How to prune?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Riverdale27, Jun 29, 2021.

  1. Riverdale27

    Riverdale27 Active Member

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    Hi guys,

    I'm wondering... I have many acers in containers. Most of them have upright cultures (those I like the most), like Jordan, Black Lace, Bloodgood, etc...

    I'm wondering: how do you prune these? Do you even prune these? For example, my Black Lace is growing like mad and I have supported "the leader" going up with a bamboo stick, because I want nice upright growth.

    They all came pruned like a Y from the store. From the two branches, a lot of new growth came out, but its more growing at 45° angles and hanging down under the weight, instead of growing nicely upwards.

    How do you guys deal with that? Will nature just take care of that, or can you help prune these trees in a nice condition?

    The end result would have to be something like this, for example:
     

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  2. Jaybee63

    Jaybee63 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Often, when first planting out a young tree in new soil, you get a lot of extended whippy growth including long extension of the leaders which weigh down the main branches and you loose the height.
    Look for the structure you want and take out what you don’t want, thin it right out and shorten the main branches which are sagging, thin it out extensively. You are just looking for the framework.
    In subsequent years, growth is likely to be much more typical for the cultivar and much less vigorous.
    I now prune in late spring after leaf out, but you could do it now.
     
  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good evening Kurt. Fully agree with J @Jaybee63, if I could just add that I tend to leave all my trees to do their own thing in the first year to settle roots.
    No harm at all in training a branch in the direction you want the leader to go though.
    Next year, late Winter early Spring you can then remove what you need to get the shape you want, but then again I only remove around 30 % only, then again the same the following year. It is a slowly slowly process to get the right shape.

    D
     
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  4. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    It really is all visual and the look you would like to obtain. Selective cutting is always the way to go. Once you make a cut step back and visualize what you would like to remove next. Here is one of our container grown specimens "fireglow". This one is over 40 years old and container grown since the day I first grafted it. I like an "airy" look to the tree, again personal preference as ultimately you will be admiring your cultivators in your garden.
     

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  5. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    So do I : I came to be a "maple enthusiast" through bonsai, so I prefer (most of the time, for most of the trees) trees that have leaf pads rather than pom-pom trees that get leggy after a few years. Personal preference, but of course, it depends on the cultivar. "Big" trees are better with an "airy" architecture anyway, they're much more natural.
     
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  6. Riverdale27

    Riverdale27 Active Member

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    @Otto Bjornson : that tree is looking amazing! That is exactly how I want my big trees to look like. What pains me a bit is that this one is 40 years old :D I don't have that much time to wait :D
     
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