Multi Stem Red Maple With Dead Top

jimkw(5 - Mid Ohio)May 28, 2007

I have a Multi Stem Red Maple in the front yard and the top of one of the main stems died. It really only has two main stems. I cut the dead top off and now it looks kind of lopsided with one stem about 2 feet taller than the other. I know you should not top maple trees, but when the top dies, what choice do you have? Now I'm thinking about cutting the top of the other stem off too just to make the tree look even.

The tree has been in the ground here for about four years and is about 30 feet tall. All in all none of my Maple trees are doing all that well. My soil is like concrete and all I did was dig a hole and plant them refilling with the same soil I took out. I wish I would have bought smaller trees to begin with.

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Babka NorCal 9b

We have 9 japanese maples, all but one planted in the ground for about 20-30 years. There is always some dieback. Just make sure you clean your pruners(with bleach)between cuts so you won't spread any diseases, and cut back the dead stuff several inches into the good wood. You can always prune to even things up. We wish to keep some of ours less than 10' tall, so we do some MAJOR pruning every few years. As long as you have a healthy tree, prune it for the shape you like.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 12:55AM
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jimkw(5 - Mid Ohio)

I have Red Maples not Japanese Maples.

I know I saw my Dad just cut a maple tree nearly down one time and within a couple years the tree was nicer looking than before he cut it. Everybody said he killed the tree and was shocked that it grew back.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:45AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Same rules apply no matter what the nationality(!) of the tree. ;-) You can prune it anyway you like it, but a good rule of thumb is to not take out more than 1/3 of the tree at a time. Also, since you don't know the cause of the die back, clean your pruners after you cut that dead part out.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 3:45PM
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