Can I still wire at this time of the month?

gardener_guy(6)August 26, 2011

Can I still wire at this time of the month? August 26?

I want to wire my Acer rubrum (red maple). Should I waite for the fall and leaves to drop or is now a good time?

Also, any good tips on how to help wounds/trunk chops to heal faster?

Thanks,

Gardener Guy

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Generalities: Most trees can be wired any time you want, but you need to know your tree's probable reaction, and there is probably a 'best' time to wire all trees. Deciduous trees are easiest to wire when the leaves are off - immediately after intentional defoliation or in spring before the growth flush (be careful to wire around the buds & not cover them with wire). Most trees stop or slow branch extension dramatically at the summer solstice and start to put on girth, so this means that wire bites into the bark much faster after Father's Day, so I try to wire most trees in the spring and remove wire when it starts to bite in - and I watch VERY carefully as Father's Day approaches as well as through the remaining summer.

Some trees don't like to be wired in winter because the tiny breaks in the bark tend to dry out branches and cause die-back - other trees don't seem to mind.

To help chops and pruning scars heal faster: make your pruning cuts so they protrude just a little, then carve them back so they are slightly concave with a razor sharp knife. I use a grafting knife I can literally shave with and keep it that sharp with an 8,000 grit diamond hone. I can easily shave the hardest wood with this knife with very little pressure. A utility knife with a fresh blade or an X-acto knife will also work. You need to look carefully at the shape of the tree where the branch was removed. I will often double the wound size to get it to the right shape and to ensure the edges of the wound are perfectly shaved to a nice oblong (taller than wide) shape, which promotes speedy healing.

Cover the wound with cut paste, Vaseline, Preparation-H (ala Kathy Shaner) waterproof wood glue, or something not phytotoxic that will keep the cambium from drying out and dying back, increasing the wound size and impairing the formation of new tissues that close wounds.

Al

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 11:46AM
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gardener_guy(6)

AL,

Thanks. I wanted to wire my tree this year but the leaves are sparse and once I defoliated earlier this summer the tree slowed down considerably. Last year it was in the ground and grew five feet tall. This is its first year in a bonsai mica pot. There is one large thick branch that I let grow long and that took all of the vigor out of most the other branches. So I cut it back to a good size and defoliated that branch. That was about the beginning of August. Now the vigor seems a bit more balanced. Leaf growth is still slow though. The roots fill the pot very well. I will let it grow through winter without stress and then do a repot and wiring next spring. The nebari is below the soil line. Next spring I will be able to show it.
Thanks for all of your advice,

Gardener Guy

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 9:08AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It's a very good thing that you're looking toward balancing energy in your tree(s). It's very important to their health and appearance. Not all maples respond equally to defoliation, and I don't think I'd defoliate the entire tree until I was done with branch selection/placement on the bottom 2/3 of the tree. I WOULD though, use partial defoliation on maples in the top 1/3 of the tree to slow development there - especially the very vigorous maples (trident, others) that respond well to defoliating.

Wire now if you can do it w/o damaging the foliage that is still collecting energy, or wait until leaves fall on your maple. Branches will prolly be set by Father's day.

Al

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 4:42PM
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gardener_guy(6)

I didn't think of that. Wire after leaf drop. That is right. I could let it set durring winter. I just hope that the branch bending won't cause die back. I am sure this tree has healthy roots.

Now I need to think about winter storage. I always worry about my trees going through winter. I know most of my trees live but winter always scares me just a bit.

Thanks Al,

Gardener Guy

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 10:58PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I didn't know that trees also had a "time of the month."

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 3:10PM
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