Too good to be true

Since I finally got the patio cleaned up for spring, I was able to take a good look at it. One of my favorite things about it right now is the Japanese maple. Or should I say maples plural,  because I have two here. I tend to just think of the one though, because it's doing so well.


So well in fact that it has outgrown this space. Time to find it a new home!


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See how it's completely blocking this staircase?


Not cool, because I know that it's just going to result in snapped branches if I have some adventurous (young) visitors who need to take every single path in my garden to see what it holds. I don't blame them for that -- that's what the paths are for, right? But I don't want to see this tree injured, so as nice as it looks here it has to move.


It really needs a bigger pot too, but it's done so well in this smallish one:


So I'll just pick it up and... oof!

Seems like it may have put a couple of roots down into a crack in the patio.

I'll just pull a bit harder... oompf! urk! errrgg!

It's not moving.


Oh, that's why.

I apparently didn't check for roots last year. Or the year before maybe.

Nothing to do but get the pruners in there and start cutting.

Easier said than done, but eventually I got it:


So, let's take a look:


Hmmm, quite a bit of root growth.


Yes, quite a lot indeed. No worries though, as I've got the answer:


I just sliced off the extra bits with my "garden carving knife" -- a small reciprocating saw that I'm glad I own at times like this.

I'm a bit concerned about the root loss -- no telling how deep the roots went into the patio -- but I'll keep an eye on the plant for a while and ensure it has plenty of water.

Now, what to put in the empty spot? How about another Japanese maple?


These are the two plants I got on clearance last fall for $20 each. One is more weeping with a lacy leaf structure, while the other is more upright. Here's what the leaves look like:



Here's the big plant I'm moving for comparison:


Since the other maple on the patio is lacy, I think I'll go with the upright version even though it looks pruned and has a strange form -- perhaps it was tied up for too long and all of the branches got bunched?


In any case, it gives me plenty more room on the patio, and the stairs are now clear (but not clean):


I put the other new maple on the patio too, on the left. Not sure if it will stay there, but it works for now.

The bigger maple has a new home now next to the driveway behind the bamboos, and I think it looks great there:


I should have waited for better lighting before taking a photo, but this project was long overdue already, and I didn't want to stretch it out any more.

So I've relearned a good lesson: when a potted plant suddenly starts doing much better than it had been before, it may be because it's no longer strictly potted -- its roots may have made it down into the soil, giving the plant the room it needs to thrive. All of that new growth may be too good to be true.

I'll be paying attention to this from now on, I promise!

(At least for the next month or two.)

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Teri  – (May 4, 2012 at 8:31 AM)  

I hear you on that! I have a couple pots of bamboo that suddenly were doing fantastic... and then shoots started coming up in the driveway! So it's going to get what it wants - moved and planted so it can do its thing.

Cat  – (May 4, 2012 at 9:06 AM)  

That's interesting. I'll keep an eye on my potted maples for more exuberant growth! They all look nice in their new homes.

danger garden  – (May 4, 2012 at 10:27 AM)  

Most of the time I'm happy to have a small garden. But then when I see a project like this, where you have the space to relocate a tree, well I start to wish for an acre or two.

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (May 4, 2012 at 3:01 PM)  

danger: to be fair, it's a potted tree. It's not like I'm digging up big ones and moving them around on a whim. Although I've often thought that retired superheroes could make a killing in the landscaping/gardening business. Hulk move tree!

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