green leaves on a red maple

Discussion in 'Maples' started by mefirst, May 24, 2008.

  1. mefirst

    mefirst Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago, Il
    Hi. First time poster. This is a great forum.

    I live in Chicago and have a red japanese maple planted fairly colse to my house on the east side. On the bottom half of the tree, the leaves are red. But on the upper half, the leaves are green. Re-planting is not really an option.

    I don't like the look of this at all. Will the green leaves eventually turn red? Or should I prune the tree? The green leaves are probably 30% to 40% of the tree; is pruning safe? When should I do it?

    Also, the botton branches weep down almost to the ground and I would like to give the tree more definition. Is it okay to prune the lower branches now, along with the green portion? Or if that too much pruning?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. It's such a lovely tree but I'm afraid I've let it get away from me and now does not look good at all.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Worthy42

    Worthy42 Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Southeastern, PA
    Is the tree newly planted or did you newly move into the house? If not, what has the tree done in past years? Also, is this an upright maple or some sort of weeping dissectum? It sounds like you are describing an upright tree, but I wasn't sure.

    Personally, I would not prune off the green top at this point. Give it some time. And 30% to 40% is a lot of tree. It could easily end in disaster. You could carefully clear out some of the lower branches now, though, if desired. But do not wait too much longer.
     
  3. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Novato, California
    are the branches with the green leaves coming out of the same exact place as the red leaves or are they coming off of the stem lower down? many Japanese maples
    are grafted onto a different rootstock and if the green-leafed branches are growing
    out of the stem below the grafted crown from which the red leafed branches are
    growing then those green-leafed branches just need to be cut off flush with the stem.
    I assume the green and red leaves are of different form - the red are likely dissected?
    I am guessing here but I think the green-leafed branches are from the rootstock and
    are a completely different type Japanese maple from the red leaves which are the real
    leaves. I could be all wet here but I'm trying to help
     
  4. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    A photograph would indeed help
     
  5. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Especially a close-up showing the point where the variously colored foliage emerges from the main trunk, which would help to answer katsura's question above.
     
  6. mefirst

    mefirst Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago, Il
    Here are two pictures. Full length and close-up. On the picture on the right, the green shoot is where the green leaves grow from.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. smivies

    smivies Active Member

    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    Well Katsura, you hit that nail on the head!

    The green portion can & should be removed (should have been done 7 or 8 years ago). The variety of maple is a red weeping disectum and the branches are supposed to cascade to the ground. Pruning the lower branches would ruin the character of the tree and is a contrary strategy to the type of Japanese maple you have.

    Alternatively, you could ditch the red leaves and keep the green ones....a complete waste but certainly an option.
     
  8. mefirst

    mefirst Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago, Il
    Thanks. The growth started at the end of the year two summers ago and we left it last year hoping sun exposure would turn the leaves.

    I bought the maple from a local nursery and they didn't say anything about watching for green shoots. Would one normally expect care instructions to include watching for green shoots or is something I should have known?
     
  9. smivies

    smivies Active Member

    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    Lot of growth in 2 years...you've been taking good care of it. Too bad the wrong part is thriving. To expect the nursery to inform at time of purchase of every possible eventuallity isn't reasonable. When they do (or try to), it unintentionally sounds a bit like they're preaching....not good with the customers. They probably would have been very helpful if you'd gone back with the question you posted to the forum. You've done the right thing in looking for help & now you know for next time (it will probably send green leaved shoots out for a while after pruning, just break them off when they're 1" long).
     
  10. mattzone5b

    mattzone5b Active Member

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Winchester,Va. US
    They should have warned you but I am not suprised that they didn't. Many of us have learned from experience or reading. There is no way you could have known. When I first started liking JM's, I was astonished that trees were grafted and there were 800-1500 different cultivars. I have learned so much in the past few months. These trees have become a very addicting hobby.
     
  11. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    It is amazing just how a picture shows up the problem
     
  12. paxi

    paxi Active Member

    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Soo.... what next?

    With this type of pruning job do you folks suggest doing it at once or in smaller stages? Wait until the tree is dormant?

    thanks for the picture.
     
  13. Worthy42

    Worthy42 Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Southeastern, PA
    Can the entire green portion safely be removed at once?

    The picture sure did help!
     
  14. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Novato, California
    thank you for the clarifying pictures. the "real" red dissectum looks fine & vigorous.
    of course the green rootstock shoot is also vigorous. it is your tree, mefirst, but I
    would cut out the green palmatum "top" growth leaving the lovely red dissectum
    "bottom" part. i believe the entire green portion can be removed at once. good
    luck.
     
  15. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    I'd say in this situation you've got to cut the green right off, right now.

    The problem is that the plant is focusing its energy, nutrients, and all that good stuff into the green foliage, which is physically part of the same plant as the rootstock (as opposed to the desirable cultivated variety, which has been grafted on).

    The plant should be okay. It's evidently got a well-developed and established root system, which can get back to devoting its attention to the branches you want to keep.
     
  16. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,691
    Likes Received:
    149
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    You don't have to cut the green off - it's perfectly possible to keep it as a two-part plant, which would make a very interesting garden conversation piece. The green part will also help shade the purple and thereby protect it from sun scorch.
     
  17. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    If it were my own plant, the green part would never have been given the chance to take a hold in the first place (that is not a criticism ... I realise that you didn't know what to do)
    Now that it has, I would cut it off
    To me it looks quite dreadful as it is at the moment
     
  18. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    ROME Italy zone9/b
    for me remove the green leaves ,is possible total revert,this is your choise
    maple green is beautiful too,but if you want rubrum.....
    ciao
     
  19. mefirst

    mefirst Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago, Il
    We went ahead and cut the green portion. I will send a pic when things slow down here. It is not a pretty tree and we are not sure we will keep it. Looking at it now I can see where the nursery did the same thing we just did and the result is a pretty unattractive, large bald spot at the crown. I always thought it was kind of odd but thought it would grow in.

    Thanks so much for all of your help. I am so impressed by all of your knowledge and willingness to help! Thanks!
     
  20. paxi

    paxi Active Member

    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Louis
    aww come on, give it a chance :) I'm sure it looks odd and ill proportioned after cutting that much off. The rootstock (green portion) looks to be a vigorous/dominant grower, so the bald spot never really had a chance to grow in. I bet if you keep the green cut back you may be happy with the results in a year or two
     
  21. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Novato, California
    mefirst, I second paxi's above comments entirely. the red dissectum looks very
    healthy and should grow in in time. this tree will reward you. i have a big bald spot
    on my crown too and i will never be " pretty" but my wife has kept me and we have
    prospered. so will you and your special tree. good luck & have fun with it.
     
  22. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    You can also contemplate the possibility of staking up one branch of the tree to give it a more upright character. Pendulous side branches should appear over time from this new leader, and the bald spot -- admittedly attractive on a kingly specimen like katsura -- will be a fading memory.
     
  23. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Novato, California
    my eternal gratitude, kaspian!
     

Share This Page