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nylicens
Is this Japanese Maple toast?
nylicens

It's been a hard winter here in the northeast and our 5 year old Japanese maple has suffered tons of damage. I thought it would be protected being under our snow cover, but that was definitely wrong. My question is is this salvageable? It was split down its center when we got it for a song, and I put it together (stainless screw and sisal wrapping with tar) and it's managed 5 years. Any advice greatly appreciated as SWMBO loves this tree. But this damage is shocking and I'm not sure it can be rescued:

http://www.frontiernet.net/~deebee/jmoverall.jpg

http://www.frontiernet.net/~deebee/jm1.jpg

http://www.frontiernet.net/~deebee/jm2.jpg

http://www.frontiernet.net/~deebee/jm3.jpg

http://www.frontiernet.net/~deebee/jm4.jpg

http://www.frontiernet.net/~deebee/jm5.jpg

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Is this Japanese Maple toast?
HoustonRemodeler

It doesn't hurt to try to save it.

Follow the standard rule of thumb by waiting until you start to see active leaf or flower growth then cut off any dead, dying, diseased or damaged bits.

When it comes to the damaged bits - if its a snapped branch where the break goes all the way around, cut it off. If it is a split, it can often be saved with care.

I'd also thin (not coat racking, no pollarding, no shearing) the remaining branches to let the roots have less work to do.

A gentle feeding would be good. Keep the first number of the fertilizer ratio (the nitrogen) higher than the second and third numbers, such as a 10-8-5.

Mulching and watering as usual.

ed21
Re: Is this Japanese Maple toast?
ed21

I say cut off what's split or broken back to the closest branch or trunk.
What looks like a split in the major truck looks problematic.
While it's hard to tell, even with all the pics, it looks like the tree may be a goner.
It might best to just replace it with a new one.

nylicens
Re: Is this Japanese Maple toast?
nylicens
ed21 wrote:

...
What looks like a split in the major truck looks problematic.
...

That's where it was broken when we got it 5 years ago and why we got it very cheap. I screwed it together with a stainless screw and then used sisal twine to wrap it up and then painted it with wound paint. Looks as though that's a weak spot for the tree. Guess I'll screw it together again and prune away and try again and see how it goes.

If it makes it through to fall, any suggestions on how to wrap it or protect it from a bad winter?

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Is this Japanese Maple toast?
HoustonRemodeler

As you now know the problem is snow load. It needs some sort of snow roof or support.

ed21
Re: Is this Japanese Maple toast?
ed21

Arborists will often cable a split like that by running a cable above the split between the the main branches. It gives a lot more support than a through bolt or lags.
You can play with it for a few more years or get a new one now and start it growing.

nylicens
Re: Is this Japanese Maple toast?
nylicens
HoustonRemodeler wrote:

As you now know the problem is snow load. It needs some sort of snow roof or support.

The problem with the breakage was the fact that the ends of the branches were too close to the ground. As the snow built up, the lower layers of the snow became ice due to pressure melting and trapped the ends of the branches. As the snow load pressed down on it the tree, the branches became trapped lower and lower. As the snow started melting the tree tried to spring back but all the branches were held down and the spring back started all the splitting. I discovered this as I tried and was unable to pull the branches out of the snow. So as I snipped them with the pruners the branches would snap back at me as I snipped them free.

I ss bolted the trunk and biggest branch together and put tree fertilizer around the drip line. Now to let nature and spring take its course. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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