Multi-Stem Autumn Blaze Maple- Need help to choose

NatashaSeptember 20, 2010

We fell in love with a multi trunk Autumn Blaze at our local nursery and are ready to bring one home. However, we are not sure which one of the two is going to be a better choice. The trees are at least 15' tall. One has five 2-2.5" trunks, at a slight angle to each other; the other has three 3-3.5" trunks, closer and more parallel to each other. The first one looks more interesting, like a small grove; the second is also very nice, narrower but elegant. Our concern is that somebody on this forum mentioned that the trunks can "split" with time. Which combination of trunks is more structurally sound? We normally do not have large storms here, the location is relatively protected. Our neighbors have old silver maples with no damage to speak of. The soil here is good, fertile and loamy. Any advice or opinion is greatly appreciated.

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gardningrandma

My advice is avoid a multistemmed maple.

They don't stay the size you see in the nursery forever and once they get older, you run into big problems that will cause them to need to be removed.

They're a bad idea... one of many the growers have found to make money.

It started out that multi-stemmed trees were created to display ornamental bark such as with river birch. It was a bad idea for them as well but at least there was a reason for it.
I think multistemmed maples originated when one day a tree was accidently cut down and sprouted back in 3 or 4 symmetical stems. Some unsuspecting customer thought it looked pretty and asked if it was for sale.

Do yourself a favor.... Unless you're out west or have alkaline soil, go with red maple. It's a better tree. It's not just half red maple like autumn blaze, it's 100% red maple. And don't get a multistemmed tree. Get a tree with one straight leader without any damage or bruises with symmetrical brancing that is not potbound.
That's my 2 cents.

If you want a small multi-stemmed tree, buy a tree that stays small and is naturally a multistemmed tree.
Serviceberry or Ironwood for example. A 50' tree with multiple stems is just a bad bad bad idea!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:11AM
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gardningrandma

I wasn't real specific about why. When small, it's not a problem. When the trees get big (freemans maples are a 40-60 foot tree), the trunks will start to lean from the weight. They may grow together (and be weakly attached) creating a risk of splitting) and/or they may rub together as the tall trunks sway in the breeze. The foliage is only going to be on one side of the leaning, rub-damaged trunks at that point, a ticking time bomb for when it falls down or splits leaving you with an expensive removal or property damage.

So in essence it isn't going to be a legacy tree. It could be though... if only it had a single straight stem.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 2:07PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

All the reasons above are true, but I still planted one, lol.

I had a dry, crappy location though (silver maple gene is tolerant of this condition). If it "does" fail its not in a high value location and no structures in the area.

I'd suggest planting something else just because you have fertile loamy soil...people would kill for that and plant more intersting trees.

Oh, BTW the nursery I bought mine from had over 20 specimans. There is the only one that acceptable in my eyes. You can only chose from two...odds are against you for good crotch angles.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 8:47PM
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