Pruning Japanese Maple & Rooting Rose Cuttings

Question:

 I have a Japanese Maple that I'm guessing is about ten years old. It's about fourteen feet tall and badly needs pruning. Is now the time to top and shape it? Also, will it die if I use power tools?                 

Answer:

  • The type of pruning equipment you use will not affect Japanese Maples. Personally, power tools would be awkward other than hedge shears. However, I'd never use hedge shears, as it's the fastest way to destroy the individual charm of a Japanese Maple. My preference is to use a pair of hand shears, loppers, and or pruning saw.
  • Now is an excellent time to prune as the Maple hasn't leafed out. Although, it can be pruned later. You're going to remove all the deadwood, eliminate the rubbing and crossing branches, and reduce the top growth to control the height.
  • With mature trees, the general rule of thumb is not to remove more than twenty percent per year so it may take several years to get the plant into its final form.
  • Also, you need to take your time and survey what the impact of removing a significant branch will have on the overall shape.
    • The top isn't to be sheared as this causes the tree to produce many small branches at the cuts. You'll be fighting these suckering branches for years as you redevelop the shape.
  •  With most plants, you cut off a significant branch just above the branch collar. The branch collar is a raised ring where the branch meets the trunk. But, Japanese Maples are an exception.
    • You'll need to leave a half-inch, or longer stub, also referred to as a 'Hat Rack' above the branch collar. The stub is removed after it has turned black and died back to the collar.
    • After the tree has leafed out, I'd lightly prune the canopy to lighten the dense foliage areas or to expose more of the trunk and/or major branches. I'd also 'google' Japanese Maple pruning for some "How To Videos."

Question:

A few years ago, I tried to root some rose cuttings, but after waiting a very long time, they turned black and dried up. In January, I took cuttings taken from the trimmings I had from pruning. Unlike the first cuttings, these had well-defined buds, and I used potting soil rather than garden soil. The buds have now grown to be two-inch long shoots. Hence to be successful in the future, I need to select cuttings with buds?

Answer:

  • Rose cuttings don't root in a short time.
  • It is not unusual for them to take eight to ten weeks. I don't believe the new cuttings are rooted. The new growth is the result of cool, moist conditions and mild temperatures. This growth may collapse and wither, as the days get longer and drier. There isn't a sufficient number of roots to support the top growth, but then again, there may be. You'll have to wait and see.