Gangly maple rebuild?

Asking for a fellow enthusiast. This looks very gangly to me. I want to help encourage back budding closer to the trunk but I think a chop might be the best approach.

I would chop at the red lines. Any ideas please to support or otherwise. If so anyone had experience of big chops on trident and what time of year.

Fertilize well and get it growing really strongly before any major cut back. I found that trident (and field/hedge) will back bud fairly well if growing strongly when they get a strong partial defoliation. By a strong partial defoliation, I mean cutting back to the first pair of leaves (hopefully cutting off at least 2 pairs), cutting off one of the leaves, and cutting the other back to 1/3 to 1/2 the original size. This redirects all of the energy that was going into the new growth into the latent buds. This is a safer approach for an older tree like the one you showed. Of course, it may back bud well with the chops if it is growing strongly as well.


Thanks I’d be tempted to feed it up between now and leaf drop (Fall mainly) and then spring again and chop it after the growth hardens next early summer to prevent any bleeding which I am told could occur in maples. The owner I think will take a more cautious approach as you have suggested strong partial defoliation may yield new buds back towardss the trunk. Obviously its then a balance to chase the new growth back over potentially a number of years to achieve the better structure assuming the new buds pop closer to the tips of the defoliated areas.

Hi. I wouldn’t chop. It will take years for the taper to even out. Thread graft in late winter. and let it grow with reckless abandon Next spring prune and partially defoliate. But what do I know


You’re thinking seems correct to me.

In root over rock composition, the emphasis should be the rock and so you want to keep the foliage close to that.

The way your tree is now it hard to know where to look.

To me your design decisions seem perfect.

Mats H

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Thanks. I’ve thread grafted a japanese maple this year but hadn’t considered it for this tree. Is there any limit on the absolute size of the threaded piece or just ensure it is a sensible percentage of the diameter being bored out.

It has to be flexible so diameter cant be too big and you need to do it before buds swell That’s important Ryan made great video but that could solve your problems

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I would definitely try thread grafting first, worst case your other option is still available if the thread grafting didn’t workout!

I have a similar project I am about to embark on.