Choose a new leader?

Redwood Ryan

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Hey everyone,


I've had this tree for about a year now. Before you go and tell me to stick it in the ground, the trunk is an inch and I am perfectly fine with that. Here are a couple decent shots of it:





But, there is a problem area. I hate this straight section, I just don't understand it. Why has no growth popped in that area? Shoot, it doesn't even feel like bark. I guess I just don't work with Japanese Maples enough to know how to work with them. I've thought about chopping that area off and making the new leader the branch on the right. Thoughts?




Here's a rough virt of what I mean:
 

jk_lewis

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Very nice base on his tree.

You should have been pinching off he leaders of every new branch that formed during the last year of growth, leaving only two new pairs of leaves each time. That would have given you more sprouting and probably some on that straight part (but you probably still wold not have wanted to keep the long, straight trunk, anyway.

I would recommend (sorry) that you leave this in the pot and cut back all that growth to one pair of leaves, then continue that procedure during the next entire growing season. You will have a lot more to choose from at that time.

However, if you feel you need to go ahead now, I'd suggest you chop at that long, straight, sprout on the right, then cut that down to the lowest pair of leaves, and let that become the start of a new header (though it may not end up as THE header). I would NOT wire at this time.

Keep on pinching as above.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Very nice base on his tree.

You should have been pinching off he leaders of every new branch that formed during the last year of growth, leaving only two new pairs of leaves each time. That would have given you more sprouting and probably some on that straight part (but you probably still wold not have wanted to keep the long, straight trunk, anyway.

I would recommend (sorry) that you leave this in the pot and cut back all that growth to one pair of leaves, then continue that procedure during the next entire growing season. You will have a lot more to choose from at that time.

However, if you feel you need to go ahead now, I'd suggest you chop at that long, straight, sprout on the right, then cut that down to the lowest pair of leaves, and let that become the start of a new header (though it may not end up as THE header). I would NOT wire at this time.

Keep on pinching as above.


Thanks Jim.

I've kept this back off in the corner and haven't been checking on it, just letting it grow really. I am perfectly fine with leaving it in this pot, as I know it has a long way to go. When you say "cut back all that growth to one pair of leaves" do you mean all the growth on the tree in general, or just at the area below that straight section?

Also, you say not to chop the straight section yet, but actually the branch to its right, down to the lowest pair of leaves. Any particular reason?

Here are some OK shots of the base. I really like it, but there is a side missing a root, which can be fixed later on. I had to hurry with the pictures, the VA humidity was fogging my lens. But hey, heat index of only 108 today!

Good sections:



Bad section, lacking a root:


I just realize the pictures are focused on the soil, sorry!
 

jk_lewis

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When you say "cut back all that growth to one pair of leaves" do you mean all the growth on the tree in general, or just at the area below that straight section?

All, if you keep the straight section. That will help the tree sprout in new places. Right now all it is doing is making all the existing branches longer (and straighter).

Also, you say not to chop the straight section yet, but actually the branch to its right, down to the lowest pair of leaves. Any particular reason?

IF you chop the straight section now, you'd also cut that long sprout to the right down to a pair of leaves.

Actually, I doubt you will be able to ever use that straight section -- it's just too straight for too long a distance, so you might as well chop now.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Actually, I doubt you will be able to ever use that straight section -- it's just too straight for too long a distance, so you might as well chop now.


That's what I thought :p Could I do this now? I'm not used to these Maples. And by now, I mean next week. We are far too hot for anything right now (except ficus!).
 

painter

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2 quick thoughts
airlayer at the straight part and make two trees. it is very easy with japanese maples i have succeeded on all three times ive tried.
and get peter adams maple book.
nice start on the nebari.
ive got a bunch like this size as well, 3 are in the ground.
good luck.
p
 

jk_lewis

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airlayer at the straight part and make two trees. it is very easy with japanese maples i have succeeded on all three times ive tried.

He could do that, but then he would have two trees with straight, no-taper trunks.

Ryan, You could chop "now" if you just can't wait. But it is gonna be HOT for quite some more time as I understand it. Late winter would be better, of course.
 

Redwood Ryan

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He could do that, but then he would have two trees with straight, no-taper trunks.

Ryan, You could chop "now" if you just can't wait. But it is gonna be HOT for quite some more time as I understand it. Late winter would be better, of course.


Nah I won't risk it. I'm in no rush at all. I'll chop before bud break. Thanks Jim.

I agree about not air layering it. Maybe, just maybe I could try rooting that section once I cut it off, but an air layer would just put this tree behind that much more. And like Jim said, it is just straight and taper-less.
 

crhabq

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Ryan and Jkl,

When does the process of pinching back leaves begin during a growing on tree? I'm assuming the the tree was in the process of growing on to obtain the trunk size wanted. Growing on, I thought, was free unrestrained growth. So when would you begin pinching back leaves?

Thanks for clarifying this.
Ray
 

jk_lewis

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Everybody's different. And, it depends on where you are with a tree.

On a tree I'm just starting, I'd let branches grow out to 4-5 pairs of leaves, then start pinching the tips. In Fall I'd cut those branches back to one or two pairs of leaves. I'd repeat that in the following year, but would remove any buds and branches that don't contribute to the design.

In subsequent years, I pinch back to one pair avery time It grows two new pair.
 

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