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Acer shaping

There was someone on this site who grew the most beautifully shaped acers in their garden - I think it was the same person who had foxes visiting.  My question is about these acers which were covered in the winter to help force them to bend to the required shape.  How was this done and has anyone used this idea and with what results?  Sorry I don't have any pictures - I couldn't find any reference to the acers on the forum. My acers ( approx 1 metre tall) are all over the place - the branches are growing upwards instead of outwards and there is no clearly defined shape to them at all.


  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489
    GD, that person is no longer on the forum but, if I remember, he tied weights (bricks?) onto the branches to make them droop down. I don't think the acers were covered in the winter.
    SW Scotland
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150
    Joyce is right, the acers weren't covered. It was weights and I think some branches were wired to make them bend in the 'right' direction. 
  • Thanks Joyce & Kitty - I did google covering acers and found nothing.  I can't weight or tie my acers - they are in huge tall pots - too high off the ground to attach wires either.  I will have a rethink.
  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 5,115
    The black garden string and bricks were the way I trained my six foot plum tree into tiers. It can be done on a large scale . It only took a couple of years until they were set and with black string was invisible,  the bricks hidden by plants. 
  • That may be worth a try for our two acers, purplerallim - they are both in huge pots - as shown above - and are on our back patio - only we see them - they are not in full view to visitors. The top two or three branches/stems in the centre of the plants are the worst offenders and need to be trained to grow down, if they will oblige and bend with the string/bricks. What do you think?
  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 5,115
    As long as they have not gone too woody they will bend. You may not even need bricks, as some of my upper branches were tied to each other yours could be tied to the trunk and when released the natural spring would lift them slightly making a nice shape. 
  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 5,115
    Just tried to take a photo of plum, sorry not good as late afternoon sun in wrong position, but you can see now most of the leaves have dropped the couple of levels of branches I have managed in the three years it's been there.

  • Yes, that is helpful Purple - I will give it some more thought and try to come up with a plan - the pots are on hard patio stones, so I can't attached any pegs or strings into the surrounds - I will have a jiggle around and see if the branches will bend - with care....... thanks.
  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 5,115
    You are very welcome 😀
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,676
    Guernsey Donkey, your acers look perfectly okay to me and very nice too!  I just occasionally prune the odd branch to even out the shape on mine.  I believe some acers are more upright than others so you may have the wrong variety if you want the drooping spreading shaped ones. 
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
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