Thursday, June 19, 2014

Trepidatiously Trimming a Japanese Maple

When we first looked at this house, we saw a stick in the ground with a fuzzy head near the sidewalk. We had no idea what it was. Our real estate agent correctly guessed that it was a Japanese Maple, highly prized as lovely garden focal points, with their branches drooping down to the ground with a light shinging through them at night. Alas we have a Japanese Maple that the builder planted right next to our sidewalk. If left to it's natural growing pattern, the width of the tree will grow into the sidewalk area, blocking traffic to the front door. I have no choice but to trim it. However I did not want to guilletine it as the previous homeowner did, whacking off all the branches before winter.  This poor, poor tree needed a chance to grow.
I always forget to take "before" pictures so simply imagine the saga of this poor tree.
My first goal in trimming the tree was to prune from underneath, so that the top branches can gracefully sway and grow.  As a result this tree has grown double in size or more.
Next I needed to address the sidewalk issue. In April, I cut back all the branches that would be agressively attacking anyone who would be walking to the front door. This caused a lopsided appearance, but what else was there to do?
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In June, the tree's branches had completely drooped down, covering all the plants underneath. I pruned it from underneath and then I trimmed the edges of the remaining branches, sort of giving it a haircut. My goal was to create an ethereal umbrella type affect, which seems quite bonsai-ish to me.




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Do check out more gardening chit chat at The Oregon Cottage's Tuesday Garden Party!.

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