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head back a maple "whip" or let it go?

Posted by joeschmoe 6 Central OH (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 13:03

I just bough a couple sugar maple trees from a local guy who grows them from seed in his backyard.

They look healthy, nice, big, deep green leaves, both are nearly 6' tall, however, the trunks are thin - maybe 1/2" at the base, and one has only one branch that is 2" long (and it looks one one that broke or was pruned off opposite that one), the other has maybe 3 or 4 short 2 or 3" branches, and nothing else.

Most trees you'd see in a garden center aren't much taller but more heavily branched due to being headed back a couple times. However some say that's not the best thing to do anyway.

Should I cut back these maples or just let them "do their thing"?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: head back a maple "whip" or let it go?

Just let them do their thing, I think your trees are better than those from the nursery. They will probably branch out next season, especially if you plant them in a sunny position.

RE: head back a maple "whip" or let it go?

I'd just let them grow. You'll get a better form than a headed back tree anyway. As they grow, just watch for the usual - crossing branches, included bark, etc.

By the way, if you haven't planted them yet (I assume they're in pots) I'd just keep them in bright shade and watered properly, then wait until about Oct 1. to put them in the ground.

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