Mid-spring ok to cut back nursery stock ?

nairb

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Its mid spring here in Ireland, I just bought a 8ft silver birch, smaller hazel but with good taper and an acer cappodocicum from a nursery that had a half price sale.
I want to cut back the birch to a point where it has no leaves should I do it/ or perhaps leave it a little longer than I the really want in order to keep a few branches with leaves? or is it too early/late now? perhaps I should wait until summer?

The acers buds have just started to unfurl is it ok to heavy prune this back now ?
 

rockm

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It's a bit late for the maple. Once the leaves have emerged hard pruning can weaken a plant.

You do have another shot at it however. Once the current leaves "harden off" or become leathery in texture (this happens in Virginia in the U.S. in late May or early June), maples can be root pruned and heavily top pruned. If you're unfamiliar with how to care for maples at this point, you'd best wait until next spring.

As for the birch, you can probably chop it back now with little problem. However, birch are famously difficult as bonsai. They tend to drop entire branches for no apparent reason, drop branches after heavy pruning, drop branches because it rained or you looked at it wrong :D. They also push a lot of shoots from the base and be overall pains in the neck. Good luck with that one...:D
 

Bill S

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If my foggy memory serves, thats not the first time he said that about birches. I believe him.
 

nairb

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Thanks for the advice! After doing some research after buying the birch I heard of their unpredictability, so fingers crossed!
If it works out though I think it would make a really nice bonsai...
 

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