Dwarf Japanese Maple out of control

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Jeremy Parker, Dec 29, 2020.

  1. Jeremy Parker

    Jeremy Parker New Member

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    Hartselle Al
    I bought a house with this dwarf Japanese Maple. I do not know anything about it other than it overhangs the sidewalk and needs pruned. I would like to get it at least 6” to a foot from the ground. There are a few big limbs I am wanting to cut because they are low limbs, but I don’t want any bald spots when it is full this summer. Does cutting limbs promote new growth? Any suggestions on how to do this other than what I am seeing on YouTube? I have another one in the corner of the house that is very small and not growing, it doesn’t get a lot of sun. Should I dig it up and move it to an area with full sun?

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    Good evening Jeremy and welcome to the maples forum, first of all that is a lovely specimen and to be honest I would not do any major surgery to it other than remove dead, diseased, damaged and dying branches. This can be done now.
    But if you want to lift it a little then any pruning should take place initially at the end of Winter and just before Spring when you can see the buds starting to swell. This will give you an idea of where they will shoot. Then you can also trim in early Summer when you can see the tree in full flow so to speak. Even then I would not want to remove those older branches that have so much age and character. I would remove branches that are no bigger than pencil diameter at the most to give it some shape. But then again very little, as I love the shape it has in photo 4. Overhanging the path a little makes it more interesting IMO.
    Regarding the maple in shade, they like this, they do not do well in full sun in the afternoons, so best leave it where it is.
    You have been very fortunate to inherit two lovely dwarf maples. Do post photos of them in the Spring, I am certain everyone will enjoy seeing them.
    Hope this has helped a little.
  3. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    Anacortes, WA
    I'll just add that one should not cut back beyond a visible bud (pair) in late-winter/early-spring. Sometimes a branch with no visible buds will just die.

    Also, buds closer to the trunk will oftentimes become visible subsequently. In this case, one can again cut back to visible buds. The tree will consequently be a little later leafing out but it will also be 'tamed' more quickly.
  4. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor

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    Nanoose Bay, BC Canada
    Is transplanting this maple a realistic option? Even selling it to a landscaper would be preferrable to cutting it back to 6 to 12 inches above the ground. I've seen mature specimens like this being offered at garden centres for $1000 or more . . .

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