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Acer pruning advice please

B3B3 Posts: 21,494
edited October 2021 in Plants
My acer needs a tidy up but i don't want to lose the natural  shape.
I want to mark the branches I  will prune with string so that I can find them in the winter. 
Which ones should I go for?
¹
In London. Keen but lazy.
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Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,325
    I'd wait a bit longer until there's less foliage. Much easier to see what you're doing.
    If there's any dead or damaged ones, it would certainly be worth looking at removing those first. It's usually worth taking out some lower branches first, within reason, to raise the canopy slightly. Just remember to stop before it looks like a parasol  ;)
    Depends on how much you want to remove too. You could take and print a couple of photos, if you can,  and play about with the shaping, using tracing paper,  or even try one of the online editing options. That can sometimes give you an idea of the eventual shape that looks best. 
    It's always so much better when they're kept in their natural habit of growth, rather than clipped into puddings. Ruins them. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,431
    I agree with @fairygirl ... wait until you can see the branches more clearly ... but take lots of photos now so that you can work out which branches are responsible for which 'block' of foliage.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • B3B3 Posts: 21,494
    Thanks @Fairygirl. It's a bit scary. I'm take some of the lower branches first, then. 'branches ' is the scary word🙁
    I remember the chap who used to post pictures of his acer puddings regularly. Not what I wish to achieve😉
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,325
    No, it's not bonny @B3.
    There's a garden near me and the bloke does that. He did it in July. He's lucky that it was one of those bog standard purple ones and it didn't mind! :D
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,431
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • B3B3 Posts: 21,494
    😧now I have to find its essence as well.
    Seriously @Dovefromabove. That's a brilliant article. I have pinned it to my favourites and will study it properly when the time comes. Thanks.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • I like prunning over a extended period of time as I find many people, myself included, tend to go a little mad with the pruning saw if they do it in one. I now prefer to take the minimum off, live with it for a few days, then see if anything else looks like it should go and do it step by step. It's very easy to chop stuff off and regret it, especially if you want to keep a natural look.  
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,494
    You can't stick them back on again for sure😉
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 191
    edited October 2021
    I have read that Acers  can suffer fungus attack if pruned when no sap flowing.  I have followed this rule with good results, but have no experience of winter pruning.  I would normally follow Robin Lane-Fox's advice:  the best time to prune is when you are in the mood.

    Books on bonzai pruning might be some guidance as to shape.  They have helped me, with my Osakazuki and a couple of self-grown seedlings.

    Decide maximum height first.  Then overall outline: triangular or rounded.  Cut back far enough to have room to regrow a bit.  Avois blunt ends to branches; prune to a branch.

    You can be quite ruthless.  The tree will fill in again quickly.  But if you are a bit timid, phase it over 2-3 seasons.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,295
    If you prune Acers when the sap is flowing, they will bleed, which can be catastrophic, if the loss is severe. 
    He calls her the chocolate girl
    Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her
    She knows she's the chocolate girl
    Cause she's broken up and swallowed
    And wrapped in bits of silver
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