Return to the Trees Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

Posted by greatplainsturf 6/7 OK (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 24, 11 at 12:54

I recently purchased a new home with this autumn blaze maple in the front. It appears to have two leaders and the tree has a kind of U shape 5' up. Is this normal or good for an autumn blaze maple or should I prune this somehow to one leader? Pic is not great, I can try to get another later.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 24, 11 at 13:20

It is very common. Its tough to recommend whether you should go to one leader without more pics/info. Looks like there is one branch that is growing from inside the U, get rid of that one.

A U is better than a V in almost any case.

How close is the closest structure?
Can we get an upclose pic of the U?
Can we get a pic straight on of the U (similar to the posted pic, but not showing the U at an angle)?

Last pic would give us more info on the tree balance.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

Sure thing. I'll post some more pics when I get home this evening. It is not close to anything. The house is about 40' away.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

Pics as promised

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 24, 11 at 21:04

Others may need to weigh in but you may need to do major surgery to get that tree proper, that is if that center branch is a suitable leader.

In the end I would just leave that triple leader, prune everything below that now so you can avoid larger wounds down the road.

Odds are the tree will bleed like a sive, so I would prune in June.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

Is there danger of breakage or will it just cause a more rounded shape?


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 25, 11 at 12:26

Honestly I see these Freeman maples all over the place looking like that and they are just fine.

But we don't have high winds and ice storms so I don't know if that will cause an issue in your area.

For me, I'd leave it. I wouldn't sacrifice the aesthic to guard against potential damage 15-30 years down the road.

Unless its a high impact tree and you don't have much vested in it and WANT to make the tree a long term investment, then I'd replace it.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

hmmmmmm .... nice new sub ....

if you look close.. at the 2nd and 3rd pics of the 2nd batch .... those brown necklaces are probably included bark .. and inherently weak spots in the future development of this tree ... if that is the right term ...

what to do about it.. is beyond me .. lol ... been struggling with those for years on cherry ...

sooner or later.. probably much later.. you will have problems ... hopefully dan or some of the other actual pro's will have some useful suggestions ...

all that said.. i would not remove it ... until the season before i had to pay for removal .. which means you probably have up to 5 years to start some replacement trees ... in the area ... so that when you decide to give up.. you are all set ...

this would be a good tree to 'practice' pruning.. and see if you can save it ...

BTW ... i would get rid of 2 of the stakes .... leaving only to one on the side of the prevailing winds.. trees are supposed to move in the wind .... and IF PROPERLY PLANTED ... will cope with whatever .... the only excuse is heavy clay and then you stake until the roots can get out of the hole you dug and hold the tree upright on their own ...

also ... the connectors should have slack .... again to allow a little movement ... the protection is from the extreme movement.. not all movement ...

ken


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

Well, certainly the string needs to be loosened so it can sway a bit in the wind. Second, the tree doesn't really mature with a central leader, so worrying about making one is a poor expenditure of time. And that wire and tag thing needs to come off months ago. But yes, that specimen unfortunately doesn't have the best structure. This picture concerns me a bit:

with so many scaffold limbs right next to each other.

Pruning when young at this stage and size is called "structural pruning" and in this case the term "corrective pruning" comes to mind. But such pruning sets a good stage for the growth of the plant for the rest of its life.

First impression is I'd have to think hard and walk around a few times, then come back a few times to decide which ones go, but surely two should go and likely over two + years.

Not a disaster nor a problem in the next few years but correction is needed and warranted.

HTH.

My .02

Dan


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

yeah.. yeah .. yeah dan.. i have been walking around these types of limbs for 5 years on some cherry .. lol .. still cant decide what to do ... lol ... i was hoping you would come up with something better than more walking around. ... lol ... though that is fully within my abilities ....

GPS.. any idea how long its been there??? how recent the transplant is???? my guess will be that it was installed not long after the house was built.. if its been more than a year or two.. i wonder if you need the stakes at all .... remind me of how much clay you have ....

ken


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

I believe Dan meant that he would walk around and eventually decide which of the branches would have to go.. not just merely walk around.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

I've been "walking around" that tree in my head for two days and still haven't made a firm decision. I think I would remove that smaller middle branch and hope that the remaining double leader would have enough spread for sufficient structural strength. In the initial picture, it looked like it might not be a hard decision, but when the other pictures were posted, I figured I'd wait until Dan took the first step out onto the plank. (-:


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

I can't recommend without being there, but I knows two gotta goes...

Dan


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

dans being a coward ... lol ...

have either of you heard of say.. stumping one of them out a foot or two.. for a couple years.. so as to get the other to take over dominance... and start gaining girth.. and then coming back in a few years.. and then taking out the other ????

i have to recall who told me that theory and track down his resource ....

i agree on the middle going ... and then.. with 6 pack.. and lawn chairs.. i would sit at each compass point per beer ... and then mark whichever is slightly straighter... mostly in the direction i will be looking at it.. say the front porch.. or dominant window ... [who cares if it looks crooked to the neighbor across .. lol]

and then when i sober up and recover.. i would remove the least straight .... no drunken saw work.. been there.. done that.. regretted it ....

ken


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 25, 11 at 20:27

How about a better pic of the center leader? Putting girth aside do you think its a potential central leader?

