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need help with maple pruning (transferred from blog entry)

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  • need help with maple pruning (transferred from blog entry)

    First timer to this very good site.....
    situation: I transplanted a maple last fall that had just grown wild and unattended near building on neighbor's property...No 1: it survived the transplant, bare roots and all, so I'm happy about that, just dormant enough I guess No 2: approx 4-5 yrs old, about 12 ft tall, but has grown without the standard care needed to shape has one main trunk, curved from climbing up the side of a building, with 2 other limbs, 3-4 ft long, both coming out of the main trunk about 4-5 ft from the ground...the main trunk has very few other branches until the 9-10 ft height, and they're small ones No 3: I don't know which way to go with pruning.... cut the bigger, lower branches, before they get too big, and let the higher, smaller branches enentually take over.......or let the bigger, lower branches grow for now and wait a year or two before making a major "cut".....

    the lower branches are on three sides of the trunk, and I can see them being balanced someday, but for a maple, Red or Norway I think, is the 4-5 ft height too low to have the secondary main branches permanent parts of this tree? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.....I kind of feel like I saved this beautiful tree (they were getting ready to chop it down last fall) and now I'd like to give it it's best opportunity to thrive!

  • #2
    Since you recently transplanted this tree I would hold off on major pruning for this year, and maybe even next year as well, depending on how much the tree grows.

    4-5 ft is not too low to have secondary main branches, but it depends on how you want this tree to grow, you decide on the height. I prefer lower branched trees if there is room. If you don't want to keep these low branches, clip the tips off this year so that they don't continue to be secondary mains, but keep the branches so that the leaves can continue to strengthen the tree for now. Cut them off in stages if you choose to remove them, but don't remove them all at once.

    Glad you saved the tree.

    The tree will adjust it's growth for its new location, it is still such a young tree.


    • #3

      Thanks for the reply and the advice......greatly appreciated and very good info, especially clipping the tips and cutting in stages. I'm starting to think it is a Silver Maple, and not a Norway, which may explain the number of secondaries......good time to let Mother Nature (God) take over, there is room in the back yard for this tree to spread and eventually shade the whole area. Thanks again for your help. I was beginning to wonder if anyone was out there. Have a wonderful summer!

      From MT,