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Pruning acers

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  • I prune mine like a fruit tree, so cutting back now back to a bud, where it will bush out next year. Feel free to prune back to buds all over the tree to give it the size you want. I am not easy at pruning like so many people are, but it works on this tree and you need it to work for you It will look fine when the leaves are back in spring.

  • PassionatePassionate Posts: 225

    Hi, can anyone help, I have an Acer which has lost its label, it has been growing in shade for a few years now and looks happy. it grows very slowly and has a brilliant red almost cerise colour in autumn.

    It has a main stem and is shaped like an umbrella and it's about four foot high and five foot across with its outside leaves almost touching the lawn around it  which is no problem.

    However I have noticed each year that three or four branches underneath are bare and look dead, this doesn't detract from the overall shape but I'm wondering?

    1. Do I prune these bare branches and if so, when?

    2. Will it eventually grow up into an umbrella shaped tree?

     

  • ziggyziggy Posts: 32

    Hi it sounds like one of the acer palmatum dissectum atropurpureum family, hopefully there is a link here. But there are lots of varieties of these to choose from one called Crimson Queen which is a popular one.

    I have had one of these for years now, originally in big pot and when the frost finally got to that decided to plant it in the ground in the same shady spot which it seems to enjoy. 

    You do though every end of season get dead branches which I normally trim off in the winter before the new grow arrives. No one really know why this is and normally say its down to wind damage or just a natural progression. 

    Its worth keeping this variety in away from wind and in a sheltered spot, as the fine dissected leaves do tend to get the worst of it in the summer and shrivel up. 

    The tree will maintain its umbrella shape throughout its grown and is very slow growing and compact.

    I have six Acers in the garden now all of them different and all of them have done exceptionally well even though I am on Chalk soil. Did dig a big hole before I planted them and are looking to reduce the size of a couple this year as they are getting too big. 

    hope this helps

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 2,630

    Passionate,

    I have a lot of Acers including one like yours. I am lucky I have been getting advice from an expert who has trained in Japan. There is a lot of rubbish talked about pruning Acers. They can be pruned almost any time except early spring when the sap is rising. In your case as was mine the lower branches are dying back due  partly to the  natural habit of the tree but partly due to lack of light. (if you look in summer I suspect some of the lower leaves will be green & not red). In winter do the 3 D's  remove dead diseased or damaged.  Then look at which branches above are covering the ones below you may want to thin these, to let light into the lower canopy. Different cultivars require different treatment as you can see from comments above. The palmatum dissectum  types we have are slow growing so should only require light shaping to keep the tree in the space you have, and to enhance the natural habit of the tree.  It can take years of training & experience to know what to do correctly but most Acers are much tougher than people think. Think of the conditions they evolved in, Japan is mountainous & has very cold winters.

    Hope this is not too late to help as I note your post was some time ago.

    AB Still learning

  • I have just bought an Acer Pal. Sango Kaku which looks very healthy but has a number of branches that cross in the middle and as the wind blows rub against each other, which is a no no for all the other shrubs I have.  It also has one very long whipping branch which to my eye spoils it's shape. 

    My questions are should I remove this long odd branch to a suitable length by a couple of leaf buds and what do I do about these crossing branches? 

    Any help is appreciated

    image

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,111

    If it were mine, I think the first thing I'd do is to re-pot into a larger pot using appropriate compost and keep it in a sheltered position. They don't like being in full sun.

    As for pruning, acers do bleed if they are pruned in the growing season. This will weaken the plant and possibly allow infection.
    Again, if it were mine, I'd trim back the 1 or 2 thin long whippy bits now, but not do any more until November-Feb. Then you can prune out crossing branches etc whilst it is dormant

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Thanks Pete8, that's what I thought but it's nice to have it confirmed. It'll be repotted into the large white pot today in a mix of sharp sand, fine soil, multi-purpose compost and ericatous compost. Hopefully it'll find it good

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,111

    I'm sure it'll be very happy there.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • JP01 says:

    Thanks Pete8, that's what I thought but it's nice to have it confirmed. It'll be repotted into the large white pot today in a mix of sharp sand, fine soil, multi-purpose compost and ericatous compost. Hopefully it'll find it good

    See original post

    oops I meant ericaceous compost 

  • Joy90Joy90 Posts: 35

    Is it ok to prune my large acer now 

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