Ask a Question forum: What to do with these Japanese Maples?

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Seattle (Zone 8b)
AuLait
May 6, 2017 8:06 AM CST
I have two Japanese Maples at our home we bought a year ago.

I have become concerned about the long arm extending out. There are cracks and wrinkling on the trunk. I can't find any specific information on how to deal with a tree this old and large. Should I leave it? Prop up the arm? Cut off the arm to save the tree? Call a professional? I love this tree so much. I'm afraid of the arm splitting off and killing the whole thing, especially since it's pretty close to the ground and while my kids know not to climb on it, it's been tempting to visitors.
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I found this little maple after cutting back a huge salal bush that had engulfed it entirely. It clearly suffered some damage at one point but should it grow ok like it is now and look decent in time? It is planted near the base of a very large cedar tree that is diseased and will likely need to be removed so the maple will need to be moved at some point, too
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 6, 2017 8:36 AM CST
Your first tree does look pretty lopsided. I'd perhaps have an arborist give you a recommendation. You may be able to cut that arm to some logical point to better balance the tree, or even back to the trunk. I do know that J. maples are pretty OK with pruning - they bounce back well.

I'd just let your little guy grow how it will. My guess is it will flourish this season now that it's shrub-buddy is gone.

I get a lot of mis-shapen 'scratch-n-dent' J. maples from a relative of mine. Some look pretty sad when I get them. I just wait for them to leaf out, cut off all the clearly dead wood, then prune the rest to shape them up and throw a lot of water to them. Most recover quite nicely, although it might take a couple seasons for them to really get bushy again. Once they are established, I just give them a quick pruning in the early spring to open up the middle (I like to see the branching).

Good luck, both look like lovely trees.
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N. Ohio (Zone 5b)
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Tisha
May 6, 2017 12:36 PM CST
I agree with Deb. Why do you want/need to move the maple entrenched in cedar roots? Won`t that take `equipment` to move?
Seattle (Zone 8b)
AuLait
May 6, 2017 9:43 PM CST
Tisha said: I agree with Deb. Why do you want/need to move the maple entrenched in cedar roots? Won`t that take `equipment` to move?


Back when the cedar was planted like 50 years ago it was planted on a mound about 5 feet tall and then surrounded by large boulders and rockery and smaller plantings like the maple. The cedar is hollow about halfway through and an arborist recommended its removal due to proximity to the house. When we cut back the salal to get to the tree for examination we found the maple (along with like 10 other plants) planted on the side of the mound. Removing the cedar, unless we leave the stump, will definitely disturb the maple. Having a random mound in the yard with big rocks doesn't make much sense so we will probably flatten the area. I will ideally plant the maple back in the same area but on the flattened space Smiling
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 7, 2017 7:56 AM CST
I agree with Tisha, I don't think it would be easy to move the smaller maple, it looks like it was quite a bit bigger at one time and lost its top. For the one with the long arm, perhaps you can construct something to support its weight. You can make something, or buy one such as this from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009PA87F6/

Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
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Bonehead
May 7, 2017 8:28 AM CST
Sounds like a re-do for that whole area, always fun. In which case, moving your smaller maple is do-able. You could dig it out, ball and burlap it or put into a large pot, do all your other landscaping, and plant it out again. They are really resilient plants. I think the main thing is to keep the water flowing to it. What is your time frame for removing the cedar? That will be a big change - you might want some time to park yourself in a chair and cogitate once it's gone. Replace with another big tree? Smaller but more trees? Shrubs? So many options. Where does your prevailing wind come from? And how will the cedar removal affect your sun? Random thought: turn your cedar into a totem pole. @Pistil could you post a pic of your oh-so-beautiful fish sculpture?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Seattle (Zone 8b)
AuLait
May 9, 2017 2:41 PM CST
Bonehead said:Sounds like a re-do for that whole area, always fun. In which case, moving your smaller maple is do-able. You could dig it out, ball and burlap it or put into a large pot, do all your other landscaping, and plant it out again. They are really resilient plants. I think the main thing is to keep the water flowing to it. What is your time frame for removing the cedar? That will be a big change - you might want some time to park yourself in a chair and cogitate once it's gone. Replace with another big tree? Smaller but more trees? Shrubs? So many options. Where does your prevailing wind come from? And how will the cedar removal affect your sun? Random thought: turn your cedar into a totem pole. @Pistil could you post a pic of your oh-so-beautiful fish sculpture?


We are hoping to have it removed this summer or early fall. We have an extremely tall completely dead tree that also needs removal along with a lot of trimming work on the many other big trees so its an expensive job and has to find its place in the budget!

Our winds are mostly southerly. The area it's in is surrounded by other big trees and very shady. Lots to think about as to how to handle the area! But that describes my whole property Blinking Originally was meticulously and professionally landscaped, more plants added by plant enthusiast former owners and then ignored for a few years (or more) until we bought it. I adore the place but still fighting back the jungle, finding what we have, and trying to make it somewhat orderly. A little overwhelming at times!

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