Winter maintenance - dieback

Discussion in 'Maples' started by ChrisUk, Jan 15, 2022.

  1. ChrisUk

    ChrisUk Active Member

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    Hello (and happy new year!)

    After a very nice Autumn where I've been able to really appreciate all the fall colors this year, I was wondering if I should start doing a bit of maintenance one some trees.

    Since all the leaves have gone, I can now clearly see all the diebacks on some branches (see photos as examples)

    I've got two questions
    1/ Is it a good time to cut die back, or it's better to wait for early spring?

    2/ When cutting the die back, is it better to cut down to an area non black/dead just above buds? If I cut these now, wouldn't the twig die further down? Where and when would it be best to cut?

    thank you!
     

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hi Chris and a happy new year to you also.
    Re your questions, I remove any dead,diseased or damaged wood at any time of the year, so basically when I see it. I always remove to healthy wood, so yes just above healthy viable buds.

    Hope that's of help

    D
     
  3. ChrisUk

    ChrisUk Active Member

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    Thank you @Acerholic !

    If I cut down just above a bud, will it continue its dieback further down or will stop there?
     
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I always cut down enough to remove dead or diseased and leave a small stub to allow for further die back and the remove this the following year.

    D
     
  5. ChrisUk

    ChrisUk Active Member

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    Thank you, I will start tidying the branches when it's no longer frosty
     
  6. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    Unless you are getting extended severe frost, then any time is good to cut back the die back. We had a very cold period between mid Dec - early January. Now back to seasonal with likely the odd cold spell. I always start the pruning mid Feb. as the worst of the cold weather is over. Then end of Feb - early March we do all the re potting of any maples that are on the "to do " list.
     
  7. ChrisUk

    ChrisUk Active Member

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    Thanks @Otto Bjornson . Here it doesn't get severe frost for extended period of times. Even the lowest at the moment is maybe -2C ? and the frost thaws during the day (even in the shaded areas). You've just reminded me that I need to update my own todo list of the maples I need to repot.
    The good thing with the cold weather here at the moment, is that it gives more chances for all my seeds in trays outside to get the natural cold treatment to germinate this spring. It worked well last year and hoping to get good results this year (with way more seeds than last year!)
     
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  8. dicky5ash

    dicky5ash Generous Contributor

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    I don’t cut down into good wood at this time of year, maybe I’m being overly cautious..I only cut into dead wood, then cut further down in the spring/early summer but only if necessary when trees heal much more readily. More often that not another clip is not necessary.. unless there remains something that does not look healthy.

    I’d also give the blade a quick wipe with a cloth soaked in disinfectant after each cut..otherwise there is a risk of spreading nasties
     
  9. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Rising Contributor

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    The point of cutting in good wood is to remove all diseased tissue. Pathogens also inhabit the area adjacent to where the cambium has died.

    On the other hand if the die back is not due to an infection, there is no need to be in a rush to cut.

    Die back to a node is inevitable. Bud death is a good indicator of an infection.
     
  10. opusoculi

    opusoculi Rising Contributor

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    @Osoyoung i agree. @dicky5ash too.

    About grey heels.
    A heel will dry out or sometime turn black before turning grey.
    Blackening of the heel is not a disease, it is the cambium that is dying; (without any bud above, no sap comes down).
    That is a normal dead and not a disease. (I don’t said die back in this case).

    On young plants/trees.
    Sometime the blackening of a heel goes lower than the heel , both buds also blacken.
    Two lower buts will take over futur developpment. If you are not sure about, you prune.
    Trees a few years older don’t do that or rarely.

    Disease in end of summer and october.
    The blackening that occurs at the top of stems an leaves is an attack of bacteriosis (at it’ first stage);
    we must early prune it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
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  11. dicky5ash

    dicky5ash Generous Contributor

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    Thanks.I don’t disagree with the purpose and I understand the concept of cutting down into good wood, I’m just concerned with multiple fresh cuts in good wood during a prolonged cold period..in that there is a real risk of introducing other pathogens..when in 99% of cases (in my own experience) the die-back is not disease but soft new growth that didn’t harden up in time to resist Winter..and typically stops at the next node down. During warmer periods I would not hesitate to cut back into good wood.
     

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