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Acer Palmatum

I have an acer palmatum in a pot that I've had for about 15 years. It's looked pretty unhappy this year with small dry looking leaves and roots showing at the surface. I'm going to replace the compost and possibly re-pot it. Ideally I would like to reduce it by pruning as it's becoming increasingly difficult to manage because of it's size. I've also seen some sites that advise root pruning. Has anyone done this? Many thanks


  • Thank you.Yours looks beautiful! We only have a very small courtyard garden so unfortunately the border is not an option.

    Last edited: 17 August 2017 08:06:07

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    If it's been in the same pot for 15 years then it realily needs a change. I have done a light root prune on mine but it was a bit of a by product from trying to dig out as much soil from the roots as I could before potting up a size and fresh JI no 3. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 5,103

    I have several in pots and they are doing well. Two are in year 4 or 5 in their current pot so are more than ready for an upgrade. One will receive a larger pot and one will be put in a border. I was going to do this in Spring but I have read that September is ok, although that will be just as the colour changing so bit undecided there. As Hogweed says, pot up to the next size rather than much bigger. Ensure good drainage and protect from frost (I move mine next to a sheltered wall). Always lovely to see Doghouse's neat Acers. 

    Last edited: 17 August 2017 13:24:27

    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,649

    Sounds to me like your acer is starving and also thirsty.  Give it a thorough soaking asap and repeat every day or so till the root ball is thoroughly rehydrated.  Give it some liquid seaweed or other fertiliser to perk it up.   Keep it well watered..  Apart from anything else, this will make it easier to remove from its current pot.  

    If you plan on any root pruning, I would wait till the plant has lost its foliage in autumn and has gone dormant.   Then take it out of its pot, scrape off as much of the worn out compost as possible and trim back some of the longer roots using sharp secateurs to make clean cuts.   Then repot in a bigger pot if possible or in the same pot if you must and use best quality John Innes no 3 compost with a crock over the drainage holes.   Firm it to the same depth of soil as before and make sure you leave at least an inch at the top of the pot to allow for generous watering or, better still, 2 inches so you can mulch it with expanded clay pellets, gravel, chipped slate or pebbles as you prefer.  This will help with moisture retention and also keep down weeds.

    Do the final watering and mulching once the pots is in its final place and check compost levels before you mulch.   It will be much harder to more or correct after you've watered.

    Every spring, give it a handful of slow release fertiliser such as blood fish and bone and keep it watered throughout the growing season.  An occasional feed of liquid seaweed will keep it happier too.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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