Japanese Maples forum→Help Identifying Japanese Maple

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Brooklyn, New York
Lyndjp193
May 23, 2020 2:46 PM CST
Hi everyone,

First post on this site and joined specifically to ask this question so hope someone can help! We're first time home buyers and have a small patio garden in Brooklyn. The previous owners did not have much planted by there, but they did leave a beautiful Oak Leaf Hydrangea and a Japanese Maple.

The maple was in a container when we first moved in, but we transplanted it to the garden in early April. I'm struggling to identify it because it seems to have two distinct types of leaves on it. Some leaves are small, densely populated, and pale green. These look like the leaves on the "Butterfly" variety. Others, are a much deeper green, and much larger. These larger leaves are found both towards the base of the tree and the top of the tree.

In early April, the early-leaves were red-tinged but have since turned green.

I've included two close ups of the leaves and a photo of the tree in the garden with the four main clusters of leaves circled.

Thanks!
J
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[Last edited by Lyndjp193 - May 23, 2020 2:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 23, 2020 3:51 PM CST
Welcome!

I don't know which JM you have, there are literally thousands of varieties. Leaf shape and size, spring, summer and fall color, mature tree size and shape... We don't have enough answers to know for sure.

Those big green leaves are either from the root stock or the tree is a sport and trying to revert. I can't tell that either. Anything starting below the graft is a root stock tree. Is your tree grafted high or low? Can you take more photos, specifically of the trunk, including photos of where on the trunk those green leaved branches emerge.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Brooklyn, New York
Lyndjp193
May 24, 2020 3:24 PM CST
Hi Daisy,

Thanks for the response. I don't know much about the history of the tree regarding whether its grafted high or low. Is there anything I can look for to determine where it was grafted?

I've attached some photos of where the low branch w/ the large green leaves are growing. And a photo of the high branch (w/ an arrow indicating which branch it is). I also tried to take one showing as much of the trunk as would fit. Is there anything else I can look for to help pinpoint this?

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 24, 2020 3:47 PM CST
I'm not sure where the graft is either; it might be where the bottom green branch is growing. But, those two green branches have to come off. Your tree is an unstable sport and it is trying to revert to whatever the original tree was before it sported.

Here is my 'butterfly' - this tree drives me crazy! I spend about an hour once a month cleaning out all the reversions. This tree grows whole green reversion branches but also grows them on the ends of its branchlets. Its time for me to get out the pruners... Grumbling
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Brooklyn, New York
Lyndjp193
May 28, 2020 7:24 AM CST
Awesome! Thanks so much for the help. I had read that the best time to prune was in the fall. Think I should leave these reversions go through the summer since they're so well established? There's a couple small ones I could probably prune now relatively harmlessly, but I was worried about the two large branches. That's about half the total amount of leaves it has and I don't want to traumatize it, especially since its only been in the ground for 2ish months. Or should I prune them now?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 28, 2020 10:00 PM CST
I would prune them for two reasons...

When you transplanted, you undoubtedly lost roots. Cutting out those green branches would balance the roots and canopy a bit.

Second, the tree will put in a lot of energy supporting branches you plan to take out. I would rather the tree put that energy into branches I want.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
May 30, 2020 12:03 PM CST
I would definitely prune off the top green branch right now.

I *might* leave the bottom one until next year or later in the summer. Daisy has good points about balancing root loss from the transplant and putting energy into the wrong growth. buuut, 1/2 its leaves is a lot for a tree to lose at once, particularly since the variegated leaves are less efficient at converting sunlight than the plain green ones. A lot of your variegated leaves are almost entirely white too, which means they aren't doing much for the tree.

Don't snip out the partially green leaves with white edges, such as those in image 3. Those are expressing the variegation, but still have chlorophyll to make food for the plant. A tree with entirely white leaves will die. Variegated cultivars are all about striking a balance between being ornamental and being viable.

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