'Orange Dream' Japanese Maple, thinning, symmetry?

OnlineHarvest(Ontario, 5)June 5, 2011

Hello, a couple questions.

I have 2 'Orange Dream' Japanese Maples in my front entrance (please see picture). Because of the design of my house, I am trying to achieve symmetry on either side (please excuse the obvious necessary prunning of the boxwood and lower limbs of the maple).

1. What is the best method to achieve this symmetry? FYI, the maple on the LEFT seems to be growing faster and appears healthier than the maple on the RIGHT (RIGHT maple also has thinning, see below). Trim LEFT until RIGHT catches up?

The Orange Dream, from what I've seen in mine and other pictures, is more shrub like and dense in foliage, and I'd like to maintain that (as opposed to the airy look of say, a bloodgood).

2. How should I address the thinning with the maple on the RIGHT (see photo). It's a good size section and if I were to cut it all back, it would look kind of odd (thinning is visible from either side of tree, as well as behind). Is there a potential disease at the root affecting this whole section? Can I add fertilizer? etc

Also, since it's June, is it a bad time to prune this tree? Im sure the small dead wood is fine, but I'd like to remove the low lying branches that are too low and interferring with the boxwood.

Thanks for your help

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gardengal48

If you want perfect symmetry, then Japanese maples may not be the best choice. Personally, I would not prune back the left to match the right -- pruning to control height is not an ideal or even recommended reason for pruning and pruning generally encourages additional growth, so whatever equality in appearance you may achieve could be very short-lived.

The dieback on the right hand tree is of concern. Yes, you do want to remove the dead branching (sterlize pruners betwen cuts) and I'd take them to a qualified nursery or extension office for diagnosis. It is quite possible there is a pathogenic origin. If just winter damage, the tree should fill in the empty area eventually.

June/summer IS a good time to prune JM's, so reducing/removing lower branches should be fine. Again, I'd want to make sure I sterilized my pruners in between cuts so that if pathogens are present, you won't spread the infection.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 10:32AM
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OnlineHarvest(Ontario, 5)

No, perfect symmetry is not expected, but I would like them to be the same height. Does that mean I should prune the tops of the RIGHT maple to encourage upward growth?

I will cut as you suggested and bring to a local nursery.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 7:42PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Just my opinion but I think they look good and I'm jealous of your two JMs. I'd only prune the deadwood.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:45PM
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