Should I trim this branch from Red Maple?

peter17319(6)April 8, 2009

I planted this October Glory Red Maple last year, and I noticed one branch jutting out at a weird angle. It's a little hard to see from a picture, but it's really odd looking.

Should I trim it? I'm worried that as it gets bigger, it will start to affect the main branch it's connected to. And if I cut it off, should I do something to protect the "wound"?

And in case anyone asks -- yes, I will soon be removing the guy lines. :)

Image link: October Glory pic 1

Image link: October Glory pic 2

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

planted when last year ... spring or fall?

whats your soil type?

grab the trunk.. and rock it back and forth rather aggressively .... if you see little or no ground movement.... GET RID OF THE STAKES ....

if it were my tree.. and i were so inclined to have a maple [lot of bias there.. lol] .... and i planted it last spring ...

i would walk up to that tree ... and remove all 5 or 6 of the whorl of lowest branches ... everything below the straps ...

and probably the two above ...

personally i would do it today ... others might suggest better timing ...

if it were planted in fall ... i would do this after all the leaves fall off in fall ....

when this tree is 100 feet tall ... are you really going to have branches this close to the ground.. not ...

and the smaller the branch issue will be moot ... remove it if you think the tree needs to be taught a lesson ...

frankly.. my eyes are more important than a branch on a tree ... and anything that threatens my eyes.. has to go ... the tree wont care ...

do you know how to prune properly???

good luck


PS: is there a stubby little branch with a 40 degree angle a little higher up.. get rid of that one also ...

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 11:42AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I second that. The whorl will probably be in the way once the tree grows, and it makes the tree weaker at that point. Definitely no need to keep the errant branch even if you keep the rest of the whorl.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 1:50PM
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Ken: I planted it last spring. I was already planning to remove the stakes this weekend. It was suggested to me at the nursery that I keep them on for 1 year, so that's what I did.

So... a "whorl" is a branch system, so to speak? In that second pic, there are three "whorls" on the bottom row? I guess I can see where you guys are coming from, since those bottom branches aren't growing as nicely as the rest.

But I'd rather not trim them all off now, since the tree isn't all that big yet. Well, it seemed really big when I planted it, but I think you get what I'm saying. :) I'd rather wait a few years until it's taller and has more character.

But let's say I do it now -- do I need to apply anything to the "wound" that I leave behind?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 2:53PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

A whorl, in this case, is a group of multiple branches that originate from the trunk at the same height.

And, no, you don't need to shouldn't apply anything to the wounds but good fresh air.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 3:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in theory.. whorl is a conifer term ... but i used it here ...

first year of planting.. NEVER prune.. every leaf is a food making machine to grow new roots.. simple enough ....

this year.. their job is done ... a little canopy reduction ... removal of those branches .... to balance out with the root mass below.. which are still probably lesser than what they should be.. will NOT hurt this tree at all ...

think of it this way ... with a given amount of roots.. spreading growth over all of the tree .. versus the tree minus those branches .... if you want more top growth.. more vigor.. remove the bottom branches .... and it will rocket skyward ...

its budding out nicely ... and is going to take off like a rocket.. my prediction anyway ....

cut them now.. and leave a one inch wound.. or cut them in fall.. and leave a 2 inch wound ... your choice..

trees heal themselves.. anything you can dream up is contrary to nature.. period ....

but the bottom line.. its a maple.. you can run it over with the car.. and it will probably survive.. do NOT overthink it all ...

dont kill it with too much love [no fert] .... water and mulch it properly ... and step back ...

take off those bottom branches.. and i wouldnt be surprised if it doesnt double in size by leaf fall ... probably will anyway.. lol.. they are weeds...

good luck


ps: this is probably the only post ever where i havent suggested that you just kill a maple... consider yourself lucky ... lol ..

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 5:12PM
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Peter, all the branches below the tie-off point are properly considered temporary. And in most cases, quite a few of those originating above this point would be considered temps as well. But that doesn't mean they all should be removed at once. It is better for the tree, in a number of ways, if this gradual "raising up" takes place over a series of years. What's the hurry. But do go ahead and remove the offending branchlet, and perhaps one or two whole branches while you're at it. And as already stated, there is no need to apply anything to the cut surfaces.

If you get right at this minor pruning, now is still an acceptable time, before the tree leafs out. Obviously, it is very near that point. So get on it!


    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 8:03PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

here is the key to pruning trees ...

you can always cut it off later .. you can NOT put them back on ...

and a corollary ....

there is never really any hurry .. on a plant that can live 100 years ...

its your garden.. your saw .. your tree ... glean whatever info is helpful ... ignore whatever doesnt please you ... AND DO WHATEVER YOU WANT ...

it a zen attitude on some level ..

and dont worry about a maple.. you cant really hurt it if you wanted too ...

good luck

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 8:48AM
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