How can I manage an out of sync tree dormancy?
June - I salvaged some twigs and tried to root them from a damaged branch of my hybrid Maple. All died but one. August - All the leaves (2) fell off but the twig stayed green so I left it alone. September - A new sprout appeared and two weeks later two new leaves appeared. My question is: Should I try to force it to go dormant, or, should I let nature take it's course? I live in Northern Michigan Zone 4 or 5 and the sprig is in a pot.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
If you really want this plant to survive, then I would try to hold off its dormancy just a bit so it can gather some energy before going dormant.
It sounds small, so go ahead and bring it indoors when night time temps drop below 50F. Put it somewhere very bright, but away from fluctuating temps, like drafty windows or heat registers. This will stave off dormancy for a little while longer, but will not stop it.
Once it loses all its leaves (as it goes into dormancy), place it in a cool, dry place (does not need light). Water only when the soil is nearly bone dry.
In the spring, when you see leaves, bring it back to its bright location and then when the chance of frost has passed, acclimate it for outdoors again.
Right now, the tree is in a precarious spot because it likely does not have enough energy stored to make it through the winter, but it would also be very prone to cold damage if left outdoors. This plan provides it with the best chances possible.