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How to trim this Japanese Maple Tree?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Mxrider52, May 2, 2012.

  1. Mxrider52

    Mxrider52 LawnSite Senior Member
    from TN
    Messages: 298

    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

  2. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    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.
  3. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    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.:(
  4. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,539

    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.
  5. Why not transplant??? Do these not transplant well?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. FLCthes4:11-12

    FLCthes4:11-12 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    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.
  7. 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
  8. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    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!
  9. FLCthes4:11-12

    FLCthes4:11-12 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    Yep might as well just cut it flush. What is the caliper for the tree? 12" of rootball per inch of caliper.
  10. 3rdDayBrad

    3rdDayBrad LawnSite Member
    from MI
    Messages: 133

    Cut back or remove the shrubs surrounding the maple, and move the sidewalk. There, problem solved!

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