The Q&A Archives: Damaged Japanese Maple

Question: I have a 'Crimson Queen' Japanese maple about 4' tall with a 32" spread. I broke a 3 or 4 pencil size limbs from the tree and was wondering if I should replace the tree or will pruning the tree be o.k. The broken areas are facing my door and was concerned with the look of the folage when it does bud: will the tree mantain its beauty? Or should I replace it? I was also wondering what replacment cost would be for such a tree.

Answer: It's hard to say for sure since I can't see the tree. 'Crimson Queen' can reach 8-10' tall and 12' wide, so it has a lot of growth yet to make. There is a good chance your tree will regrow branches on that side. Carefully trim the broken branches back to the branch collar on the trunk. This summer, spray the leaves once per month with a seaweed/kelp foliar fertilizer. This will help it recover more quickly and put on growth. To replace your tree with a 4' tall specimen would be quite expensive, considering that container-grown plants less than a foot hight can cost around $35-40 via mail order. You can often find stock locally that is cheaper though. Hope this helps you make a decision -- and be careful to prevent further breakage on the tree! Best of luck.

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