Autumn Blaze and October Glory tree issues...


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Hi all!

I did a thread recently about branch structure for some Japanese Maples that I air layered. That got me thinking harder about these two trees that've been on my radar all winter, deciding their fate. One's an Autumn Blaze @ 30' tall (pis 1st-4th) and the other an Oct. Glory @ 20+ft (pics 5th-8th ) which is one of my favorites in fall.

I read the Autumn Blaze is practically maintenance free while others rant they have to be trimmed every two years with a boom and are high maintenance. Mine have gone unchecked and whatever the case, I need to do something.

In the thread we talked about U & V structured branch weaknesses and bark being trapped between parallel leads or branches holding moisture and rot too. The Autumn Blaze is FULL of them! Practically built of it.

Poor thing's a mess. I could go through and surgically remove some of it while the tree fills in and continue on through the years with this until it is corrected and trying to heal up a final and large wound for a tree with such thin bark. But I don't think that would stop it from making more problems as it grows since that seems to be it's structure by default. I don't understand how this tree could be so popular and yet so high maint? IDK, maybe I just got the weird one? Ha!

If I was to correct it all at once, 2/3 of the tree would be gone which is a no-no, so I hear. It's gotten so tall, it bows in the wind heavily and it worries me. I'm certain that eventually one or two of the leads will break under the right conditions and damage something like the shop next to it or our pump house on the other side. I've already cut some branches out that just sag level under their own weight - that happens more and more. Most of the issues are obvious, especially with the clusters of branches and leads coming out one area. I will address that soon. Can this tree be topped to make life easier on me? I'm thinking if it's going to be a basket case the rest of my life, maybe I should cut it down and put something else in its place? I thought I'd ask and see if it was worth keeping? I really like the tree, A LOT! It's a head turner in the fall too. Looks like it's on fire. But aside from it's looks, it's hard not to think about the problems coming around the corner as it gets bigger.

Tthe Oct. Glory has 3 leads and a snug parallel. Each is 1/3 of the tree growing parallel to each other - beautiful rounded shape all together. I could remove a little at a time but it would take many yrs to fix while it looked like a airplane crashed into it. Has anyone dealt with this before and had nay success? If so, what did you do? I'm thinking even if I give up on the Autumn Blaze. the October glory may be worth saving because it doesn't grow with the same bad habits?

I'm just trying to get my trees the way I want them and not have to worry about anything out of the ordinary. It bothers me seeing these problems and not doing something about it - one way or the other. Any help or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.
 

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So, the first four pics are the Autumn Blaze® Freeman's Maple (Acer x freemanii 'Jeffsred'), and the final three are the October Glory® Red Maple (Acer rubrum 'PNI 0268').

I would hate to see an attractive tree come down strictly on technical faults, though of course sometimes such faults do have very real practical consequences. Both trees seem to be on a wide-open lawn, so if a branch did come down it might not be catastrophic.
A good compromise might be to mitigate the risk by removing what you can be done safely/easily/inexpensively and leave the rest.
Would you be hiring a tree service for this job?

Visually, those horizontal branches on the Autumn Blaze are the most annoying to the Winter silhouette, but they look pretty high up. How tall is each tree?
 
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So, the first four pics are the Autumn Blaze® Freeman's Maple (Acer x freemanii 'Jeffsred'), and the final three are the October Glory® Red Maple (Acer rubrum 'PNI 0268').

I would hate to see an attractive tree come down strictly on technical faults, though of course sometimes such faults do have very real practical consequences. Both trees seem to be on a wide-open lawn, so if a branch did come down it might not be catastrophic.
A good compromise might be to mitigate the risk by removing what you can be done safely/easily/inexpensively and leave the rest.
Would you be hiring a tree service for this job?

Visually, those horizontal branches on the Autumn Blaze are the most annoying to the Winter silhouette, but they look pretty high up. How tall is each tree?
No, I'd be doing it myself - experienced and equipped. :)

The Autumn Blaze I mentioned hitting the shop, the pump hose is just on the other side. There are things not shown in the pics that aren't tree related. The shop's going to have a gravel carport closer in, in the near future as well. The Oct Glory is next to the house and cars. So neither are in an area that can afford tree parts falling.

