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I have a laceleaf Japanese Maple in my front yard. They are expensive and beautiful if taken care of properly. Unfortunately, the person caring for this one prior to the purchase of the house knew nothing about the tree. Typical hedge clipper type of guy.
What has happened is that the tree is grafted and above the graft is the laceleaf portion, which grows slowly and for my tree looks has leaves that resemble a whispy weed leaf or a False Aralia for those familiar with those.
Below the graft is the portion of the tree that grows more vigorously and has a thicker leaf more closely resembling Cannibas but even more grown together at the bottom.
This "sucker" branch has grown like a cancer and is as thick as the main stalk of the tree above the graft portion. It has taken over the plant, with folaige that consumes the desired laceleaf portion. Worse, it has grown so vigorously that the cancerous sucker has even fused with the laceleaf branches to the point that cutting it out has become difficult at best.
I was reading online about the beauty of the Japanese maple, how to prune it "aesthetically", and the poetry the Japanese monks have written about these trees. Sounded lovely and all touchy warm spiritual until I evaluated my "patient".
Major removal of cancerous growth is never pretty.
"No time for sentiment doctor! Grab that chainsaw. "
I asked the pruning professor and they said that only sharpened hand tools blessed by Mother Nature herself qualify to do aesthetic pruning.
Still, I went nuts and whacked like mad with my hand tools. After all the sawdust settled, I ended up with two laceleaf Japanese maple trees. One has green leaves, and one has red. They are about 1/4 the size of the original conglomeration of cancerous sucker, dead and crossing branches, etc. The sucker caused both plants to grow sideways. The foliage is now on the perimeter. I expect new growth on the sideways trunks to grow and eventually create a green/red shrub. They look like like Bonsai trees now, mostly trunk and little foliage.
Lots of fun playing with mother nature. I love the shapes of plants. It never ceases to amaze me. If you had never seen these life forms before, and took a drug and ended up here. It might seem like the trippiest of trips.
-------------------- "Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.
" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.
With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC
Picture after removal of the sucker. The white circle near the middle of the picture is where it used to be. Note size of the sucker (white circle near middle) removed is bigger than the pruned tree's trunk above it!
The red leafed tree is below and to the right of the green leafed tree.
Aesthetically, I think it came out pretty good considering how bad it was. Hopefully it will fill in at the middle and get nice and bushy. If not, it's got an unusual shape!