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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

    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.

    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 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.
  2. Liberty Landscaping LLC

    Liberty Landscaping LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    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.
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  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Start at the bottom, work up and bonzai the sucker and come back every few years to clean it up.

  4. Northern Woodsman

    Northern Woodsman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    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.
  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    The first few responces are spot on. It is prune not trim.
  6. bare spot

    bare spot LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,457

    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
  7. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,099

    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.
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    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.
  9. bare spot

    bare spot LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,457

    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?
  10. QLM

    QLM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    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.

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