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Tree Trimming - maple lower branches


stanj's Avatar
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08-05-17, 02:41 PM   #1 (permalink)  
Tree Trimming - maple lower branches

I have some maple trees that have lower branches about 6 feet up on the trunk that are 5-6 ft long. They were bending over and was making it difficult to mow around the trees on a riding mower as I had to use my hand to move some away as a i passed.

Some would almost touch the ground when it rains.

I started to cut some of them back.


Attached is a photo of a lower branch / branches I cut.

Question is
Should i cut the branches all the way back to the trunk?

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08-05-17, 02:51 PM   #2 (permalink)  
Just do a quick search for pruning low hanging branches. Yes they can and should be trimmed, but there is a right way and a wrong way. Will take 3 cuts.


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08-06-17, 04:53 AM   #3 (permalink)  
If all you did was trim some small branches off a larger branch but there are still other smaller branches, with leaves, coming off that larger branch then you are fine.

 
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08-06-17, 05:35 AM   #4 (permalink)  
Yes, soft maples need to be trimmed frequently. And not just the branches that are in your way. They are usually the trees most susceptible to storm damage. So looking for branches that need trimmed is a wise precaution. Dont cut too close to the trunk however. There is usually a wrinkle in the bark below the branch that you want to just barely leave.

 
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08-08-17, 06:02 PM   #5 (permalink)  
Thanks

A few more pics
Should I take the limbs marked with arrows back to single limb?

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08-08-17, 06:45 PM   #6 (permalink)  
I would follow that branch down to the trunk and cut it off at the trunk. It and the one next to it at the trunk. And maybe even the lowest one on the left side. And the middle of the tree looks very congested. You could trim a lot out of the middle and eliminate a lot of those places where 3 or 4 branches all stem from the same spot.

 
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08-10-17, 05:25 PM   #7 (permalink)  
Thanks..

I started to cut them back to trunk. I have 4 maples to work on and already accumulated a load of branches.

I also have to work on two birch trees.

 
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08-10-17, 05:39 PM   #8 (permalink)  
Hope your burn pile is nearby!

 
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08-17-17, 05:52 PM   #9 (permalink)  
The burn pile will be in my garden once fall arrives. Will make a nice bon fire

I have another trimming question. I have moved from trimming the maples to trimming a tree near our garage. A landscaper planted it there and I have no idea what it is. It has been dropping little white flowers all over the side walk and driveway. This gets tracked into the house and garage. In the fall, black seeds drop all over the drive and also was clogging up the gutter over the garage.

When the tree was small, it was not an issue. But the branches were hanging over the sidewalk, garage roof, and driveway. It was hard to just cut the ends with the flower clusters because they are so thin and the branches are long as seen in the photos, so I took a lot off.

Question is, in the attached, should I take the branches back to the trunk?
Should I remove the tops by cutting the branches ?
These don't bother me too much because they are not overhanging the steps or sidewalk.

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08-17-17, 07:21 PM   #10 (permalink)  
I'm not familiar with that tree, I would hesitate to give advice on pruning it. My first impression is that it may have outgrown it's attractive size. If it was my tree, I think that late this fall I would try topping off the entire tree, in a fan shape, and lose the top 1/3 of the tree... roughly from the bottom of the upstairs windows crowned to midway up those windows... just above that sporadic growth. Then see how it reacts to the pruning next year.

Ornamental trees simply need to be replaced from time to time when they outgrow their attractiveness.

 
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08-17-17, 07:25 PM   #11 (permalink)  
Might be a Natchez Crape Myrtle Tree. Had to look it up once I saw the bark.

 
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08-17-17, 07:42 PM   #12 (permalink)  
Good call, guyold. We don't have many of those around here.

Here is a video that describes exactly what I was suggesting. Notice at the end of his video how he leaves the forks of the branches... the size of branch, and how it eliminates crossover and opens the interior of the tree. I mentioned late fall, he is pruning at the start of winter... main thing is the leaves have all gone.

Also, you aren't cutting it in a "perfect" fan shape as if you were trmiming a hedge... but alternating some high and low cuts... picking your spots based on the optimum location to prune, while you attempt to create an "average" fan shape.

