Japanese Maple – Long Shoots

Q: My Japanese maple hasn’t grown at all in two years since planted. Now in September, it has sent out these two long shoots.

What is happening? What can I do to promote even growth?

A: There are literally hundreds of different Japanese maple varieties, ranging in size from a few feet high to more than twenty feet tall. It looks like you have a “tree-form” maple – not one of the small dwarf types.

If this is true, it’s natural for the plant to send up competing stems as it forms its natural brushy top. It’s particularly common for this to occur in fall after a stressful summer.

You can cut them off if you don’t like them or if you want to keep the tree small. The best pruning technique is to go to the base of an unwanted tall limb and clip there. Over time new tall branches will shoot up but they can be removed by the same method.

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