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I have two Acers which are both just under 4 years old. They have been kept in pots and sheltered over winter in the greenhouse until this last winter where they were left under the shade of trees in the garden. In spring they showed good new growth with plenty of leaf but then one seemed to be showing signs of wind damage and the other (red acer) lost all its leaves and the stems are harsh. We re-potted both plants and found ants had nested in both pots, would this have caused any of the problems?

The red acer is: Acer Palmatum-Bloodgood
The green acer is: Acer Palmatum-Dissectum

Thank you.

Acer_red Acer_green



The plant in the top pic is in a pot too small for it, which won't help - the lower one won't last much longer in that pot either, though its not desperate. If a plant is potbound, its difficult for it to get enough water - the ratio of soil to roots is out of balance, so any water isn't held in the soil for the plants to access as and when they need to.
That said, the second one looks as if its either suffered drought or been exposed to strong winds/strong sun.

The presence of ants inside the pots isn't good - if they nest in there, they will chew through roots which are in their way when they want to enlarge the nest. Get a jeycloth, cut it in half and place it in the bottom of your pot, fill with compost and plant, and ensure that the pot is stood off the ground, either by the use of pot feet or with bits of broken roof slate or similar, to give a bit of clearance beneath. Dust the surface beneath periodically with ant powder.

22 Jul, 2011


Its been a bad year for Acers - mine have been fried by the sun, then wind damaged, then from lack of water then a deluge of water! So I have some crispy red Acer, a leafless dissectum, two healthy dissectum (after I pruned off the worst) and one red Acer (to replace one I put too much soil around and rotted the bark!)

Repot the first Acer. When did the leave fall off? It is not the best time to repot but your Acer is not going to lose leaves because of root damage when it has none.

The dissectum is still a nice shape. It will look glorious next spring.

22 Jul, 2011

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