Growth habit of Bloodgood maple

Discussion in 'Maples' started by whippersnapper, May 30, 2022.

  1. whippersnapper

    whippersnapper New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm wondering what the natural shape is of a Bloodgood maple? I have some experience with a Senkaki "Coral Bark" maple, which was quite upright, but my understanding is that Bloodgoods tend to grow more laterally? They certainly look beautiful in the photos I've seen.

    The one I have just bought from the nursery is taller and skinnier than I would have expected, with some branches turning pretty much vertical. Is this just because it was cramped in the nursery? I'm wondering if these will open up naturally or do I need to look at tying them down, pruning, etc.? Or does the lateral growth only come with age?

    Thanks in advance!
     

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good morning @whippersnapper and welcome to the maples forum. Re your question about Bloodgood. It is an upright grower. Looking at yours it appears it may have been high grafted, but I can't see the graft to be sure. Often garden centres sell maples like this.
    Yours will bud from lower over the next couple of years if that's what you want rather then a standard.
    I would not do any pruning at the moment. Let it get underway this year in your garden.
     
  3. whippersnapper

    whippersnapper New Member

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    Hi Derek and thanks for the advice, I'm happy to let it grow by itself this year. I'm not sure what a high graft is or changes (?) but I think the graft on this one is just a few inches above ground level.
    Assuming I get some good lateral growth from lower down the trunk, do you expect the tree to also keep reaching upwards from the top as it is currently? Or do Bloodgoods not really do that?
     
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    That's interesting. And yes it will continue to reach upwards. You will get buds on lower healthy branches as well and sometimes from the trunk.
    Those lower branches on yours do look like they may have been in the dark at the nursery. Probably shielded by other trees. You might not get much on them this year, but it is still only beginning of June, so a second push from your Bloodgood should still happen.
    Just one comment. Do pull the soil away from the trunk. It can rot it over time and encourage girdling of the roots.
     
  5. whippersnapper

    whippersnapper New Member

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    Thanks again Derek! I'm down under don't forget so we are almost in mid winter now. A mild May seems to have left many deciduous trees with leaves on still.
     
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Understood, always a bit of a worry when they don't go into their rest period. But maples are so good at adapting. Will look forward to your Spring, our Autumn to see how your Bloodgood leafs out. So do update the maples forum.
     
  7. whippersnapper

    whippersnapper New Member

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    Hi again Derek - I'm happy to let the maple "do its thing" this coming season but I was wondering if I should remove these little branches which are crossing right over the trunk?
    Thank you!
     

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  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Oh yes definitely, problems ahead if left.
     
  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Just another thought. You could wire them away from the trunk. This would give a nice shape without removing anything.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Makes an arching vase over 30 ft. tall with proportionate spread. But is not a wide-spreading mushroom shape. Nevertheless (unless pruned to control size) it will still come to dominate and perhaps overwhelm the small situation you are showing if left there to develop over a period of decades. Not just physically but also visually due to the purple coloring producing a somber effect. Which can be gloomy when at close quarters and overhead. Otherwise various involved details will depend on if your plant is a true-to-type clone of what is taken to be the correct item. Or is instead an example of the much grown- and sold incorrect material that has been on the market in the past. Including what has sometimes been quite apparently seed raised swarms ranging from nearly green to quite purple, all within the same batch of plants trucked to sales yards.
     
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  11. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I'll just add to this good description that, once they get going, they really go pretty fast. I think the true 'Bloodgood' has become pretty rare, even at specialty nurseries.

    I don't agree about them being oppressive, though. In the near Boston suburbs like Medford and Winchester, practically every yard seems to have one of these, (although I would doubt that there's a real 'Bloodgood' among them, they're mostly very purple), full-sized and certainly over 50 years old, along with large white or pink dogwoods and other smaller shrubs. It is a beautiful urban landscape in spring and early summer, it really sparkles under the sun, and blends perfectly with the brick or wood clapboard New England houses.
     
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  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Note I typed "when at close quarters and overhead". Same as with other purple trees such as purpleleaf plums, which a Seattle garden guru once dubbed "foliar black holes".
     
  13. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    If I'm not imposing too much - can any of you experts say whether my +/- 25-year-old red maple may be a true Bloodgood? It was growing here when we bought the place and I just assumed it was a Bloodgood . . .

    Does the fact that it is at least 25 years old make it more or less likely to be an imposter? That is, were true Bloodgoods more often the norm then and perhaps bastardized since?

    PS It is small for its age due to early stresses from lack of good soil and lack of water. Regular watering has made a huge difference to its growth the past few years - to the point where I'm now planning to prune it a little. The leaf colour varies depending on the amount of sun they receive.

    PPS I love this tree, whatever its name.
     

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  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Flattened habit not in line with expectations, leaf margins also different. There are a lot of purple Japanese maples around including seed raised ones without individually specific designations. With material presented as 'Atropurpureum' still having been on the market in my area in recent years.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2022
  15. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I'm certainly no expert in IDing JMs. But I would guess that given the size, age and shape, it's unlikely to be 'Bloodgood'.
     

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