Japanese Maple – Sports
Q: I have this new growth in the top of my maple. The green leaves are on two stems, one of which is growing from the main trunk about twelve inches above ground level and another small branch is growing from a branch which has dissected purple leaves. No one can tell me what I have, or if I should just cut this growth out.
A: Japanese maple trees are often grafted onto less-decorative rootstocks so examine it closely to see if the first sprout has emerged from below a graft union. The union is usually swollen slightly, making it easy to see. These understock sprouts should be pruned out.
If the branch with green leaves truly comes from a branch having the purple leaves, you have what’s called a “sport”. This is just a reversion to the original parent tree of the purple-leaved plant. This phenomenon is not particularly unusual ….but if the sport had attractive leaves you could take cuttings and propagate it for your pleasure.
Since the green leaves of the sport don’t seem very attractive, simply prune them out at their origination point.
different maple…. but same problem