This was planted before my time at the house but check out those co-dom leaders. I think there are 6 co-dominates, lol. Sometimes you can't fight it and you just need to leave it be.

Photobucket


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

The problem with leaving the central leader is that I'm not sure there really is a central leader. That middle branch (in some pictures) is pretty scrawny and off center.

Ken, I can recall seeing a couple of discussions like you mentioned in the Conifer Forum, but in this case it seems easier to me to just replace the tree than commit to all that special attention. There doesn't appear to be an obvious/perfect solution, so I'm gonna give Dan the saw and go watch some TV.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

I think you are right. The center "leader" doesn't appear to be leader material to me. It does not go straight up at all. I'm tempted to leave the twin leaders and replace it when the ice breaks it. At least it's close to the road.

The tree has only been there a month or so. Most trees get staked here in OK because of the "wind sweeping down the plains". Soil is pretty tight.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

It's a maple tree for heaven's sake.......it doesn't have a central leader. I'm not sure how it got into everyone's head or why it is such a widespread concept that every tree MUST have a central leader. It depends entirely on the species. Many trees, including most conifers, do have a growth habit that produces a central leader or dominant growth point - an excurrent growth habit. Other species, including a great many shade trees, produce a wide, rounded crown that does not feature a central leader but rather a number of codominant growth points - a decurrent growth habit.

With decurrent species - like maples - it is counterproductive to the long term growth of the tree to encourage a central leader when none exists. Dan has the right approach - decurrent growth trees do need some early structural pruning/training to develop a good balance and placement of scaffolding branches and to avoid situations that can result in occluded joints but to encourage the development of a "central leader" in a species that does NOT develop a central or single leader is a waste of time and effort.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

GGal and I have temporarily swapped roles and she is bad cop today. Not to worry, we'll fall back into type next thread.

;o)

The tree doesn't need to be replaced, it was a waycheapie the landscaper bought, and it wasn't trained well in the nursery. A couple years of a judicious cut or two here and there will make it perfectly serviceable. Loosen the ties on the stakes a tiny bit so the tree can sway and get wind-firm, take the wire tag off, and call it good for now. Think about it for a couple days and make a decision on which one you cut.

Then, much more importantly, make a decision on which large tree will shade the house for the next 75 years, as that guy won't do it. Another tree is needed to shade the house, as likely the building code is inadequate for wall-roof insulation and a tree is needed to cool the house.

Dan


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 26, 11 at 12:26

I quote myself "Sometimes you can't fight it and you just need to leave it be."

And I quote myself again "In the end I would just leave that triple leader, prune everything below that now so you can avoid larger wounds down the road. "

Am I on right page here?


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

Not IMHO, whaas, as the triple..."leader" is poor structure. Nor is pruning off everything below, as the leaf area contributes/apportions some photosynthate to the immediate trunk area, strengthening it and allowing caliper to be added more quickly.

Dan


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 26, 11 at 13:19

Why wouldn't you trim those branches for clearance now? Those branches at most make up 20% of the canopy.

Agreed its poor structure but what is a maple owner to do?lol?


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

Clearance for what? The bunnies on the lawn? Far more important, as I said, that the leaf area contributes/apportions some photosynthate to the immediate trunk area, strengthening it and allowing caliper to be added more quickly.

Trees nowhere near traffic areas do not need clearance prioritized.

Dan


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 26, 11 at 20:51

I like a guy with a sense of humor, lol. Unless the owner is 3' tall why not take those branches out so you can walk under the tree...so you can mow under the tree. I mean you can wait a couple years when those branches are much larger meaning a much larger wound, those wounds aren't pretty (like the one under the straps)!

If your not taking out those branches below the triple leader and your going to take "two out", what two are you taking?lol?

I'm trying to learn here too but I'm just not getting it.

Adding caliper more quickly to a freeman maple...hmmm.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

The question of when to remove lower branching or 'limb up' a young tree comes up often. It is not recommended to do so soon after planting. Those lower branches assist in the establishment and help with trunk development and leaving them in place accomplishes far more for the long term development of the tree than removing them does for the sake of convenience, so resist the urge!

It is typically suggested to begin removal of lower branches gradually after the tree has been in place for 3-5 years and so that the unbranched trunk is never more than 1/3 the total height of the tree. So if you want 6' of clearance, you need to wait until the tree is 18' tall.


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

why not take those branches out so you can walk under the tree...so you can mow under the tree.

Try this again:

Because it is more important for the tree to have leaves to make food than it is for some guy to have 8.3 seconds of comfort a week. Especially since the tree is nowhere near anywhere where people walk.

Again, I reiterate my questioning of the purpose of the landscaping on this parcel, and reiterate the likely need for a better-placed shade tree for energy savings in the house. Another tree is needed on that parcel, a large, deciduous shade tree for shading the house. Even better would be at least one more companion for that ABM to shade the turf and reduce the Urban Heat Island. [/geeky]

Dan


 o
RE: Autumn blaze maple pruning/branching

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 27, 11 at 12:18

Got it...I've heard the recommendation before. But I was pushing back because in this particular case we are taking about a Freeman maple that puts on caliper extremely fast


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Trees Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here