woodlily
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Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:43 pm
Location: Terra Alta WV

Need advice on trimming J maple

I have a small Japanese maple on the north side of my house. It is a replacement for one that was broken by the heavy snow last winter. This one isn't doing too well either. It lost the color in its leaves not long after we planted it. The nusery said it was frost and would come back. It didn't come back during the summer so we hope it will next year. Now we want to prepare it for the winter. I was told to cut the bottom limbs so that they wouldn't get weighed down with snow. Is this a good idea? Some of the limbs turned white and seem brittle. Should I cut them off now or should I wait and see what happens? If I do trim, when should I do it? I would sure like to save this tree, so I would appreciate any advice.

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koiboy01
Senior Member
Posts: 171
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:49 pm
Location: U K

Hi,
If some of the branches have turned white and brittle they are definitely dead and need cutting off,you don't say which variety it is or how large it is which would help us to give you advice.
To test if it is alive give it the thumb nail test, that is dig your thumb nail into the bark and expose the layer beneath if it is green it's alive.
koiboy01
anyone who never made a mistake never made anything.

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applestar
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Heh. Mine aren't pruned for style so I can't speak to the aesthetics, but I *hate* the way many people trim Japanese Maples to look like they're wearing knee length skirts! :lol:

I have two healthy specimens growing in full sun in the front yard. I wait until very early in spring before bud break to check for winter lost branches -- the white brittle ones -- and I basically just snap them off. The larger branches that end with jagged edge, I trim after snapping off with sharp pruners, and some that are too thick I cut with pruning saw. Usually it's the middle branch that break off and you're left with a forked Y.

After they leaf out, I trim back only those branches that are so long that they're sweeping the ground to not touch the ground/groundcover (of wild strawberries -- Fragaria virginiana -- BTW 8) ) and branches that are obviously sticking out. I also thin entire overlapping branches a bit to let a little more light into the center. I do end up with interesting sinuous curves to the main branches. :wink:

woodlily
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:43 pm
Location: Terra Alta WV

Thanks for your advice. I did the thumbnail test and it is green. I broke off the white tips - they came off easily. I guess I'll wait to do any more trimming. I was thinking of putting stakes up to help support it from the snow. Are there any other protective meassures I might take?
I'm a novice at growing plants, so this has been a real help. Thanks again.

yama
Senior Member
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:10 am
Location: Salem, MA

Hi
If you are in heavy snow area, suprot branch is good idrea.When you tie branchs, try to use jute twine. sisal twin is oiled and make stain on the branch. Or you can use brown palm twine. Befor use it, wet twin. When twin is wet,it is easy to use it. Black twin stand out color, so brawn twin is better.
When prune maple or any tree/shurbs, start prune inside toward out side.
If maple tree is new, and expect hard freez you protect trunck as well. Often, suden cold weather damage thin maple bark and lose it value.
If you want to keep maple tree compact, root pruning help keep it in size. spade is better than shavel, use file to sharpening spade before rood prune.
yama

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