Laceleaf Japanese Maple with issues

JonCraig(6b)December 16, 2013

Hello all,

I was given this Japanese Maple ~3 years ago from my parents' neighbor. I don't know what specific cultivar it is.

Before I received it, it was either severely pruned or received damaged. (Or maybe this is done intentionally to make these shrubby maples keep their size? My ignorance shows here.)

I assumed this would heal, but it's been slow in doing so, and this year I noticed a bit of die back from branches near the wound. Advice on how to proceed?

And here's how it looked around May or June of this year:

Thanks in advance for all your sage wisdom!


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

I don't know what specific cultivar it is.


again ... it doesnt matter.. a tree is a tree ...

the trick here... is that it is grafted on a standard .. as it looks to my eye.. that that 12 inch trunk.. is different than that above ... thought i cant tell with that 90 degree bend in the trunk ...

if so.. if you remove everything above.. .you will lose the pretty cut leaf dwarf maple above ....

any time that that part sprouts.. it should be removed.. if i am right.. and it is a different plant ....

now.. again.. what is you goal.. other than to butcher up some plants.. lol ... i know bonsai type peeps who might steal that plant in the night for the cool weathered.. damaged trunk ... and looking at the last pic.. in full glory.. its not an apparent problem ...

so.. basically.. let me suggest you are thinking about trying to fix.. what is not a problem ... i call that... loving a plant to death ...

and dont get me wrong ... i also have the inclination.. to help it heal better.. but from the pix.. i just dont know how you go about that... without removing a lot of good stuff.. and simply opening more gaping wounds ...

if i were standing there.. maybe we could dream up some course of action.. but based on the pix.. i say.. forget about it ...

this thing MIGHT collapse in the next 100 years .. due to the problems you think you see .. so be it when it happens ... IMHO ..

if you have a real inkling to prune your brains out.. and feel like driving to MI .... i can find you some real trees that need some work .... lol .. a few are on the verge of me having to pay for it.... and i wont care if you destroy them.. lol ... by the time you are done.. you will be planting things.. just so you can go prune your own stuff .....

have a great day ...


    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Ha! Leaving it be was (and has been for the last few years) my thought, too. And I'm glad to hear someone agree with my thinking re: that wound⦠namely, hacking it to make a smaller, clean cut would lose a LOT of top growth.

One thing you mentioned that got me thinking, and it makes perfect sense⦠You're saying that the graft point is on top of the trunk? (That would explain the weird 90 degree angle business going onâ¦)

Here's a pic fm Dec 2010 that gives a better angle for the area in question.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:17PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

yes.. i did suggest such ... with the caveat that its hard to tell from the pic ...

either a graft.. or someone sat on the leader way back in time...

though i doubt there are many.. if any .. of such form that are not grafted...

but i am no JM connoisseur. ...


    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 7:53AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

It's almost certainly grafted. You might post this in the maple forum.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 9:01AM
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That big ugly dead exposed stub will never 'heal over'. Pruned back flush with the callus tissue at the edges of the wound extending back down that branch, it's possible that the callus might eventually roll over and encapsulate that dead heartwood, but you might just as likely always have an open wound, with rotting heartwood there.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 3:24PM
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