Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pruning Maples

"Under it's branches
Filled with leaves, I feel the wind
Brush against my back"

After spending yesterday trimming back shrubs elsewhere in the yard, I decided it was time to pay some attention to the the two dwarf maples, one in the Zen garden, and the other along the "Dragon's Spine." 

After medical related events last year, I was unable to tend to these two trees (or any of the shrubs). In the meantime, the two maples had grown somewhat out of control. Being weeping style, they filled in with foliage and created a sort of shaggy look. As a result, no sunlight was getting beneath the trees. Everything I've read said this could be problematic - disease and bugs like it in there and its healthier for the tree to keep it open - all parts of the tree like sunlight. On the other hand, I had to be careful not to trim out too much foliage so the tree can heal and to prevent too much sunlight hitting the tree itself. Needless to say, I was nervous that I might screw this up - I am no professional pruner. 

I started with the reddish tree along the "Dragon's Spine." Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of it before I started. You will have to take my word for it - it was seriously overgrown.  I started underneath with dead wood, then crossovers, and then with what I thought might prove more esthetically pleasing. 


I also added some bamboo supports on the west side (right) to help train one branch to be more straight and less droopy. The final product looks good - more "Japanese like." Hopefully, I didn't remove to much of the canopy and it will thrive.

Later, I attacked the green maple in the Zen garden. I was very nervous about touching this one. It is supposed to be a focal point in the garden and I don't want to kill it. This one does have some pre-pruning photos:


You can see how overgrown it had become. It was more difficult to work underneath because of the rocks and sloping nature of the south garden wall. I was careful not to take off to much of the canopy. However, there was a lot of gnarled and tangled limbs that had to go. 


I don't think it came out as well as the red maple, but I can continue to work with it in the next couple of years as it grows. With luck it will survive my assault. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, it looks more appropriate than the moster it was becoming.

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