Acer Campestre Design Ideas

I wanted to see if the group had any good ideas about how to style this Acer campestre (hedge maple). I developed it from a purchased seedling over about a decade by first growing a decent root system in a pot and then thickening it in the ground on a tile for a about 4-5 years. I dug it last year and it is looking good this spring after winter in the greenhouse. I have a couple of ideas, but wanted to see if anyone has some better ones. It is about 5 cm diameter above the flare and 60 cm tall. It is definitely rough stock at the point that is budding quite well.

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I’d air layer at the blue line and develop a clump style from that then I’d cut at the yellow line and eventually reduce back to the red, Acer campestre will heal a big wound with ease (and the right technique) and that would give you much better taper.

N.b. this is not my preferred front, just a convenient angle to show the cut lines


this front is perfect for me, i dont think you should cut it. Just rotate it a bit to the left to see if the base gets wide enough, develop the one strongest branch near the base as something almost like second trunk, i just think its amazing. On a second thought you could shorten it and try to push the whole design left, but im not sure if you would have a branch on the right to counter it a bit. Sorry i would try to use colours to show my view but i dont know exacly how :sweat_smile:

Thanks to both Silva_Naturalis and okjolook for your comments. I like a combination of your suggestions. I had not considered airlayering off the top to create a clump, but now plan to do so. okjolook as suggested the front with the widest base and I agree. it needs to be cut back since the vertical sacrifice branch got away from me, but the good news is that there is still a good collar between it and the lower trunk so it should heal well as Silva_Naturalis has suggested.

In addition to the airlayer, I plan to cut back the two big branches in okjolook’s view since the lower one has a nice branch at the bottom and the upper one will become the leader. I am betting that I get some back budding on the lower trunk to the right once I do those cuts, especially if I expose it to the sun based upon the back budding I see on one other campestre. In the worst case scenario I graft on a branch or two to the right. I will have to decide about which of the lower branches to keep as a second trunk if either.

For the record, but initial thoughts were both based upon the second picture. One chopped back at mid height to use the strong branch as a new leader to the left and the other to base to use the low branches for a clump. However a variation of the first view as okjolook suggest was always there based upon how I boxed it.

I air layered the top and separated this weekend. Not great roots, but with a little misting it is looking good. The 50/50 mix of fine akadama and pumice was not the best choice.

Here is a picture of my selected front after some cut back and a little wiring. still working on the details, but I like the lower secondary trunks that make a nearly 90 degree turn to mirror the main trunk line. Original plan was to cut the old trunk diagonally back to the collar, but I am going to keep the one branch in that area to insure some sap flow on that side of the tree for now.

Toying with the idea of replanting it with more lean to the right to tell the story of a tree that got knocked over and then regrew. That you explain both the lack of branches on the right (no light) and the low trunks (new light). For now I will let it grow, develop some secondary ramification, and look at several more times before I decide on the future details.