Ginnala Hard Prune and Repot Timing

Afly

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Howdy,

New to the addiction, long time listener, first time caller. I have a nice acer ginnala that I bought this early September and lopped off the leggy upright shoots at the nursery to fit it in the car. I’m not concerned about that decision at all.

My goal for this tree is a very informal/natural maple in small scale.

There are two operations which I feel I need to address soon to set this tree up for success:
1. Hard prune of unnecessary/energy sucking leggy branches for rough shape
2. Repotting due to being root bound in terrible hard soil

1. After searching extensively there is nothing but conflicting info on when to hardprune acer ginnala. Some say late fall after leaves turn, some say winter during dormancy, some same late winter/early spring prior to budswell and some say during high summer “dormancy”. All advice seems to be backed up by good reasoning. I’m so confused! I’m keeping the trunk and the three main branches and some secondary branches but everything else must go! When is the best time to do this work, considering issue 2 below?

2. This acer needs a repot. The soil does not take water well and the tree is root bound. I’d like to put it in a training pot with proper soil just before budswell this next spring as seems to make the most sense to me and is generally agreed upon with little to no argument.

What I would like to do is hard prune now in early October in Michigan , 6a, cover major prune sites with cut paste to prevent dehydration, winter protect prior to 28F and then repot in the spring before budswell.

is this the right plan forward? Thank you in advance you nuts!
 

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sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

I'd expect it should have much more foliage than it does now. I would be already concerned sending it into winter this thin and certainly not cut any more.

How hard a prune?

I'd probably do it all at once mid summer, leave as many roots as possible and prune it leafless but with good buds, let it reset and grow what the remaining roots will sustain.

Sorce
 

Afly

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Welcome to Crazy!

I'd expect it should have much more foliage than it does now. I would be already concerned sending it into winter this thin and certainly not cut any more.

How hard a prune?

I'd probably do it all at once mid summer, leave as many roots as possible and prune it leafless but with good buds, let it reset and grow what the remaining roots will sustain.

Sorce
Thank you Sorce,

A few weeks ago it had another three feet on the tree and lots of foliage . I had to cut the long straight bits to get it in the car!

By “hard prune” I mean cut it back to the four main branches and a few secondary branches.

When you say “do it all”. I assume you mean repot and hard prune? Repot mid summer?

I’m in 6a when you say “mid-summer” is there a month you have in mind or seasonal developmental stage I should be watching for?

Xo
 

sorce

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Don't know if this is loading.....

Sorce
 

sorce

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Nope.

Sorce
 

sorce

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Now I’m even more confused! 🤔

Sorry I was in IndyCornanner! Valpo!

I'd hit it this hard, not removing the one entirely because there's 4, but because that one seems to lack a good node to cut to.
Capture+_2021-10-02-17-15-59.png

These second segments should be shorter than the first, leaning towards the "too short" where too long is always out of proportion.

Taper is the only trick we must induce with our pruning to make the small image believable. Everything else, from leaves to roots, bark and branches, grow on their own, the entire art is in the taper.

So this cut will allow you a new beginning with new 2's you can more closely cover more airspace with, beginning to position them early so their close nodes can cover more airspace.

Leaving it so cut, it will work out what it's new cut root situation can handle, and push new branches accordingly, where as doing this Repot with new twigs and leaves, leaves it more susceptible to dieback.
Any buds it can't support will just remain dormant till the roots rebuild.

I don't think we have to fear summer Repot up here. Timing depends on when spring starts. Early springs, and you could pull this off at a period (June's Full Moon) where you may be able to trick a second spurt of growth before summer dormancy.
Late springs tend to need to wait till July or August's Full Moon.

I'm completely anti spring repotting.

I think your tree has been suffering from conditions like discussed here. Scroll to the beginning.

Otherwise, that cut for the ride, (next time bend em and risk the interior!) would have left you with more growth than you have currently.

That said, you'll want to make sure it's well watered and banging in spring before going so ham. Do some digging around the top and make sure you have some decent roots to cut up to for a smaller pot. Pull it out and make sure there ain't no pillbug damage.

Sorce
 

sorce

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More confused! That one came back unsent but it was already! Sent.

Sorce
 

Afly

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Thanks Sorce,

You are aces. My take always are:
1. Keep it healthy into winter. Next time don’t cut it in half before winter! (There will be a next time!)
2. Let it grow wild through spring to build energy and make sure it is well watered.
3. Cut main branches shorter than trunk above nodes AND repot in “early” summer. This allows the new root mass to grow/support branches and foliage that it can handle.
4. Grow again thru mid summer into fall for health prior to next winter.

I got this! Thank you!
 

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