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Author Topic: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple  (Read 6510 times)
nathanbs
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« on: September 26, 2011, 08:24 PM »

When is the best time of year to hard prune a Japanese green maple? I mean trunk chop the heck out of a 8' tall tree that has nearly a 4" diameter trunk where i want to cut it?
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Alain Bertrand
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 12:54 AM »

I do that at the beginning of summer because at the end of winter trees bleed so much though it seems not to kill them.
I have been told that cutting just after leave fall is OK too but I have not tried it myself on big chops.
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John Kirby
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 03:15 AM »

I agree with Alain's suggestion. I have cut them really hard in the fall when we have dug them and barerooted them at the same time (then protect from  below 20 f temps). If you seal the big cuts, clean the tools with alchohl between trees, it works pretty well.

Good luck,
John
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nathanbs
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 10:18 PM »

i read i dont know where that contrary to what most people think it is actually better not to prune in fall it is better to prune when the tree is active so it can start healing immediately. I specifically remember the author saying he marked branches to be removed with red paint and waited until the tree was actively growing and peeked into the tree to find the red marks and removed those branches. Any opinions on this? Keep in mind that i have no need to root prune at this time if that makes any difference one way or the other. Should i take this opportunity to root prune or wait until major scars have healed than focus on roots?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 10:20 PM by nathanbs » Logged

Alain Bertrand
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 12:35 AM »

I have cut them really hard in the fall when we have dug them and barerooted them at the same time (then protect from  below 20 f temps).
Rempoted mapples don't bleed much anyway. If someone has experience of big chops in the fall* without any work on the roots, I'd be happy to hear about it.

*It would fit more easily in my work schedule.
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Owen Reich
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 09:29 AM »

I have done major surgery on trident and Japanese maples in Fall and Spring.  I did major root work in the Fall as they were usually big landscape trees that were ripped out balled and burlaped or just plain ripped out of the landscape.  Tridents are a lot more forgiving to the ordeal.  I have successfully done major cuts on Japanese maple in spring just before the buds were really swollen but not open in Tennessee.  The trees did bleed but I covered with cut paste and by reducing water (as the tree was a great deal smaller after the cut, the paste rose a little but settled after a few days.  I have cut Japanese maples in bonsai pots before too in spring with similar results; all successful.  Sap bled but only for a short time.  I imagine a tree that big has a big root system in tow.  Leaving a big root system in spring is dangerous as it's the equivalent of hooking a fire hydrant to a garden hose.  The turgor pressure from a big root system with an unbalanced top is no good.  Big cuts in the Fall (after leaf drop) without root work should be no problem as long as root reduction is done in the early spring following.  I have never done this.  I agree with John on protection during winter from deep freezes.     
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nathanbs
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 10:49 AM »

So what does everyone think is the best option considering this tree ultimately needs a major reduction in both its branches and its roots. Time is of no real concern to me. The health of the tree is my primary concern, well besides the fact that i ultimately want to make a bonsai out of a small to medium sized tree. If the tree had its way it would be planted into the ground.
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rockm
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2011, 10:16 AM »

I'd do it in the spring. Hard pruning in the fall CAN set off a flush of new growth that is very vulnerable to winter kill. Waiting until after leaf drop can help with that, although I've found that cut branches can get die back in winter after such treatment. It can depend greatly on how the tree is stored for the winter.

In spring, the plant is set to recover more quickly from hard pruning. It doesn't sit around for months with a pruing wound that doens't heal. I've routinely root pruned and topped Japanses maples aggressively in the spring.  I've reduced root masses by 90 percent and trunk chopped the tops drastically in late April or early May. The maples have routinely throw out huge masses of new growth afterwards.

Trees can't really "bleed to death," but the sap flow can be alarming visually. To reduce it, cut the roots an hour or so prior to top pruning or trunk chopping.
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John Kirby
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2011, 03:18 PM »

When someone tells me that they need to cut down a tall japanese maple "with a trunk chop" and they don't need to do root work, I think they haven't thought through the priorities of tree development. Getting the Nebari right is critical in maple development, we can get away with bad roots on Junipers and OK roots on pines, but maple have to have a good nebari. Or instead of "chopping" why not airlayer the top and a few sections below, then work the roots after the trees are separated.
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Alain Bertrand
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2011, 05:06 PM »

Well, I can feel concerned by your reflexion Wink

I have mapple (trident, palmatum) both in pots and in the ground. I don't root work those who are in the ground because   if I 'd transplanted them every two or tree years, they would grow jjust a little faster (if any faster) than those in a pot.
I already lifted  some of these mapple out of the ground and layered them (with various success  Grin) and I plan to follow with root graft. Those trees have big trunk but their nebari is immature, and will stay so for a while  even if layering is successful.

This is just that growing good bonsai takes time and that there is no short cut no side effect.
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John Kirby
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2011, 08:14 PM »

Alain, many of us have trees that we put into big pots or into the ground to grow trunks. Typically, we (generally speaking) don't do the preliminary root work to get rid of the tap root and develop a good radial nebari that is well spaced and developed. Gary wood shows some nice development work on his blog, the Ebihara trees were spectacular and Boon discusses how to develop good nebari and lower trunk in his Maple DVD's.

My own experience i that it takes a lot longer to deal with repairing a mediocre nebari than it does to do the work up front. Not saying one is right and one is wrong (though others might).

John
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bwaynef
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2011, 09:18 PM »

Typically, we (generally speaking) don't do the preliminary root work to get rid of the tap root and develop a good radial nebari that is well spaced and developed.


Emphasis mine.  Is that a typo?
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John Kirby
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2011, 05:38 AM »

No, while we should do the root development work up front, most of us have historically not done this well. I am as guilty as anyone, it is so much easier to just do it right up front, even though it will "slow" down the initial planting and trunk growth- in the end you are much better off by doing it correctly.

John
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bwaynef
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2011, 07:34 AM »

Thanks John.  I follow you now.

I can't say from experience that doing the work ahead of time is faster than fixing it later, ...but I'll attest to doing it right the first time sure does take a while.  (I'm talking specifically about building nebari on a maple ...but I guess there's a fair amount of carry over to a lot of things in life.)
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nathanbs
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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2011, 08:52 AM »

considering i am going to have one or more huge scars, is there any possibility of not touching roots at this time? I dont disagree that roots are as important as branches, but you will not see the scar from the tap root as it heals or if it never heals perfectly. I know that you can prune a tree planted in the ground pretty severely so why not one in a 24" box?
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