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Old 05-27-2015, 07:02 PM
 
1,106 posts, read 3,173,769 times
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I've always wanted a nice Japanese Maple at my house. Well in my new house I inherited one. Although I'd say it isn't very nice. I like the branches spaced out with a nice canopy. It looked like the previous owner trimmed it down to be bushy. Anyway. A whole third of the tree isn't growing. It was bare last year and Ieft it alone to see what would happen. It's still bare. Should I leave it alone or go ahead and trim those off so it can get some air or space in there to make it more attractive?

I'll get a picture up in a bit. Can't from my phone.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:16 PM
 
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Perhaps you can get an arborist to help you bring it back to its glory? The cooperative extension should be able to refer you to one.

I prefer fruiting trees and am going to replace all my trees with fruit bearing trees. Japanese Maples, though, are one of the few trees that I would keep. There just beautiful.

I butchered a tree one time in an effort to kill it. It came back and was so unique looking that I decided to keep it.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:07 AM
 
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Yup pictures are the only way to give you good feedback
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:38 PM
 
Location: South Raleigh, NC
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Yep, need the pictures.
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Old 05-28-2015, 04:51 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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With a Japanese Maple, you can cut it back to the trunk (early spring) and it will sprout new branches at the cut and you can start over, but it will be 4-5 years before you get that canopy you want. I cut the top off of a Bloodgood that was 4" at the base, and moved it to another location. It's now 8' tall, 6 years later with a really nice canopy. It's a technique borrowed from bonsai, called the "trunk chop" meant to create a short tree with thick trunk.

Bonsai

Developing Deciduous Bonsai Branch Structures
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
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I would give it at least a year to make sure it was really ruined. After that, rip it out and replace it with the tree of your dreams.
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:42 AM
 
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Time got to me and I forgot to come back to post a picture here it is. I definitely will not be cutting this tree down and replacing it. The cut part is more than a year old for sure and it has sprouted some new branches over the at least past two years but no leaves grow on any of it. It has some good age to it and isn't that bad, just not the style I like. I wish the previous owner never cut it back like that. To me it takes away from what a Japanese Maple looks like.
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What to do with this Japanese Maple-image1.jpg  
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:44 AM
 
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I have no idea why the picture rotated b/c on my computer and phone it isn't. Sorry about that.
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:15 AM
 
Location: NC
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You will want to trim off the dead branch, but knowledge about where to cut is important. If you have no such knowledge then my suggestion is to leave 1 foot of the "dead" branch behind after cutting. Cut at a 45 degree angle so that the rain won't puddle on the cut end but will drip off immediately.

If you are experienced to know exactly where the living bark ends, then leave about 1 inch of the dead branch past the living bark, but also do an angle cut as above to move the rain water away from the trunk. This 1 in will allow the living bark to grow out to cover the edges of the cut end, which will help prevent rot getting established where the living bark meets the dead wood. Do not paint the cut end with anything as it will prevent the healing, which might take a year or two to complete.

It is a very nice tree BTW.
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:21 AM
 
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Your Bloodgood appears to have been attacked by a borer, verticillium wilt or both.

Yes proper trimming of the affected branches are critical. Very good description and diagram available on the net. Much better than I can or anyone else can explain in one post. Whatever you do make sure to disinfect the saw after each cut to stop the spread of any diseases or pathogens from one part of the tree to the other.

With regards to the potential borer I would suggest having the tree sprayed and also using a systemic root uptake incesticide.

The potential vertically wilt issue is much more difficult because the pathogen in already in the soil. I suspect you have poorly draining soil. As such try to cultivate carefully around the tree as much as possible without damaging the roots. Then feed your tree. Try cutting back on the water as much as possible to let the root system dry a little. Deep and infrequent is better than light and frequent.

It could do with a good thinning out.

Its a very nice tree it will take some work and a year or more to get it back to full health.

Bayer makes some very good retail products for the home owner.

Oh and clear a three foot circle of any vegetation from around the tree and try to expose so as much of the root collar as possible. Also make sure no roof drains empty into that part of the planter bed. Check the run off on that walkway or driveway as well.

Last edited by Bulldogdad; 06-02-2015 at 10:32 AM..
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