October 3, 2014
Taking Care of The Laura Plimpton Japanese Maple Grove
As you know, I absolutely love trees and I have planted hundreds of them, of all types and sizes, here at my farm.
Some of my favorite trees are Japanese maples. My first Japanese maples, 117 of them to be exact, were planted five years ago in October of 2009. In July of this year, we planted 150 more and now call this wood ‘The Laura Plimpton Japanese Maple Grove," in memory of my dear sister who loved these beautiful trees.
Because these young maples need to be protected as they grow, and with fall in the air, I decided to place stakes around the perimeter of each tree so that the placement of each would be visible when their leaves fall off and the snow comes.
I know Laura would be happy that we are taking care of these trees in her honor.
1 Here Pete, one of my grounds crew, is cleaning up the perimeter of the tree, or tree pit. The botanical name for Japanese maples is Acer palmatum. The genus is Acer from the Latin: across, or pointed - possibly in reference to the tips of the leaf lobes. The species is palmatum - from the Latin: palma, or palm of the hand - in reference to the leaf shape.
2 Here is a Japanese maple leaf showing how it looks like the palm of a hand with the fingers open.
3 A Japanese maple is a small tree or large shrub in the Maple family that is native to the Asian countries of China, Korea and Japan. It is highly prized as a garden tree for its great ornamental beauty. It is the highlight of every Japanese garden.
4 Pete is using a heavy iron hole driver to make holes for stakes that will go around the perimeter of each tree. Japanese maples are relatively small trees and when many are planted together, they make an extraordinary grove.
5 We recycle and reuse just about everything at my farm. Here a portable sawmill, called a Wood-Mizer LT 35 is being loaded with a felled tree. The stakes for the Japanese maples will be made from this tree.
6 Here the felled tree has been loaded onto the portable sawmill.
7 A thin knife cuts the tree into pieces. This is called "thin-kerf," kerf being the amount of wood removed by the blade. This sawmill ultilizes blades that remove less than 1/10th of an inch of wood between cuts, producing more wood and less waste!
8 Now we have stakes for the Japanese maples!
9 Here old bamboo stakes will be replaced with the new wooden, sturdier stakes.
10 Phurba is pounding the stake into the hole. Japanese maples grow in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 8. They grow up to 10-15 feet high, with a spread of 10-15 feet. Check here http://goo.gl/ujnBv for your zone to see if you can grow Japanese maples where you live.
11 Four stakes will go around each tree. Japanese maples grow well in moist, organically rich, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. But they prefer lightly sun-dappled part shade--so this is why I planted them under larger trees, in the woodland, at my farm.
12 More staking!
13 Here the perimeter of each tree has been staked. The general plant form of Japanese maples is rounded to broad-rounded, often with low branching. Each palmate leaf is 2-5" long and has 5 or 7 but less frequently 9 pointed toothed lobes.
14 Another shot of the trees with stakes around their perimeters.
15 Chhiring is beginning to put twine around the stakes.
16 Here he is going around the stakes with the twine.
17 The twine is being tied with a simple knot.
18 And then cut with pruning sheers.
19 Here is how each Japanese maple will look -- clearly marked and visible come winter, when these deciduous trees will lose their leaves. But right now I am enjoying the fall color which ranges from bright yellow through orange and red.
20 More Japanese maples with stakes and twine around their perimeters.
21 Here is a nice overview shot that shows the expanse of The Laura Plimpton Japanese Maple Grove.
22 And one final photo of the beautiful grove, dedicated to my dear sister who loved these trees. I will remember her every day and everywhere, but especially here.