You might also watch some crepe "murder" videos for what not to do.

 
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08-17-17, 10:37 PM   #13 (permalink)  
Crepe Myrtles back in VA were trimmed back each year to a bulge in the main branch, then it would grow new from the cut line. I've seen them cut from about 8 ft down to about three and thinned drastically and they came back health as can be. Kind of like roses.

Larry said in his area, they trimmed Crepe Myrtles with a backhoe.

Get some local advice on how much you can prune, but you should be able to make it into a nice thick lower growing shrub. Ideal would probably be somewhere around that little cluster of green at the level of the 2nd story windowsill in pic 4.


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08-19-17, 09:25 AM   #14 (permalink)  
Excellent,,guygold ..xsleeper

Great call...I dug out some folders I keep all of the landscaping info in and verified that, indeed, it is a Natchez Crape Myrtle planted in 2004.

The video is spot on what I was / am trying. Using a small hand saw and tree trimmer, removing a lot of the lower big branches.
In the new attached, you can see an old pic of when it was planted.
If you note, on the left side is a yoshino cherry, which is next on the list. I will post a pic of what it looks like today

So,in the second pic posted, if you see where I have the red line, I should start removing the area at the top?

The wife said take it down,,,but I want to keep it as it is nice, just need to maintain the growth so it does not get out of control..

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08-19-17, 12:47 PM   #15 (permalink)  
I know it may seem excessive, but I'd take it to the height it was originally (about where I said earlier). It will grow new shoots/branches/canes/whatever they're called from where you cut.If you only go to the red line you marked, you'll be back to what you have now by the end of next year.


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08-19-17, 01:23 PM   #16 (permalink)  
I agree... way lower. In your picture i would suggest you cut across a line that is even with the bottom of your upstairs windows... as viewed in the photo. Thats probably 7' below your red line.

if you stand on an 8' stepladder and cut as high as you can reach that might be about right.

 
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08-20-17, 10:49 AM   #17 (permalink)  
Ok,

Heading out today ,,,
I will try to get most of it cut today and Monday.,.

I will check back during the week with some photos..

thanks

 
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08-20-17, 11:20 AM   #18 (permalink)  
Its been mentioned several times already, but again... This is not the time of year to be doing the pruning. You need to wait until the leaves have fallen. December is a good time. Otherwise you will shock and starve the tree.

 
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08-21-17, 05:51 PM   #19 (permalink)  
I can't trim in December around here ,,to cold and days are to short since I have to do this mostly during the week and have a lot going on in Nov and Dec on weekends.

I recall when we had a service come out about 10 yrs ago to trim, it was done in the summer

It has been a strange summer. We had so much rain this year for our area.
i usually cut the lawn once every 2 weeks. This summer I have been cutting twice a week.
We are way over for August.

The pic is where I ended up. To the top of the ladder (black cap) is 10ft 8in.


The other pic is a cherry tree which is dropping all of the leaves as are other trees in the area. Quite strange.
I hope to get to trimming this one during the week

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08-21-17, 07:35 PM   #20 (permalink)  
It would have been better to wait til it was a bit cooler, even Oct would have been good, but Crape Myrtles will take a lot of abuse. One reason why they are popular as landscaping in VA and MD. Almost every shopping center and mall uses them. And why they are so hated in some other areas. You could cut it to the ground and next spring suckers will sprout from the roots. Cut a sucker off and put it in water, it will sprout roots and can be planted.

Trimming early just means it looks bare for longer. And if you get a warm fall, it could start to put out new growth. Just trim them off with hand pruners.


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08-22-17, 04:51 PM   #21 (permalink)  
Yes...stubborn to kill,..
I recall cutting some side branches coming up from near the root and it seems like they keep coming back.

Based on the picture, should I cut more lower? The top of ladder was at 10ft 8in, so the top is about 11.5 or 12 ft

 
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08-26-17, 09:20 AM   #22 (permalink)  
I assume the Crape Myrtle is ok,,,
so,
Next up is that cherry tree in the last picture ..it is way out of control..

 
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