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Autumn Blaze Maple Choosing a Lead

Cigarfox

Cigarfox

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Hello everyone. I have an Autumn Blaze Maple that I planted a few years two years ago and I am pruning for the first time. The problem I have is my lead branch has two competing branches that are both thicker, longer and straighter than the lead. Should I remove the competing branches or choose the tallest and straightest branch and remove the other two?
 

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Cigarfox

Cigarfox

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Hello everyone. I have an Autumn Blaze Maple that I planted a few years two years ago and I am pruning for the first time. The problem I have is my lead branch has two competing branches that are both thicker, longer and straighter than the lead. Should I remove the competing branches or choose the tallest and straightest branch and remove the other two?
Sorry I realised I posted this in the wrong section but havnt figured out how to delete the post
 
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Jed1124

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Man that’s some crummy structure. Without other pictures I would subordinate the two outside leaders and let the central become the dominant.
That being said, genetics will determine branch structure in future growth, and my guess is you are starting off with some bad genes. Pruning will be needed in the future as well to correct poor branch structure.
 

ATH

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Man that’s some crummy structure. Without other pictures I would subordinate the two outside leaders and let the central become the dominant.
That being said, genetics will determine branch structure in future growth, and my guess is you are starting off with some bad genes. Pruning will be needed in the future as well to correct poor branch structure.
That was y first thought too....but look at the very top of the second picture - those genes are already kicking in as it forked again. I'd want to see the whole tree before "pruning" it on my computer. It may well be a lost cause, but there may also be something that can be trained into a worthwhile leader.
 
Cigarfox

Cigarfox

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Hello everyone. I have an Autumn Blaze Maple that I planted a few years two years ago and I am pruning for the first time. The problem I have is my lead branch has two competing branches that are both thicker, longer and straighter than the lead. Should I remove the competing branches or choose the tallest and straightest branch and remove the other two?
 

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Cigarfox

Cigarfox

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That was y first thought too....but look at the very top of the second picture - those genes are already kicking in as it forked again. I'd want to see the whole tree before "pruning" it on my computer. It may well be a lost cause, but there may also be something that can be trained into a worthwhile leader.
I posted a more zoomed out picture and I will take better pictures tomorrow


I cant tell you how much I appreciate all of your inputs!
 
Jed1124

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That was y first thought too....but look at the very top of the second picture - those genes are already kicking in as it forked again. I'd want to see the whole tree before "pruning" it on my computer. It may well be a lost cause, but there may also be something that can be trained into a worthwhile leader.
Your right, I didn’t see that Y in the central leader when I first looked.

Tough tree, but like you said, setting pruning specs from a computer (or phone) is pretty tough too.
 
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ATH

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With that picture, I'm back to trying to keep the central leader. I reserve the right to change my mind with additional pictures or input from others, but I think I'd prune at the red marks.

autumn blaze.jpg
 

ATH

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I worry less about tallest - but looking at straightest. Attachment angles is equally important. With that one, the attachment angle isn't great now, but that is something that will disappear over the next few years if that is trained as the leader. I also look at which is centered most over the trunk...but again, that is something that can be corrected over time.
 
Cigarfox

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Okay ATH, that is helpful info, I will have to look closely as it is kind if difficult to tell. All three branches angle outward without any one being particularly straighter than the others.
 
TNTreeHugger

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Will look OK for now, but those forks are very weak in long-term structure and that is were they break in a storm. If you see the tree as "temporary", not a bad way to go...just need to replace it before it gets big enough to cause damage WHEN it breaks.
Agreed. That, or get rid of it now and buy a nice specimen tree to replace this one.

I'm learning, from observation over the past 25 years or so, with all the trees in my yard, trees can be a real mystery about which ones will loose limbs, or come down in a storm... then there's the potential damage from ice storms. I've come to the conclusion that the safest tree is the one farthest from the house and other structures on the property. :yes:
That, and it's absolutely true "the bigger they are, the harder they fall." :surprised3:
Besides that, while they are manageable, I trim for symmetry and a nice 2/3 top to 1/3 trunk look and then let the tree do what comes naturally... :)
 
Kneejerk Bombas

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It doesn't matter as much which limb you decide to make the leader, it's more important you only do a little trimming at a time.

That said, I'd keep the one on the right, leave the center one alone, and trim a little bit on the left with a hand clipper. It's better to take more frequent small cuts than to take big ones. You can always take more, it's much harder to take less after the fact.o_O

Those trees grow so fast the little bend at the intersection will disappear quickly.
 
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ATH

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I disagree on the "only take a little"...especially on an Autumn blaze. They grow so fast that if you don't correct problems ASAP, they will get out of hand quickly. I'm not suggesting taking 2/3 of the branches off - but would not hesitate to take 1/3-1/2 a tree that young and of that species with poor form.

3 years ago, yes, a little trimming would have been appropriate. Now, it needs more help.

The new ANSI pruning standard changed the limit on how much you can take because of this...
 
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