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View Full Version : How to trim this Japanese Maple Tree?


Mxrider52
05-02-2012, 11:23 PM
I am just trying to figure out how to trim this Japanese Maple tree. If I trim it back it is pretty much going to look bare. So I am not sure. I just know it is overgrown and is taking over the sidewalk. Just looking to get an idea of what you all thought and how much it would cost to trim. THanks

Think Green
05-03-2012, 12:14 AM
52,
Another classic case of beautiful tree planted in the wrong place.

Remember one fact--This species of tree is a slow grower and slow to recover from pruning. I air layer these trees if possible to allow better air flow. Light is better received into the inner branches. Often these trees will have dead inner limbs and twigs from light deprivation. These must be pruned out. When you have to prune back the limbs--go back to the leader limb and do not cut off the tip of the twig, branch,etc. The branch will die back if you do this. Do not cut back more than 1/3 of these trees at any one time. The tree will succumb to sunburn and scald if you prune when it gets too hot. Make sure there is plenty of water and use 12/6/6 fertilizer with micro's.
I will not steer you wrong.....because I prune these trees all day long as most of my customers have at least 5 species of these trees per site. These are not cheap by any means and if you don't know what you are doing...........you will be replacing one.
To replace this tree at our nurseries will be around 500-800 bux....purchase price.

From the looks of this photo with the tree already being out over the sidewalk---the inner limbs have become large. To get those limbs back off the walkway---this tree will have to be trimmed back severely. Tell the customer this tree will look terrible for quite a while. next time they don't need to have waited or allowed this tree to grow this long.

Coffeecraver
05-03-2012, 06:36 AM
It would be good if the sidewalk could be widened at that point to save the tree.The pruning this tree needs would be more than it could handle and it would surely die.:(

agrostis
05-03-2012, 05:10 PM
Both these answer's are correct. That's a nice tree. Insurance would probably be 3-4 K to replace. If you prune that heavily you will have bad looking result's. Lose the tree completely or move the sidewalk.

Florida Gardener
05-03-2012, 05:50 PM
Why not transplant??? Do these not transplant well?
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FLCthes4:11-12
05-03-2012, 06:01 PM
They transplant fine but chances are that you would need to dig a 60" + root ball. Might be a little invasive to the existing landscape. That tree doesnt look stressed and they are not near as fragile as they look. Try removing all dead branches then look for crossing branches and remove those. I would do that now then prune harder when it is dormant. Unfortunatly there are 4 very large ones planted at a McDonalds close by that the service shears about every 3 weeks or so they are about 8" caliper. They are resilent just go slow.

Florida Gardener
05-03-2012, 07:26 PM
They transplant fine but chances are that you would need to dig a 60" + root ball. Might be a little invasive to the existing landscape. That tree doesnt look stressed and they are not near as fragile as they look. Try removing all dead branches then look for crossing branches and remove those. I would do that now then prune harder when it is dormant. Unfortunatly there are 4 very large ones planted at a McDonalds close by that the service shears about every 3 weeks or so they are about 8" caliper. They are resilent just go slow.
I doubt that is a 60" RB on that. I vote for a transplant. Why keep a plant like that in a space like that. Fix the problem long term.
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Coffeecraver
05-04-2012, 06:32 AM
Transplanting this tree is possible with the right equipment and the right person with experience. Even so it's chance of survival would be 40-50%
1) Have a written agreement with the owner that if the tree should die that is a risk he is willing to take without holding you accountable.
2) Get a sub-contractor with the equipment and experience to move the tree.
3) The area needed to dig a root ball large enough will impact the plants around it.Be sure that is understood in the agreement.
4) Making a little money using a sub, is better than taking a risk on something this sensitive.

Good Luck!
:)

FLCthes4:11-12
05-04-2012, 09:30 AM
I doubt that is a 60" RB on that. I vote for a transplant. Why keep a plant like that in a space like that. Fix the problem long term.
Posted via Mobile Device

Yep might as well just cut it flush. What is the caliper for the tree? 12" of rootball per inch of caliper.

3rdDayBrad
05-04-2012, 08:40 PM
Cut back or remove the shrubs surrounding the maple, and move the sidewalk. There, problem solved!

Mxrider52
05-04-2012, 09:41 PM
52,
Another classic case of beautiful tree planted in the wrong place.

