Losing trees, Japanese Maple

Almost, anyway. The aggressive wiring, followed by exceptional freezing conditions in January 2020 resulted in a disastrous year for this Japanese Maple. Here it is in December, 2020, as most of the leaves have fallen:

After removing leaves

Some issues included dieback of secondary branches, followed by coarse new growth, which was wired in the summer:

First left branch, showing lots of new growth. Most on the topside which is unusable, and most too young to wire this year:

Strong budding from the trunk at the apex, leaving lots of coarse new growth to work with.

So here is the work to do

1. Replace heavy branches with finer branches where possible.

This branch:

Remove

Rewire

Another coarse branch, midway up on the right side:

Removing the 2 upward-facing buds in favor of side buds:

Then wire:

Another example on the right side:

The two branches:

One more example:

A good example of a branch pruned back evenly and wired:

2. Reduce multiple buds to pairs:

This way:

Midway through the work:

The apex is next.

Starting by removing heavy shoots:

And the one above it:

And after the work, the apex is pretty rough, but should be possible to remake in a couple years.

Dark shot for contrast:

Clean up the moss to ensure good drainage:

Repotted in March:

Bud-pinched through the early growing season:

And the tree is off to a good spring:

I’ll keep a close eye on the wires to avoid scarring, and in a few weeks, partially defoliate the tree; removing one of each pair of leaves in the strong areas to allow light to reach the interior of the tree to help facilitate back-budding.

3 thoughts on “Losing trees, Japanese Maple

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