Pruning thoughts?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by maplesandpaws, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    I love my Shinju, and it has produced some nice growth this year from the crown, but with fall approaching, I'm trying to decide what to do with regards to pruning, and would like suggestions and feedback.

    I am debating leaving the tree as-is, a more 'shrubby' look to it, or removing the lower two branches, giving a more tree-like shape. The lowest branch on the right is at a nice angle from the trunk, but the lowest branch on the left has grown upwards almost parallel to the trunk before angling out, and I can see this potentially causing problems down the line (not a great angle, but the second pic from winter should give a better idea of overall shape). I would remove just the upward branch on the left, but then the low branch on the right would really look out of place...

    Since the branches are quite thick, if I do prune them, I'm guessing the best time would be in late fall, say November or so? Before or after the leaves have fallen?
     

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  2. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Andrea,

    Personally I'd leave it. It's got a nice shape and very healthy looking growth. JMs tend to "auto-prune" with time, as the inner leaves don't get much light. See if it does that as time goes on.

    Act in haste, regret at leisure... ;) Applies to most (but not all) pruning decisions.

    -E
     
  3. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I'd leave it as it is. It has a lovely shape.
     
  4. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, I will leave it be :)
     
  5. DennisC

    DennisC New Member

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    I'd thinking of opening and shortening the upper side branches to reduce the broad looking top and very symmetrical shape.
     
  6. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Maybe just pinching out the tips of the upper side branches would do the trick?
     
  7. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    I have two other potted maples, Otome zakura (first picture, fabric pot) and Matthew (second picture, resin pot), that have both turned into Medusa this summer. The growth, as rapid as it has been, has been very nice, with well-spaced internodes and isn't leggy at all. The branches have thickened a fair bit, and both are still putting on new growth, though a bit more slowly now.

    My question is, should I prune any of these branches back, and if so, how far and when? I'm hesitant to, because I think it will start to fill in nicely next year and I'd hate to lose the height/width I've gained this year.

    I would appreciate thoughts and suggestions from the rest of you. If you need more/better pictures, just let me know.
     

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  8. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    With regards to your pruning dilemas all i can say from my personal experience and results from heavy pruning on my Acers over the years is you have to try, don't look at a tree which you have had for years sitting in a pot/ground and nothing much ever seems to happen from one year to another!! Take a deep breath think carefully where you are going to cut and what are the overall dimensions of the tree you are trying to acheive?

    Your Shinju for me is crying out to be thined out around the top leader branches because what you are looking for is more growth on the bottom branches to bring this back into a more symetrical tree, if left "as is" the top will get larger and spread out more leaving the bottom branches starved of daylight and before you know it you will be thinking of removing the lower limbs because they aren't progressing as well as the top.

    Moving on to your Otome Zakura, same again myself personally i would definately cut back the long branches on either side by around 10/12 inch in the spring of next year and i will show you why with the following pics.

    First pic is of my Deshojo (Palmatum group same as OZ) in the ground November 2013 as you can see it's very compact in the middle but lots of leggy growth which to me gave an unslightly appearance,now i could have just pruned the branches there and then but where it was planted you couldn't really view it and appreciate the colours.

    Fast forward to April 2014 tree was lifted and put into 35ltr container and left for one month just to settle in and take hold, then all the long leggy stems were cut right back to around eight inches from the main trunk and the tree just exploded with new growth every where, looks more rounded and fuller than before and this will be left now until the leaves drop then will be just lightly trimmed to give an even more rounded shape then left alone and only cut/trimmed again if needed!!

    You can see from the pictures where i have cut back, the new outward growing branches and the the large expanses of "in filling" which they have created giving the tree more body these pics show the cuts best and resulting regrowth and this is all over the tree.

    I know alot of people are scared of pruning because they think they are going to kill their expensive specimen Acer, i was exactly the same and when i first started if i accidentaly broke a branch i was mortified but guess what it grew back!!! and oddly enough it looked better. Started pruning lightly and as the years progress you realise you can't do any damage and you get more aggresive and believe me you end up with fantastic results and you think "why was i worried" don't be.

    Good luck on whatever you decide but all i can say is it works for my Acers.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  9. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Before you know it you will then progress to ruthless tactics with garden shears :)

    First pic of my Orange dream wrongly planted many years ago and finally getting way out of hand growing in all directions and looking terrible with lots of leaf scorching on top.

    Firstly pruned back with shears to a respectable shape, left for one month then dug up very easily 35 minutes only to dig out which was very suprising, then transferred to a 70ltr container and placed into a better shaded position for now.

    Second picture of the tree now doing nicely and actually small budding is taking place!! on a few branches where leaves were lost when digging up.

    Acers are very resilient and will stand quite alot of upheavel.
     

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  10. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Roebuk, thanks for your thoughts and personal experience with similar trees. I think I will prune back Otome and Matthew as you suggested and hope to have the same results, ie more filling in closer to the trunk. For Shinju, since it's a taller tree - and I'm a shortstack, lol - I think I may wait until the leaves have fallen to better see the branch structure and figure out just what should be shortened and/or removed.

    My only concern is when to prune. I know you recommended spring, but I am hesitant to do a lot of pruning in spring due to our climate at that time. We are very humid (most mornings start at 100%), and I'm worried about inviting infection from bacteria or fungus if I do significant pruning. We can get some nice 'dry' (relative term, drier for us at least) spells in summer, depending on rainfall. What about late fall? I know pruning in early fall - around this time - can sometime stimulate new growth, which I don't want in case it doesn't harden off in time for winter, and then I'll end up having significant die-back. Would pruning the branches back at the time the leaves have turned, or just after (November-ish for us), work?
     
  11. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Of course you can still prune after the fall, this was just an example of spring pruning after deciding to uplift this tree at that paticular moment in time.I also pruned another tree (Beni Maiko) as well which had basically gone the same way as Deshojo, and again is looking so much better for this (never took any pics for some reason?)

    If you look back at some of my past threads i have shown pictures of before and after of pruning mainly Osakasuzki ,Sango Kaku, Atropurpureum and all these were pruned after the fall.

    I will be pruning around six more trees after the fall this year and will post pics later at the back end of the year in this thread.

    Taking into account your weather during the spring i would err on the side of caution with regards heavy pruning, keep forgeting you are a long way away!!

    I think your trees will benefit in the long run.
     

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