Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pruning Basics

My latest project is pruning.  The new house has many overgrown and vigorous shrubs which need containment and redirection.   They include a large Japanese Laceleaf maple with a  9" caliper (the truck diameter about 5" up) which looks like a crouching beast on our lawn.

I have had a consultation with Mike Thepruningguy and he is going to start a gradual prune in September with me as his pupil.  The goal is to learn to manage it without expert pruning.  I plan to document the process.   From information gained from neighbors, the maple is about 45 years old.  We have another 20 year old one on the back garden which also needs work.

The Laceleaf Maple on the lawn
In addition to maples, we have huge banks of lavender, an unruly wisteria (do they come any other way?), wild bush roses gone leggy and huge rhododendrons (branching dendrons, indeed) as well as gone-wild poppies and a mid-sized weeping cherry.

Watch this space for updates on my work.

My first assignment is to "Remove the dead wood from both maples".

In reading about pruning maples, I read a story from Japan claiming that only master gardeners can prune the laceleaf maples in botanic gardens.  Apprentices must follow the masters for 10 to 15 years before they can make a cut.

Until then, they gather the wood that the masters cut.  From the pieces removed the apprentices must learn what is important and how to shape the trees.

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