When/how to start pruning a japanese maple sapling
I have a very young sapling that I transplanted from a Bloodgood japanese maple in Fall 2011. The tree is now only about 4.5 feet tall, but I'm starting to see growth that couple be problematic later on. So the question is . . . is this tree too young to be pruning for structure? If not, now may be my last chance before it starts to leaf out.
Some pics . . .
Here you can see the whole tree and get an idea of two problems: a branch growing back toward the middle, and two codominant leaders.
Here's a closer view of the branch growing back toward the middle:
And here's a better view of the two apparent leaders, splitting apart only about a foot from the ground, with the second stem branching toward the street:
Should I start working on this now or should I let the tree have a couple more growing seasons before I worry about it? I've never grown a tree from such a small size and don't want to get too antsy and hurt the little guy.
Any info or advice is welcome. Thanks.