Options for damaged 1.5" caliper Shantung Maple

bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)February 20, 2013

We had a Shantung Maple seedling that reached about 1.5" caliper before we had to finally take out the declining Fruitless Mulberry it was growing under. One of the large mulberry branches caught a low limb of the maple on a bad bounce and split its trunk a little over a foot above ground. The photos show how the tree has tried to recover over the past year. Doesn't look like there is a shoot that will both provide a reasonably strong trunk and good vertical growth.

I'd appreciate any advice on the following or other options:
1. Trim it back to the dominant lead and see if the trunk heals reasonably well over the next couple years.
2. Cut it off just above the root flare and hope a good vertical shoot emerges.
3. Grind it out and start over.

I'm leaning towards #2, but don't know the likelihood of getting a good stump shoot from this type of tree. Would rather just get on with a replacement if chances are poor for #2.

Appreciate any insights or suggestions. Thanks!

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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Haven't figured out how to add more than one photo to a post. Here's a whole-tree view of the damaged Shantung Maple.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:11PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

it already has a nice vertical leader.. its pointing to noon high ... its never going to get better than that ...

it will NOT heal over in the next few years.. its a tree ... think in tree years... it will heal over in the next few decades ... as that trunk gets towards 6 to 12 inches diameter ... and it will.. its a maple ...

really now.. there is ONLY one consideration ...

would you enjoy watching what it does.. mad scientist type personality ...???

if so.. leave it ...

or??? ... will it drive you insane ... lol.. if so.. just get rid of it ..

IMHO.. you can do a lot better than a maple .. this maple ... but it does NOT appear you are a big time gardener ... but if you had such inclinations... let me suggest.. in a decade or two.. it will be near impossible to garden under a maple ... regardless.. its your vision.. and in that equation.. i do not exist ...

enjoy the process.. or get rid of it ....

once you decide to keep it.. then we can talk about how to hack on that sucker... which probably involves removing EVERYTHING but that leader ... its time to teach this thing a lesson ...

with trees ... there is really no hurry ... as long as you make the decision WHILE you can take it down yourself.. FOR FREE ... that usually my bottom line ...

ken

ps: to the rest of you .. seed grown?????

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 7:36AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Ouch. That looked bad. Any particular reason for not replacing it in the first place?

And planted that close to that tree?

Pay no attention to Ken over maple thing. Shantung maple is an excellent tree. Obviously, Ken does not have Shantung maple. He thinks all maples are bad.

Here is what gardens look like with Shantung maples - http://metromaples.com/metro_maples_arboretum.htm

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:25AM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

You don't know which if any of those branches will stay attached. You should, IMHO, wait a few years and see what happens. That poor tree will need all the leaf area it can get in that spot.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:13AM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Thanks for the replies.

@Ken: "but it does NOT appear you are a big time gardener ... it will be near impossible to garden under a maple"

Ouch, that obvious? You're right, definitely not a big time gardener - more like a slooow one :-)

Shade under the 40+ year old mulberry was very dense; don't believe the maple could be any "worse". One reason for the moonscape look was that the shade tolerant/loving plants had to be moved or given away before being roasted by the summer Sun. The space is in transition and we're still considering options (the "slow" bit), of which tree choice is a fundamental one. Last season we left the space to the Turk's Cap, Ruellia, and Clematis that had done okay in the shade and they took over with the additional light. The attached photo is from last August. I assumed the spots on the Maple leaves were Sun scald, though it was clearly stressed by the damage which seemed to attract very large green beetles we had not seen around the yard before.

Main concern is impact on strength/longevity. We had a stump shoot on a redbud provide a large and attractive tree in a very short time, but it was gone within a decade after a relatively minor wind storm. Realize that was much weaker wood, but it still colors my thinking. The idea of cutting the maple off above the root flare was from a recommendation I saw somewhere that a shoot from the flare would result in a stronger trunk than a side bud higher up on the stump. If it does not recover, I suppose the decision to replace is made for us.

One other change over this year was that the crown of our neighbor's huge oak exploded into the airspace vacated by the mulberry.... very nice actually. If I had realized this earlier I probably would have considered Shawnee Brave/Pond Cypress, Sweetgum, or other trees that maintain a fairly narrow crown for their first few decades. Though unfortunately most of these are not ideal for our north Texas blackland prairie (clay over limestone) region.

@Lou: "Any particular reason for not replacing it in the first place? .... And planted that close to that tree?"

The photos don't show it, but the close placement is dictated by the garage and pool. Starting a seed/sapling under a tree in decline seems to work well in nature and backyards where b&b or container-grown may not survive or even fit . Reason for not replacing the maple already is that it was well established and looking good before the damage, so thought I'd give it a chance. The year-aged mulberry stump will be ground out this spring and its roots tend to rot quickly, so could probably go back with a container grown tree in the fall if it comes to that.

@WxDano: "You should, IMHO, wait a few years and see what happens. That poor tree will need all the leaf area it can get in that spot."

I tend to agree. If it stays/survives, will probably give it at least another year with the side shoot leaves before trimming back to a primary lead.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:23PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

For a full size tree I'm not sure why you'd consider growing the plant with a potentially poor union that is that low to the ground. I'd surely cut my loss in this situation.

Replace it with another Shatung maple. They are underutilized trees with nice vigor and interesting bark. Mine was 8' after two years.

The root system is nothing like a Red, Norway or Silver maple which some folks seem to associate their experience with these species and apply that to all other Acer species.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:42PM
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