Acer Question...

Can I lift a small acer with a 4' spread (it is only about 2' tall) and pop it into a pot instead. I planted it about five years ago when I was new to gardening and it really is in an inconvenient place!

What size pot would be a good choice?


  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,965

    I would lift it at the back end of the year. I think it may need quite a big pot - about 15inches across? Depends really on the size of root ball. You may have more success just moving it to another part of the garden.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 23,676

    Agree with Hogweed that later would be better, but, if the pot's big enough to accommodate the whole rootball, I'd say it'd be ok so long as the soil is nice and moist and you CAN get the whole rootball out without too much disturbance. 

  • cathy43cathy43 Posts: 373

    Not sure, but if you are going to move it you might be better to put a spade in around the root where you are going to dig it out now and then move it when dormant  and now while it is still in situ will allow it to increase the amount of fiborous roots up close to the tree which it will need when it is moved

    pretty sure acers have surface roots, so the widest pot to can manage, I would go for min 2' pot if 4' canopy

    Hope you understand what I mean but somebody on here will definitely be able to explain it better

  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452

    From my bonsai experience with acers, if you lift it in the autumn you will need to give it lots of tlc and winter protection. Acer bonsai are normally repotted and have their roots trimmed in spring, just before the leaf buds open. This way they are vigorous and grow new root quickly.

    If it was mine I would do it in spring. You can make it easier on yourself and on the tree by cutting a ring around the root ball now to cut some of the side spreading roots. Fill it in again so that the tree can deal with the cuts and recover. Then in the spring you will only need to cut the deeper and downward shoots to get it out of the ground. 

    I would also prune it a bit to reduce the width, corresponding to the amount of root you cut. This will keep it in balance so that the reduced root does not have to supply too much top growth. 

    Hope that all make sense image

    sorry for the repetition, I must have been typing while others were posting.

  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452

    What type of acer is it? Some are more resilient than others.

  • Hi there, I did this when my acer was dormant in very early Spring.  It sounds like it was the same size as yours is now.  It had been in the garden for about 3 years and the confined space was spoiling it.  I put it in a large plastic barrel tub  50 cm dia and there it has been for the last 5 years.  It loves the tub and it's position on a south facing patio.  It does get a bit of wind burn at the top but because it is a tub I can push it to a more protection position against a wall when it is really windy.  It also requires lots of watering.  I try to remove as much compost from the top each year and refill and I put a few hanging bedding plants around the base to hide the pot and feed with a general fertiliser at the same time. The plants around the base encourage me to water as they start to wilt when the acer has taken all the moisture.   It has turned into a beautiful acer and including the pot stands not much shy of 2m with a spread of 6 ft. 

  • I do have another in a pot of a similar vintage. I just really want to use the space it is in for something else.
  • cathy43cathy43 Posts: 373

    If you want to give it away, mention it and someone will definitely want it and give it a good home.  When I first got my own garden I had great difficulty removing anything when it was healthy, an experienced gardener pointed out to me that the plant knows it being moved but doesn't know its in a different garden! After that if something didn't 'work' anymore it became a presentimage

  • So, if I decide not to shift it, what can I underplant it with that will give good ground cover and flower but only grow a few inches high and ideally evergreen? image

  • cathy43cathy43 Posts: 373

    Possibly vinca minor, but it tends to be my solution for difficult placesimage somebody may be able to suggest something that's more floriforousimage

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