Can my Bloodgood survive this drastic prune?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by MapleZen, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. MapleZen

    MapleZen New Member

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    Recently got 5 gallon Bloodgood for a price that was too cheap to pass up from a big garden center. However -- and this is a more of a personal pet peeve -- they didn't train a main branch, and let it split into two right above the graft. I strongly dislike multi-trunked Bloodgoods, but this was my only option.

    My questions are:

    1) If I cut off the smaller side branch, can the tree survive? It will lose about 40% of its canopy, which I know is quite drastic.

    2) I know the advice is usually to wait 2-3 years in the ground before making drastic cuts, but the warranty will have expired by then. My inclination is to cut it now, and if it still looks well 11 months and 29 days from now, I'm probably in good shape. Does that sound right? I feel like this branch may even take over if I allow it go grow freely for a few years first.

    3) This may be a stupid question, but I can't prompt the large cut branch to root and grow a separate tree, can I?

    See the attached photo for reference. I circled in yellow the branch I want to cut off.

    Thanks for all of your help!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @MapleZen good evening and welcome to the maple forum. The answer to your questions is an overall yes. Now the general rule of thumb is only 30% removal at a time. I know you want to remove more, but if you do this over a couple of years, you are not really losing much IMO. Then when to prune !!? I carry out aesthetic pruning at the end of June. It is safe to do this at this time as the sap is not rising and it will not bleed. Or you can think about air layering with that branch and not wasting it, thereby gaining another clone of your Bloodgood. Now air layering is not as difficult as it sounds, but you need to do it properly and tbh there are excellent tutorials on YouTube where you can follow step by step procedures.
    So remember, baby steps on pruning out that branch if thats the way you want to go. It will survive very well.
     
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  3. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    You can air-layer it. Apparently your tree is in full leaves, so the right time is now. It will take 2-3 months, maybe less, maybe a little more, but the rate of success is very high and you have nothing to lose IMO.

    Have a look at this thread :
    Appreciation: - Alternative propagation
     
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  4. MapleZen

    MapleZen New Member

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    Thanks for these replies. I wasn't familiar with air layering previously but I might give it a shot. I'm going to try the plastic container approach (as opposed to fully covered plastic wrap). It's low enough to the ground that I could simply place the maple on the ground next to one of my sprinkler heads (waters every other day automatically for 30 mins) and that should keep the moss moist. Does that sound right? Or is it better to seal it off completely and only add water every few weeks if it's dry?
     
  5. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    Are you able to take a close up picture at the base of the tree where the stock in question is? To me it almost looks like that branch is below the actual graft seam. If that is the case, then you definitely want to cut along the main stock with a sharp clean saw. Very light cutting motion to give it a very clean cut.
     
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    If you enlarge the photo Otto, I think you will see it's above the graft. But I may be wrong.
     
  7. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    I can't enlarge the existing photo??
    All I can see is the branch on the right appears to be lower then the horizontal seam. Often if a stem below the graft line does not get caught in the early first year of the actual graft it may not be detected. Especially when the leaf foilage is the same red tone. More often then not with acer palmatum root stock the seedling stock will shoot up with green tone leaves. Very obvious when you are dealing with dissectums or verigated specimens. But when dealing with bloodgoods ( most common retail variety in north america) a red seedling shoot gets missed often
     
  8. MapleZen

    MapleZen New Member

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    It's about one inch above the graft. I was going to try to air layer that limb starting with the first cut just above the collar and the second cut about 2 inches above that.
     
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  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Have a look at this thread, there are some excellent how to photos here.
    Appreciation: - Alternative propagation
     
  10. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Here is the reply from @MapleZen
    It's about one inch above the graft.

    The photo you are seeing without enlarging is a bit blurred Otto.

     
  11. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    good luck with the layering project! Personally have never tried that. Curios to see your results down the road
     
  12. MapleZen

    MapleZen New Member

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    For clarity, here's a close up. of the root stock, graft, and early diagonal shoot that I would have immediately nipped in the bud had the tree been in my care!
     

    Attached Files:

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  13. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    That is a nice clear close up image!
    If you are going to continue container growing? Gives that bloodgood some interesting character with the shape and the low branch. Looks very healthy and strong to me.
     
  14. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I agree : I wouldn't cut the branch on the right in your last picture. I'd rather prune tghe top actually. But if you prefer to remove it, again, an air-layer is an option you could take... ;-)
     

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