1 All 122 Japanese maple trees were delivered to my Bedford farm and lined up along the carriage road by the maple grove.
2 Japanese maples are native to areas of Japan, Korea, China and Russia. I purchased a variety of cultivars to add to my growing collection. The leaves of these trees can be deep red to green to variegated.
3 The trees varied in size from three to six feet tall. They were all sorted by color and type before they were moved to their planting locations.
4 Red leafed cultivars are the most popular, followed by green shrubs with deeply dissected leaves.
5 Cultivars are categorized into groups by leaf-shape. This tree is in the Amoenum Group because it has the coarsest and fullest leaf structures. The lobes are divided, but only about two-thirds of the way down to the leaf base.
6 This is also in the Amoenum group - the leaves are slightly longer, but still only moderately divided.
7 The leaves in the Palmatum Group are most typical of the wild species. The leaf lobes are more divided, nearly to the leaf base. These leaves are also serrated.
8 The selections in the Palmatum Group most closely resemble the palms of hands with outstretched fingers.
9 These leaves are deeply divided, but each lobe is also dissected, giving them a lacy effect. These are from the Dissectum Group.
10 These leaves, also from the Dissectum Group, are a deep red color.
11 Another member of the Dissectum Group, with slightly wider leaves.
12 When planting, a hole is dug according to the size of the root ball. The hole should be two to three times wider and about as deep as the root ball.
13 The tree was removed from the plastic pot. When this tree is placed into the hole, the top of the root-ball should be a little higher than the surrounding soil.
14 Dry Roots Granular fertilizer was poured into the hole. This blend of nutrients is great for new plantings. It contains organic compost, humus, sea kelp, and other plant supplements to help it grow and to prevent transplant shock. http://www.lebanonturf.com/
15 The heavy leaf cover on the ground also enriches the soil surrounding the new trees.
16 Wilmer scarifies the root ball, or breaks up the roots, all the way around, to stimulate new growth.
17 Wilmer places the tree into the hole, making sure the depth of the hole is correct, and that the tree sits level.
18 Wilmer then fills the hole around the root ball with nutrient-rich compost made right here on my farm.
19 Wilmer firms up soil round the tree.
20 A rake is used to level and tidy up the surrounding soil.
21 Just another 121 more trees to plant.
22 Once a section was planted, the trees were given a healthy drink of water. Young trees need to be kept moist to prevent their shallow root systems from drying out. This is especially important during summer, and this summer has been particularly dry.
24 To protect the trees even more, I decided to place stakes and twine around the perimeter of each one, so that they would be visible during the cold season when their leaves have fallen and the branches are covered in snow.
25 Staking the trees also keeps weed whackers from getting too close when the interior beds are trimmed and cleaned.
26 As these young trees grow, their colors will become even more vibrant. Many of these trees can grow up to 30-feet tall and six to eight feet wide.
27 In a few weeks, when we are well into autumn, the grove will be filled with a rainbow of bright yellows, oranges and reds. It will be glorious - I can't wait.