Planting Sango Kaku
I recently bought a Sango Kaku Acer tree which is looking lovely at the moment. It's still in a pot but I want to plant it in one of our borders now. Should I use Ericaceous compost?
Yes, but if you already have the wrong soil type for Acers, it will only make a temporary difference. Your natural soil acidity/alkilinity will remain.
With Acers it's more important to get the location right. They need the most sheltered spot, with a minimum of sunlight or drying winds, or anywhere too boggy. In the shade of other trees or large shrubs is a good choice, as that would mimic the woodland which is their natural habitat.
We have a Sango Kaku. It has been in the ground (too sunny), in a pot (too restrictive for the roots, and still a bit too sunny), it is now back in a different spot in the ground. We don't much shade in our garden, so only time will tell if it survives.
One of the most beautiful things about that particular variety of Acer, is when the sun hits the bark in Winter, it has the most beautiful colours. However if you put it somewhere shady so it is happy, then you may miss out on that.
Thanks for your comments. Like you we have a sunny south facing garden so finding shade could be tricky although it is still only small so it could be OK for a few years in the lea of the fence.
As you say, time will tell. I'll give it some ericaceous compost when planting it out and keep everything crossed. It really does look lovely at the moment with the light green leaves against the red bark. It's actually next to another Acer with red leaves and that contrast looks fab.
I need a picture,I love Acers
Vendée, Western France
I had a sango kaku in my Belgian garden, in a bed facing full south and planted in neutral clay soil which I improved with loads of manure and some garden compost. The thing about Belgium is the high rainfall and I had a trellis panel fence to its west which tempered the prevailing winds.
It withstood temps down to -25C and up to a sticky, humid 38C and I did give extra water in any hot and dry spells. Thanks to the cold there was always a stem or two that died and needed pruning out in spring and the finer tips could suffer too.
I like them so much I have planted one here too but this time, being hotter and drier now, it is in a bed against a north facing wall and is in a group with Orange Dream, 2 dark leaved acers, a variegated leaf acer and a lime/golden leaved form - all of whose names escape me and all doing very well. The soil there is a mix of neutral top soil but is also full of chunks of a chalky stone which I quarry every time I dig a new planting hole and the whole border has been improved with loads of garden compost and manure.
If your soil is alkaline of has fierce drainage you need to mix in plenty of well-rotted manure to improve fertility and moisture retention and some ericaceous compost. If your soil is clay the same applies as this will open up the soil structure and improve drainage. Don't just do it in the hole where your tree will be planted as you'll just make a soggy sump.
You can also help by giving occasional liquid feeds of sequestered or chelated iron for ericaceous plants between early spring and mid summer. It can cope with sun if there's no water shortage and it has shelter form wind as both of these will cause leaf scorch.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
I have the rotted manure ready to go as we do have clay soil here. The border I am planting the Sango in isn't too bad drainage wise but another border at the top of the garden is terrible. The soil is clay and there is standing water there at the moment, after the rains we have been having. I will try and improve the soil but fear a drain of some kind may be need to remove the water.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to planting the Acer.