Remember one fact--This species of tree is a slow grower and slow to recover from pruning. I air layer these trees if possible to allow better air flow. Light is better received into the inner branches. Often these trees will have dead inner limbs and twigs from light deprivation. These must be pruned out. When you have to prune back the limbs--go back to the leader limb and do not cut off the tip of the twig, branch,etc. The branch will die back if you do this. Do not cut back more than 1/3 of these trees at any one time. The tree will succumb to sunburn and scald if you prune when it gets too hot. Make sure there is plenty of water and use 12/6/6 fertilizer with micro's.
I will not steer you wrong.....because I prune these trees all day long as most of my customers have at least 5 species of these trees per site. These are not cheap by any means and if you don't know what you are doing...........you will be replacing one.
To replace this tree at our nurseries will be around 500-800 bux....purchase price.

From the looks of this photo with the tree already being out over the sidewalk---the inner limbs have become large. To get those limbs back off the walkway---this tree will have to be trimmed back severely. Tell the customer this tree will look terrible for quite a while. next time they don't need to have waited or allowed this tree to grow this long.

Yea you just are not lying. They are beautiful if you take care of them or plant them in the right spot. I had a feeling if I trimmed this too much it would kill it. I guess that is why I am here. I kind of looked inside the tree and it is completely bare and yes it had larger branches. Prob an inch or larger. Cant really remember. Only the outside of tree has growth. I am not sure how much sun it gets. It was cloudy when I was over there. If I had to guess it does not receive direct sun all day.

Your info sounds good. I have not talked with the owner about what they want to do about it. I was just asked to give a bid on cleaning up the landscape so I want to make sure I get my numbers right first.

It would be good if the sidewalk could be widened at that point to save the tree.The pruning this tree needs would be more than it could handle and it would surely die.:(

Yes, it would be nice but I dont think they will probably be in for widening their sidewalk lol. I do believe this tree will be hard to trim like you said without stressing it out to the extreme.

Transplanting this tree is possible with the right equipment and the right person with experience. Even so it's chance of survival would be 40-50%
1) Have a written agreement with the owner that if the tree should die that is a risk he is willing to take without holding you accountable.
2) Get a sub-contractor with the equipment and experience to move the tree.
3) The area needed to dig a root ball large enough will impact the plants around it.Be sure that is understood in the agreement.
4) Making a little money using a sub, is better than taking a risk on something this sensitive.

Good Luck!
:)

Transplanting may be possible but I highly doubt they would want to spend that kind of money to move a tree. I do appreciate the idea though. It had not crossed my mind. I would def not try my luck at transplanting. It would def be subbed out.

Liberty Landscaping LLC
05-05-2012, 02:28 AM
I went to cut a property for a friend of a friend. While there a neighbor stopped me to complement me on backing my truck and trailer down the dead end. She then said can you give me an estimate. I did she agreed and i cut it next. Afterward she pointed to a Japanese maple and said can you clean that up? My mother in law has one and it's a royal pain in the a$$ so I simply said i don't know enough about them because i know they are fragile and it's not covered under my insurance. Not worth the headaches down the line long story short. To me seems like your in the same boat not worth the hassle.
Posted via Mobile Device

White Gardens
05-05-2012, 02:45 AM
Start at the bottom, work up and bonzai the sucker and come back every few years to clean it up.

...

Northern Woodsman
05-05-2012, 06:43 PM
I had one in my yard that looked like that only much larger. I pruned it with a chain saw and it looked great the following year. As I was doing it, I thought oh my God what have I done to this tree!!! lol

IMO, it either needs to be transplanted, aggressively cut back and shaped or removed and replaced with something else. I would not want to transplant a tree that big though. That would be a huge job (for me anyways) and if not done correctly will place too much stress on it. This time of year the only option is to cut it back.

A dwarf Japanese Maple would have been perfect in that spot with some pruning to keep the correct size/shape. Beautiful tree though.

Duekster
05-05-2012, 07:45 PM
The first few responces are spot on. It is prune not trim.

bare spot
08-14-2013, 02:47 AM
52,
Another classic case of beautiful tree planted in the wrong place.

