you.
If you are referring to the Japanese lace leaf maple, this may help you:
Japanese maples have relatively fine, fibrous roots which are easily damaged. Unless very young (under 4 years old), they should never be moved in a bare-root state. They also do far better when transplanted in spring rather than fall. Most Japanese maples are grafted but unlike roses, they do not need to be planted at or above the graft union. Rather, plant them at the same depth as they are growing in their pots. Mulching after planting will help keep the soil cool and maintain better soil mositure. Newly planted maples can be fertilized with any balanced fertilizer recommended for shrubs. If your soil is reasonably fertile, established plants will not require extra fertilizer.
This site may help you find a more specific name for the variety you have:
I don't know the soils around San Antonio, but since it's alkaline, I have to ask if it's also a heavy clay. If so, gypsum and aeration might be indicated.
I have to agree that 6" growth in four years is carrying the dwarf concept a little far.