Pruning for side growth - Japanese Maple sapling

mistamaticApril 4, 2009

I have a 12-year old+ coral bark Japanese Maple that finally kicked off a baby last summer. I carefully potted it and by the end of the season it had grown straight up to nearly 4 feet tall.

The problem is that that's all it's doing...growing straight up. Is there some sort of pruning/pinching I need to do at a certain point to encourage it to start branching out horizontally? Or maybe it's just an age just needs a few more years before it does this all on its own without any outside interference? I haven't fertilized it at all, just put in some good potting soil and transplanted to a larger pot yesterday to give it more root development space before it really wakes up and starts growing taller. haha

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Kicked off a baby? Are you sure your plant isn't grafted and the (I'm assuming it's a) basal sprout isn't from the root stock?

Obviously, trees in nature branch just fine w/o our help, so if you wait, the tree will develop secondary branching on its own. You CAN force it to branch by removing the terminal bud on the leader (or cutting back harder), which contains the apical meristem. This removes the source of the growth regulator/hormone (auxin) that suppresses secondary growth. IF you do that, you need to take steps to train one of the branches that emerge to the vertical as the new leader, or risk changing the trunk line from straight to something with a crook/bend/curves in it.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 3:04PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Vase-like habit normal for this cultivar. Don't try to thwart its normal development. Eventually it may even be wider than you want, on its own.

Of course, if that one is a rootstock sprout, you want to snip it out completely.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 1:32PM
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LOL @ Kicked off a baby

Too funny.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 7:14PM
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