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I'd love to plant a beautiful acer, but have been put off as most of the growers labels state they need to be planted in ericaceous compost. I have a friend with lots of acers in her garden none of which have been anywhere near ericaceous compost - is this just good luck rather than good management? Will they grow well and thrive in normal garden soil?



I,ve got Acer drummondii and acer campestre ( field maple) on clay soil, its the japanese ones I think that are harder to grow, wouldn't survive on this windy hill!

24 May, 2013


The prefer rather than need acidic soil. I have mine in ordinary compost. An ericacious feed once in a while would not go amiss.

24 May, 2013


Shelter from strong winds is the critical thing - they are woodland plants.

Ericaceous compost is acid Your friend's garden is probably on the acid side and therefore there would be no need to acidify it with ericaceous compost. If you are concerned to find out what your soil is, you can buy a pH tester at most garden centres which will show you on a scale of probably 3.5 to 8. If your soil is 8 on the scale is is alkaline. 7 is neutral and around 6 and under is acid. If you have acid soil you won't need ericaceous compost for acid loving plants. If rhododendrons do well in your garden or those around you your soil is probably acid.
A different range of plants do well on a pH of 6, eg those found on limestone.

24 May, 2013


Our soil is neutral and we have several healthy acers growing in it. Cold winds are the enemies of ours.
Now, I have just looked at your profile, Scotter, and see tha you live in north Lincs. My feeling is that you may have a heavy, alkaline soil that would not suit acers; but I cannot explain your neighbours success. I would suggest that you buy one and try it out.

24 May, 2013


I have always been under the impression that with Acers it is not so much the prescence of acid, more the absence of lime. They are as a species lime intolerant (there are exceptions), but mainly they would be lime-haters rather than acid-lovers.

That said, I would strongly urge anyone to grow (some) of them in as big a pot or container as can be afforded.

The rewards of a healthy acer in full leaf are many.. :)

25 May, 2013


Many thanks to all gardening colleagues who responded to my question - all extremely helpful. As one colleague suggested - I think I'll try one and see!

28 May, 2013

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