How to Cut Back Autumn Blaze Maple

fischJanuary 18, 2010

I have an Autumn Blaze Maple that I believe is suffering from extreme sun scald. It is approximately 3" dbh and is about 15 feet tall. The problem has been getting progressively worse for the last three or four years. I think the tree is doomed (the bark has split almost completely around the trunk, in effect girdling the tree, and you can stick your finger all the way into the middle of the trunk through its open wounds). I think it's time to remove the tree but I'm wondering if I could cut it back to the ground and let it re-grow as a multi-stem tree. So my questions are:

1. If I cut the tree back to the ground, will it likely sprout from the stump?

2. Is this a good idea, or am I just asking for more trouble down the road?

3. Are there any tips for making this successful? Should I treat the stump or just whack it off and let nature take its course?


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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Can you get a picture? If the tree is shot I would only take the cut the tree down route.

If you plan to plant fairly close to the stump, I'd get it ground down...or if you want to get grass growing there. Personally I hate stumps unless you can A) cover them with mulch or B) somehow work them into your landscape

I successfully cutdown a 10" caliper Silver Maple, got the stump ground down put the chips in my mulch bed, put some new soil down and you'd never know there was a 30' silver maple there. Planted a Autumn Gold Gingko about 8' from the old spot.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 8:11PM
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1.) Yes
2.) It boils down to what your expectations are. If you want a desireable long lived shade tree then NO. If all you want is some shrubby thing to look nice in a parking lot tree island for up to 10 years then you're in business.
3.) If you go treating the stump, you could end up killing the entire tree. If you want to make it a multi-stem, you can do what the growers do which is to cut it at the base then select the best looking stems that sprout.

One thing to think about is that turning it into a multi-stem isn't necessarily going to prevent sunscald in the future. That is a very common problem with silver maple hybrids.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 12:31PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes: If it scalds and rots out again then you have just wasted more time cutting it down and starting it over. Probably best to find out what, exactly happened to the existing tree and then replace it with something thought unlikely to suffer the same fate.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 9:46PM
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pinballer3(5a Denver (Brighton))

I had an ABM on the south side of my house and it performed the exact same way. No recovery was in sight so I removed it. I made that choice after three years because I could compare it to two healthy ABM's on the east side of my house. They get some afternoon shade in that location and they have progessively grown stronger each year. I assume that the roots have now been able to collect adequate moisture to prevent sun scald. I replaced the ABM on the south side of the house with a bur oak, and have been happy ever since.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 2:35PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

How old was the ABM on the southside?

I have 2 freemanii maples with southern exposure. They have been planted for 3 years and have only had small little splits.

I'm thinking I haven't had an issue because I planted the trees at 3" caliper...apparently they have serious issues with sun scald at a younger age.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 10:24PM
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pinballer3(5a Denver (Brighton))

All three of the ABM's were 2" caliper when they were planted. Perhaps it would have helped to wrap the trunks during the first winter after planting, especially on the south side of the house?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 12:20PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Big silver maples split also. My thought is evolution favored quick growth in their case at the expense of tolerant bark.

Unless NO alternatives exists I'd plant something else rather than spend 1/2 a decade wrapping a tree only to have a split a few years later. IF I really loved the look of the tree I'd plant them where the trunks are likely to be shaded by other more tolerant trees.

If your purchasing choices are limited to those at Lowe's then maybe. Don't be afraid of mail order though.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 9:55PM
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