The Chopping Block

Discussion in 'Maples' started by just.wing.it, Jan 13, 2018 at 7:42 AM.

  1. just.wing.it

    just.wing.it Imperial Masterpiece

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    After browsing through several old threads with the Search Tool, I see that there is some confusion about when is a proper time to do a Trunk Chop on a Trident, or any maple...

    #1) Chop at repotting time, when buds are swelling.

    #2) Chop after leaves have hardened off.

    My thoughts / questions:
    I would be concerned about excessive sap flow when chopping a maple trunk.....so maybe way #2 is better for that reason.

    I would also be concerned with the amount of time left in the growing season to really recover from a trunk chop....so maybe way #1 is better for that reason.

    I think earlier is better because it gives the tree more time to establish a new leader, and begin healing the chop.

    Since my reason for chopping is to create a new leader and build the trunk, I think way #1 is the way for me.

    Any thoughts?
    Should I have different concerns?
    Are there more reasons that chopping later may be a better way?
    Any maple trunk chop experiences you'd like to share?
     
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  3. sorce

    sorce Nonsense Rascal

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    Lol!

    Do you have to PM me!

    My big thing is a branch big enough to cut back to.. (Think safety cut.)

    For extra protection.

    Remember...

    The Japanese don't do this. Chinese neither.

    And we have only been doing this...eeee...incorrectly as others have stated.. Since WWII .

    Sorce
     
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  4. erb.75

    erb.75 Chumono

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    depends what kind of maple. I trunk chopped a kiyohime a few years ago in early summer and it killed it. I would say late winter for trunk chop, right before the energy starts to go upward?
     
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  5. just.wing.it

    just.wing.it Imperial Masterpiece

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    I am working with a trident in my case, but I also have a regular Acer P and a mystery seed grown volunteer JM.

    The only one I'm chopping this year is the trident, and I'll be doing first time exploratory surgery on the roots too.
     
  6. just.wing.it

    just.wing.it Imperial Masterpiece

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    I'm OK if they don't do it...
    I know it's a safe bet on a healthy tree.....doesn't mean I don't wanna avoid any potential problems.

    And I'll have to look again... I could certainly reduce it slower over some years, but I was probably going with a blind chop, way down low.
     
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  7. KiwiPlantGuy

    KiwiPlantGuy Mame

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    Hi JWI,
    So I have tried both winter (dormant)and late Spring after first growth has hardened. I have had no problems with either BUT I don’t get any snow so no freezes below -5C.
    I have heard from others that it is the “sap flow” thing so definitely not in early spring at re-potting or it might bleed too much.
    I don’t think tridents any different re chopping and when.
    Interesting thread and will enjoy reading others answers etc.
    Charles
    C22FA38D-90FB-4021-A25C-34C1DA3284AE.jpeg
     
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  8. erb.75

    erb.75 Chumono

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    also i trunk chopped a trident that had a 4 ft branch with leaves in june and it never put out even on leaf the rest of the year! or bud! It's probably a goner but I kept it hoping for the best this spring. it's still alive by the bark scratch test. probably not doing any more trunk chops on maples (or other plants) in the late spring/summer because of both of those
     
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  9. just.wing.it

    just.wing.it Imperial Masterpiece

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    Thanks for mentioning that....sorry to hear, hope it pops out for you.
     
  10. just.wing.it

    just.wing.it Imperial Masterpiece

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    Don't the tap maple trees for "maple syrup" in the fall?
     
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  11. Victorim

    Victorim Chumono

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    Shock? And subsequently no more flushes? Go easy if it's ok I reckon.
     
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  12. Ironbeaver

    Ironbeaver Chumono

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    They do it in spring.
     
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  13. milehigh_7

    milehigh_7 Masterpiece

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    Just read @Smoke's threads or go to his blog here: https://bonsaial.wordpress.com/category/trident-techniques/

    You don't need anything else.
     
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  14. dirk hoorelbeke

    dirk hoorelbeke Omono

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    After some research they tap in late winter. As the snow melts with higher day temp and low night temp. I wouldn't chop then.
     
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  15. Bonsai Nut

    Bonsai Nut Administrator

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    Having tapped sugar maples for sap and boiled it for syrup (on a farm in Wisconsin), let me share a little insight. You collect the sap in the late winter as the tree is coming out of dormancy and the sap is flowing upwards to the buds. So you have to wait until when daytime temps are above freezing but it is still below freezing at night. After bud break you can still collect sap but it will not be as sweet, and it will have off-flavors that many people do not like.

    FWIW you can also collect sap/syrup from black maples and red maples. Black maples are very close to sugar maples as far as sugar content, but red maples are not quite as sweet.
     
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  16. rnlabarnes

    rnlabarnes Mame

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    I just chopped a green leaf Japanese maple 2yr seedling last week. I am trying a different way of growing out on this one.
     
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  17. Stan Kengai

    Stan Kengai Chumono

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    @just.wing.it It depends on the reaction you want from the plant. If you wait until after the first flush, the tree has already spent its energy growing. Chopping then produces slower, finer growth.
    If you chop at bud break, the tree still has stored energy, and will produce strong new growth. The main thing is to make sure the tree is healthy and growing strongly before the chop.
     
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  18. just.wing.it

    just.wing.it Imperial Masterpiece

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    That's kinda what I was getting at...thanks!
     
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  19. JoeH

    JoeH Mame

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    was just looking at this myself for a red maple, also when is the best time to reduce roots, I need to do a first reduction, its in a 7 gallon pot right now. Been it in for over a year for sure. It was grown at the college for science and then thrown out. I took it home last spring, all I've done so far is chopped it back to 16 inches, it was 6 feet tall.
     
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  20. just.wing.it

    just.wing.it Imperial Masterpiece

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    Best time to reduce the roost is right before buds open....or as they are swelling up in the early spring.

    I'm still going back and forth in my head about the trunk chop...
     
  21. JoeH

    JoeH Mame

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    I had to do mine, it wouldn't fit in the car otherwise.
     

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