Can I plant three different maples together in a large pot and then move them out to the yard? #645896 - Ask Extension

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Can I plant three different maples together in a large pot and then move them out to the yard? #645896

Asked June 04, 2020, 12:25 PM EDT

I really like the architectural appeal of the tri-stem river birch, but I like the larger leaves, shade and fall color characteristics of the maples. Maples seem to do very well in my yard with my current sun and soil conditions (mostly strong sun and slightly acidic soil, I believe). So the first question is can I plant three of the same maple types in a clump in a large pot to be transferred to the yard later (once more established). The second question is could I do this with three different kinds of maples (Norway, Sugar and Celebration/Blaze/Freemani). My worry is that the three different trees (even if they're all the same type) will rub against each other and cause damage that may not heal and could let pests and fungus in.

Hennepin County Minnesota

Expert Response

I did not know the answer to your question, and I could not find good online information, so I asked Gary Johnson of the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources. Professor Johnson said yes, you could do this. He agreed that the trunks rubbing together could create problems. I'd suggest making sure there is enough separation initially to minimize this. Professor Johnson suggested not to use Norway maple. A good alternative, he said, would be Pacific Sunset, a Norway-Shantung hybrid.
Dennis White Replied June 04, 2020, 3:24 PM EDT

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