Maple disaster

Lewis87

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Hi guys. In need of some help here. I’ve had an absolute nightmare. Couple weeks ago here in UK I had some very strong winds and one of my fence posts gave way and took out one of my trees on the bench. complete disaster. I lost a couple major branches. After cutting a pruning and trying to save what is left, the tree looks a sorry state. Anyone here with some advice would be great.
There are some design issues with this tree which I have not yet tackled. The three lowest branches all at the same height and I’m yet to decide what to keep and what to remove and cut back hard. some branches are very leggy and now look worse as some were lost. This is quite an old tree and I know my younger maples burst with life but I’ve noticed this isn’t the strongest grower. Some areas I only have one set of leaves from spring growth.
I will repot this tree next year as the root ball is very compact and needs a prune and new soil.
I feel now this tree needs a complete restyle so any ideas and advise to put this tree back one the right path would be hugely appreciated.

My last resort is to try and see if Peter Chan or Peter Warren can sit down with me but transporting it is not ideal with my car.

Here are some pictures. I’ve tried to capture every angle to show what I’m up against.
 

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BobbyLane

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The tree doesnt have any ramification, just tufts of foliage out on the tips. i think thats one of the downsides of shishigawa if im not mistaken. its a natural growth habit? similar to koto himi. but koto himi can be cut back hard. does it back bud on old wood easily? if you look at good maples then look at yours its not hard to see that this one needs cutting back really hard?
imo you wouldnt need Chan or Warren to tell you that. i wouldnt take it to chan tho
unless youre willing to cut all these branches short, you will never really improve it.
 

Lewis87

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I should find out soon weather it back buds on old wood. There some new growth further in but not much. I’ve only lightly pruned this tree as I got it late summer last year. It was sold as a yamamomiji. It does look like it needs a drastic cut. It has lots of nodes to cut to on each branch. Would now be a good time or autum?
 

leatherback

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Maybe the wind has done you a favour.

The canopy is now very open. This means, lots of light on the inside. If you fertilize well, you should get some idea on how well it budds on the older branches: By the end of the season you should have loads of young inner branches. Then next winter or late spring you can do a drastic cut-back.

Or if you are like me, and think: It should backbudd, by all means, do a strong cut now. We are pre-summer equinox and you should get good budding. I think the tree would look better if the top is brought way down too.
 

sorce

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I'm just gonna go on until my thoughts...."Peter Out".

Who needs two Peters when you can get advice from a Real Dick!

I can't believe people grow "decent" branching on shitty bases and shitty branches on "decent" bases, Peter needs to come correct.

2 Peters, One Slalom. Hold on, you're getting whitewashed.

Better to ask Paul or Mary.

A dog named Peter won the Dickin Medal in 1945.

Sorce
 

Lewis87

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Maybe the wind has done you a favour.

The canopy is now very open. This means, lots of light on the inside. If you fertilize well, you should get some idea on how well it budds on the older branches: By the end of the season you should have loads of young inner branches. Then next winter or late spring you can do a drastic cut-back.

Or if you are like me, and think: It should backbudd, by all means, do a strong cut now. We are pre-summer equinox and you should get good budding. I think the tree would look better if the top is brought way down too.
Thanks with some hope I should see some buds pop. It’s being fed well.
How far down would you cut. I did buy this tree for its trunk and base. I knew I had to do something with the branching. Maybe your right the wind may have done me a favour.
 

Lewis87

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I only mentioned them two as they are the only people I know of. Corin Tomlinson is too far. I’m not part of any club to take the tree to. Before I go and do a drastic cut I thought I would ask for advice first.
Being quite new to this it can get intimidating making big cuts and worrying if I’ve made the right decision
 

BobbyLane

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have you been watching Corins youtube series on pruning maples and other species, Peter had a few good videos, as does Graham potter in regards to deciduous pruning.

i would give it a couple more weeks then prune back to the first forks on each branch and see how it reacts over summer.

if you watch pruning deciduous bonsai by G potter you will understand how each branch should be formed. thats what i did when i was fairly new.

bonsai4me also has a section on deciduous branch structure.

do an update after pruning.
 

Lewis87

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Thanks mate. I will. Yes I watched his video. I bought Harry’s books too. Trying to research all I can but only with experience one can really learn. I’ll do a follow up on this tree, I’ll also do a follow up on my other maple.
 

leatherback

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I think the top 25% shows no taper in the trunk to speak of. I would consider reducing it that much. Next to it, you (over time?) might need to remove a few of the large branches, reducing the number of opposite branches.

I think, next to whether it will backbud reliably, the main question is whether you are working on a 2-5 year or a 5-15 year development horizon.
 

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