Liquidambar without branches

Shaiamiel

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I have a very old liquidambar that stopped producing low branches. How do I get more lower branches? Can it handle topping off? I can also air layer the top if the bottom will grow new branches. FBE1D087-19B6-409D-8D50-79EA1FB1A191.jpegFBE1D087-19B6-409D-8D50-79EA1FB1A191.jpeg921D1093-A6AE-4448-9F8A-09B48555FBBC.jpeg
 

bleumeon

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Looks like there are old branch node sites with potential to produce backbuds. I've found when airlayering I don't always get strong lower backbudding. I airlayered a old amur maple 2 years ago and while I was waiting for the upper sections to be removed, the lower half of the tree just kind of sulked. When girdling the tree you stop the flow of sugars back down to lower parts of the tree. In addition water and nutrients are still flowing through the xylem feeding your layers. So unless there is sufficient stored energy in the trunk and roots for a generation of new growth the lower segments may remain weak. After removing the layers though and allowing the lower sections to grow they did regain vigor.

For the best back bud results you'd just want to chop back hard but obvious at the cost of the upper pieces. If your tree is healthy and strong, you will have good results. Whenever I want good backbudding I let my trees grow aggressively and gain lots of energy before cutting back. Looks like there has been some die back on your tree and it does not have too much growth. You could layer the upper piece for sure but no guarantee how the lower segment will fare.
 

Forest Bean

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I have been wanting to add Liquidambar to my collection. Looks like they are good contestants for people wanting American native trees.
 

Shaiamiel

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Looks like there are old branch node sites with potential to produce backbuds. I've found when airlayering I don't always get strong lower backbudding. I airlayered a old amur maple 2 years ago and while I was waiting for the upper sections to be removed, the lower half of the tree just kind of sulked. When girdling the tree you stop the flow of sugars back down to lower parts of the tree. In addition water and nutrients are still flowing through the xylem feeding your layers. So unless there is sufficient stored energy in the trunk and roots for a generation of new growth the lower segments may remain weak. After removing the layers though and allowing the lower sections to grow they did regain vigor.

For the best back bud results you'd just want to chop back hard but obvious at the cost of the upper pieces. If your tree is healthy and strong, you will have good results. Whenever I want good backbudding I let my trees grow aggressively and gain lots of energy before cutting back. Looks like there has been some die back on your tree and it does not have too much growth. You could layer the upper piece for sure but no guarantee how the lower segment will fare.


I don’t mind sacrificing the top if I cut it off knowing I’ll get lower buds. Do you think cutting the top off is safe?
 

bleumeon

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I don’t mind sacrificing the top if I cut it off knowing I’ll get lower buds. Do you think cutting the top off is safe?
I don't really know the backbudding behavior of these trees and if they do so easily. The best times for a major chop would have been mid-late winter right before the tree started to send sugars up and push buds. Chopping right now after the tree just expended energy for the first flush of growth is a bad idea. To play it safe I would let the tree grow freely all spring to maybe early summer and cut back giving yourself the remainder of summer and fall for the tree to send a new flush.

The tree does not look particular strong or vigorous to me either and sparse growth. I would not chop right now.
 

sorce

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I'd cut them 2 left branches off and be happy.

That's a lot of nice bark and taper.

I like the Diterate!

Sorce
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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I don't really know the backbudding behavior of these trees and if they do so easily. The best times for a major chop would have been mid-late winter right before the tree started to send sugars up and push buds. Chopping right now after the tree just expended energy for the first flush of growth is a bad idea. To play it safe I would let the tree grow freely all spring to maybe early summer and cut back giving yourself the remainder of summer and fall for the tree to send a new flush.

The tree does not look particular strong or vigorous to me either and sparse growth. I would not chop right now.
Liquidamber is a maple so back budding shouldn’t be a problem. Chop trunk to 6-10 inches and wait.
My 2 cents anyway
Charles
 

Zach Smith

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Liquidambar is not a maple.

I would chop this tree in early spring once the buds are just showing green, to about that second bulge up the trunk. Seal the chop. It should backbud.
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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Opps, sorry got that wrong. It’s leaf structure fooled me :).
Charles
 

sorce

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GGB

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I kind of like the idea of working with what you have. Terrific bark.
Don't know nothin bout no sweetgums but im assuming a thread graft isn't on the table?
 

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