The Q&A Archives: Care and Winter Protection

Question: I live in Hamilton, Ontario and I've just planted a young Acer Griseum (paperbark maple) in my front lawn. I live in an urban setting. What care should I be doing? Also, Last year was a particularily cold winter. What winterizing should I do? Lastly, it appears that the tree has been topped .. some of the thicker branches have been cut off at about 5 ft in height. I realize that this can lead to weak growth .. there are some very spindly branches very low on the trunk. Should I prune these? Thanks for all of you help .. Sharon

Answer: Paperbark Maple is sufficiently hardy for your growing region so you'll only need to protect the trunk of your young tree from winter sun, which can cause frost cracking on the thin-barked young trunk. Use any of the trunk wraps available at garden centers. Most young trees are pruned at the nursery to train them into single trunked trees with a balanced scaffolding of branches. Don't worry too much about the pruning that was done to train your tree; it will develop an attractive canopy now that the main structure has been defined. You can remove the spindly lower branches and rub out any buds that appear along the trunk where you don't want new branches to develop. Wait until your tree is dormant to prune (late winter), but rub out any buds that develop during the spring and summer months. Rubbing them out will save you from having to prune later.

Best wishes with your maple!

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