Remember one fact--This species of tree is a slow grower and slow to recover from pruning. I air layer these trees if possible to allow better air flow. Light is better received into the inner branches. Often these trees will have dead inner limbs and twigs from light deprivation. These must be pruned out. When you have to prune back the limbs--go back to the leader limb and do not cut off the tip of the twig, branch,etc. The branch will die back if you do this. Do not cut back more than 1/3 of these trees at any one time. The tree will succumb to sunburn and scald if you prune when it gets too hot. Make sure there is plenty of water and use 12/6/6 fertilizer with micro's.
I will not steer you wrong.....because I prune these trees all day long as most of my customers have at least 5 species of these trees per site. These are not cheap by any means and if you don't know what you are doing...........you will be replacing one.
To replace this tree at our nurseries will be around 500-800 bux....purchase price.

From the looks of this photo with the tree already being out over the sidewalk---the inner limbs have become large. To get those limbs back off the walkway---this tree will have to be trimmed back severely. Tell the customer this tree will look terrible for quite a while. next time they don't need to have waited or allowed this tree to grow this long.

these trees japanese maples have got the focus of my attention tonight and been trying to learn more about them past day time permitting. think green i seen your post and knowing u are very knowledgeable and remember getting some great help yrs back on a weeping cherry yrs back, what was wondering with the different type of these maples are they all considered lace maple as well? thought i was pretty sure there was a difference but tonite now i'm not so sure, thanks

windflower
08-14-2013, 10:19 AM
If you wait till winter you can move it bare root. Probably take 2 or 3 hours to move to new location. Should come out in Spring with no issues. There is a guy locally who only grows jap maples. He keeps his root pruned so they can be dug any time of year a buyer shows up. He has plants well over $2K and I've never known him to lose one. On Friday I'll post a pic of one I moved 3 years ago. Plants used to be field grown all the time.

Kiril
08-14-2013, 10:54 AM
Personally I would just get rid of it. Planted in the wrong place with the back side all jacked up due to the shrubs. I would have to see the branching structure to determine if it could be successfully pruned or not without completely damaging the natural habit of the tree. The goal here would be to allow natural (but directed) growth to allow it to still retain it's natural habit without impeding on the sidewalk. Regardless, it is still in the wrong place and chances are better than not it will turn into a maintenance nightmare to even keep it looking half-way acceptable and off of the sidewalk.

bare spot
08-14-2013, 10:58 AM
looking at my other post, it was late and half asleep, wasn't to clear, sorry bout that. i was curious, not quite sure how to ask this but is japanese maple and japanese lace one and same. i'm sure these are different varieties and not to get to complicated but if not is there a distinct way to tell the difference?

QLM
08-14-2013, 02:37 PM
If you wait till winter you can move it bare root. Probably take 2 or 3 hours to move to new location. Should come out in Spring with no issues. There is a guy locally who only grows jap maples. He keeps his root pruned so they can be dug any time of year a buyer shows up. He has plants well over $2K and I've never known him to lose one. On Friday I'll post a pic of one I moved 3 years ago. Plants used to be field grown all the time.
Bingo we have a winner!

That is what I would do even if it is a major prune. Let the tree make food all growing season then when dormant either move or prune. First you can see the canopy for pruning better without leaves. The tree will recover much faster from a major prune job if you do it while dormant. The tree will have all kinds of stored energy from the growing season and will back bud on older growth much better in the spring. The tree will get the best light conditions before all the other plants put out foliage. They don't take pruning during the growing season well here I live in the deep south. They live here but have a hard time witch is to be expected they are a tree that grow in the mountains of Japan. If you time the prune right you should do it before the tree starts to push out new buds so it does not waste energy forming buds that you will prune off. Late winter right before spring. Here that is crazy early like the first couple weeks in February. I have no idea what the timing should be for your area.

bare spot
08-14-2013, 11:02 PM
looking at my other post, it was late and half asleep, wasn't to clear, sorry bout that. i was curious, not quite sure how to ask this but is japanese maple and japanese lace one and same. i'm sure these are different varieties and not to get to complicated but if not is there a distinct way to tell the difference?

never mind, think i figured it out. there's up rights and weeping. would say the one in the picture, in the walkway, would be an upright.

bare spot
08-14-2013, 11:34 PM
never mind, think i figured it out. there's up rights and weeping. would say the one in the picture, in the walkway, would be an upright.

for the record, after reading more maybe that isn't an upright. not sure.