Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Field Maple - Part 1

Ive gathered some field maple seeds from finer leaved local trees. There are plenty around in any woody area.

Not sure how many of the seeds will prove to be viable. I guess about 5% of the gathered ones. i cut a few of the seeds in half - most were empty - but a very few had a green kernel in them.

i guess if all else fails i will go to the local instant hedges nursery for some 60-80cm seedlings of hawthorn and field maple.

Ive got the seeds wrapped up in moist cloth - il see if any hatch after a few days. hopefully i get at least 2 viable ones.


trunk growth factors

What factors cause the tree to increase in girth. observations of maples.

i currently have 3 maples - various random japanese varieties. one rescued from the exit of M&S one afternoon after being the last forlorn one left there - its was £4.99

1 - number of branches. the grafted plant has a lot of fine branches and foliage and was freshly repotted into good pottign soil - it has a vigorous root onto dwarf foliage. it was regularly fertilised through the growing season. fantastic growth on the trunk durign the season. i had pruned almost all the branches back 4 nodes fromt he tips - the two new shoots added about 4 inches this season and added a lot to the root branch thickness.

2 - number of leaves. the dwarf wins here with a tonne of foliage during the growing season.

3 - pruning. in these plants pinching and encouraging ramification durign the growign season seems to slow the plant down and reduce the growth in the trunk and parent branches.

4 - growth conditions. soil or fertiliser.

i used a bit of soldering wire trunk to track growth over the season. reasonable results on the M&S plant.

Sunday, 14 December 2008


Its Repotting season. Ive been looking for a good source of grit for making a potting mix. Most of the local nurseries seem to have a good selection of horticultural gravel now - it seems to be a seasonal product as im sure i didnt see it at other times of the year. had i known this i wouldnt have pursued other grit options.

i want to get to understand the PH of the soils as i have a few pines so i bought a PH testign Kit. the PH also has a huge effect on the health and vigour of trees that it cant be ignored.

Catsan = PH > 7.5 -- not going to plant anything in this.
Tesco Premium Cat Litter Natural Clay = neutral PH = turns to mud after a few minutes in water. unsuitable.
Tesco Premium Cat litter Light Weight = neutral -- nice. seems to be fired clay pellets.
Akadama - TBD.
Horticultural grit - TBD. Doesnt hold moisture particularly well.

got some akadama off Amazon that seems to be doing the job now - good price and arrived in the mail swiftly. it hasnt disolved into a puddle of clay either. ive done the important plants with this. later on il do some of the new seedlings and cuttings in the tesco/bark mix and see how it goes.

i may collect another oak for next season. Quercus robur seems to vary quite a lot - sadly the one i hatched 2 years ago seems to think its an elephant ear. il try to find a finer leaved one for the next acorn. the first oak - junior - is doing well ( other than having big ears ) in random soil and will hopefully have a good growing season if well watered and fertilised.

i have also collected some field maple ( acer campestre ) seeds which im going to try to hatch for next year. ive collect some seeds for local trees in the park and on my walk home from the tube station. these also seem to vary quite a lot in leaf size so i tried to gather seeds from the trees with finer foliage.