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Autumn Blaze Maple Choosing a Lead

Kneejerk Bombas

Kneejerk Bombas

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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...
You could cut that tree at the base and it would likely sprout back just fine. In trimming, less is often more. Especially with a tree you see every day and want to look nice as it sits in your landscape. A tree's leaves are its income. If you reduce its income, the whole tree has to live on less.

My suggestions aren't for a nursery using production methods to get the stock out as fast as possible with a good central leader, I'm talking about optimal health of a tree, and keeping it looking good. If it were a one and out type trim job, then yes, go heavy handed.


I appreciate your point about species, it's basically a silver maple planted about 20 feet from his house, maybe he wants to slow that thing down.
 
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ATH

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You could cut that tree at the base and it would likely sprout back just fine. In trimming, less is often more. Especially with a tree you see every day and want to look nice as it sits in your landscape. A tree's leaves are its income. If you reduce its income, the whole tree has to live on less.
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Generally, I agree... but are you thinking multiple prunings in one season or correcting that over multiple seasons? My take is that you don't have 3 years to do this. Whether you do that all now or multiple times over next growing year, you are not having a big impact on the overall/total amount of photosynthate (income) the tree will produce throughout the year.
 
Kneejerk Bombas

Kneejerk Bombas

ArboristSite King
Joined
Oct 7, 2001
Messages
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Location
My mom's basement, in Madison, Wisconsin.
Generally, I agree... but are you thinking multiple prunings in one season or correcting that over multiple seasons? My take is that you don't have 3 years to do this. Whether you do that all now or multiple times over next growing year, you are not having a big impact on the overall/total amount of photosynthate (income) the tree will produce throughout the year.
In a perfect world I'm talking about doing a light trim while the tree is dormant, with maples it's best late fall or early winter to minimize sap loss. As you remove small limbs the tree is still adding new growth, hopefully where you want it to. Taking too much off can cause heavy suckering (adventitious growth). You see apple growers fighting that battle all the time.

It's also much better to take small amounts over time to help the tree set up stronger CODIT walls. Sure you could cut both sides back to the main trunk, but leaves a fairly weak protection against decay for that part of the tree. If you take small bites on the branch over time, the tree thinks it will lose the limb down the road and sets up barriers to decay at the base of that limb. This process takes time. Then in time, when its size ratio is much less than the trunk, and a nice collar has formed, its safer to remove the limb.
 
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Kneejerk Bombas

Kneejerk Bombas

ArboristSite King
Joined
Oct 7, 2001
Messages
36,804
Location
My mom's basement, in Madison, Wisconsin.
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.

View attachment 774647
As fate has it, I have a tree that was almost exactly like this one, at least it was a few years ago. I did some very small cuts and it's doing pretty good as far as apical dominance goes. It is a sugar maple, a local variety, and a fast grower too. I'll try to get some pics up this weekend and you'll see the similarities. It's not in the best place for a clear picture, but I'll see what I can do.
 
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