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Afraid to prune a new JM

Posted by tcharles26 usa texas (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 24, 07 at 15:01

Attached is a picture of a A. palmatum "Oshu Shidare", bought by me this winter as a two gallon plant.

It wasnt much of a two gallon plant, when I barerooted it to plant it, it was pretty obvious it grew this summer in a one gallon can and was just put into the 2 gallon can this fall or winter. As an aside that annoys me because I'd rather not pay to ship an extra gallon of dirt and I think its still a one gallon plant until it grows a season in a 2 gallon pot!, it's just a tall one gallon plant. But I digress.....

Anyway, my question is about pruning it. As you can see there is a sharp fork about 18 inches off the ground where i guess the terminal bud died a year or two ago and a new leader was not selected. So it grew two. Ultimately, Ill have to pick one I guess, but I dont know when.

I like japanese maples but this is the first one I put in the yard and Id like it to have some leaves to grow a little, but I guess the longer I leave it the worse the wound on the tree. Any thoughts or advice?

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Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Afraid to prune a new JM

It looks quite small from the picture. I would let it grow several years before I start to worry pruning.

RE: Afraid to prune a new JM

Normally I'd also say to wait to prune that little guy, and leave the dual leaders since most JMs end up having several leaders anyway.

But in the case of an 'oshu shidare', I might reconsider. Since it is a cascading type rather than an upright, it might indeed look better with a central leader up to about 4 ft or so.

So if you prefer a central leader up to a point before the limbs start to spread outward and droop (the umbrella look), it would probably be best to go ahead and prune it before this spring.

However I've seen pictures of oshu shidare that didn't appear to have a central leader, and they looked fine.

RE: Afraid to prune a new JM

This message is a little old. And you might already
be aware of this by now. I have an old bloodgood JM.
Unlike our native maples, my JM doesn't have a terminal bud. It puts out two laterals. So, the branches always fork.
I've seen a few with clear trunks for some distance. I suspect they had one lateral pruned off each year for the
first few years.

Here is a link that might be useful: See entries under ID Features

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