I genuinely understand what you're saying, it's good advice. But in my case, I'm not one to do deal with some things after the fact. I'd be unhappy losing years of valuable growing time over a more reliable species (or even a replacement of the same) unless there's at least a decent chance saving the trees will work out in the end - then I'd be happy to try. Or if it's in an area where losing a tree isn't going to affect the yard's appeal, like these do / will. They're in prime real-estate high interest areas of the yard (old landscaper habits die hard). Otherwise I'd just doctor them up over time and let nature take its course.

My biggest question is the Autumn Blaze. Is this going to be an ongoing inherent issue until the end of days? Can they be topped? Don't Oct Glory's typically have multiple leads? I worked around lots of these, did lots of trimming & pruning, but they were excising trees so I never had the pleasure of making long term decisions whether to have one next to my own house or not. It was about working with what was there. In my case, Aut Blaze s either a very problematic tree,... or it's not especially so. In which case I'd keep it and see what I could do with it. But I don't want to beat a dead horse either. And if it keeps growing I'll need to rent a boom to trim it in the near future or let it rip itself apart and cause damage.

I had one already do this last year in early summer. It just self destructed breaking in multiple places. Luckily it was not in an area where it could hit anything serious. Was a shame to cut down what was left down, but it was too far gone.
 
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So, the first four pics are the Autumn Blaze® Freeman's Maple (Acer x freemanii 'Jeffsred'), and the final three are the October Glory® Red Maple (Acer rubrum 'PNI 0268').

I would hate to see an attractive tree come down strictly on technical faults, though of course sometimes such faults do have very real practical consequences. Both trees seem to be on a wide-open lawn, so if a branch did come down it might not be catastrophic.
A good compromise might be to mitigate the risk by removing what you can be done safely/easily/inexpensively and leave the rest.
Would you be hiring a tree service for this job?

Visually, those horizontal branches on the Autumn Blaze are the most annoying to the Winter silhouette, but they look pretty high up. How tall is each tree?


Woops! I forgot to answer your Q! The Autumn Blaze is at least 30+ft. and the Oct Glory is about 23-25ft. I really appreciate your help and interest Marck
 
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Of course, in the long run anything that grows up, comes down, but in the shorter term, gauging the risk of breakage is hard.

Replacing the trees, will allow you to choose the species you want, and give you the most control with properly shaping the tree.
As long as it is acceptable to lose the benefits of mature trees on those sites for x number of years.

The average angle of branching is a set trait of each tree, though some are more variable and plastic than others.

Rather than bluntly topping a tree, you could pick a new shorter leader. Depending on what else is pruned, this could lead to a shorter and wider tree, or a shorter and narrower one, if side branches are also thinned back.
 
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Of course, in the long run anything that grows up, comes down, but in the shorter term, gauging the risk of breakage is hard.

Replacing the trees, will allow you to choose the species you want, and give you the most control with properly shaping the tree.
As long as it is acceptable to lose the benefits of mature trees on those sites for x number of years.

The average angle of branching is a set trait of each tree, though some are more variable and plastic than others.

Rather than bluntly topping a tree, you could pick a new shorter leader. Depending on what else is pruned, this could lead to a shorter and wider tree, or a shorter and narrower one, if side branches are also thinned back.

I too considered leaving the strongest lead, while gradually eliminating the others. And that's what got me wondering,.. will I have to be on top of it the rest of days with a perpetual pruning project that gets even taller? Most trees need maintenance, sure. Just a matter of how much. You hit the nail on the head there about losing benefits of a tree while the other replaces it. That does make it hard when you're so used to admiring the one you have. Outside of bad structure, they're beautifully shaped and thriving. I don't take cutting down a tree lightly despite my chainsaw happy approach.

From what I can tell, it may just be the nature of the tree to grow this way? I'd hoped topping it - wouldn't be my first choice - would save it from it's own weight and make it manageable. But I don't know if these can be topped without harming it? If I make the necessary cuts needed to correct issues I can already see about 30 more areas that once they grow and fill in, will also create more of the same problem all over again. I was hoping there was a way around that.

As for the Oct Glory, there's hope. Though it would easily take 5-6 years to not look butchered.

We have a lovely 40ft wide Willow tree I've kept standing that grew from a trunk stub someone left behind. I keep it short and the skirt trimmed neatly, like a giant umbrella. People stop and take photos. :) It's entering its last years now as it's hollow, having issues and every winter we lose more of it. It has a story book look to it with giant fungus' growing on it. Neighbors call it the Harry Potter tree. :) It's our show piece out front and we love looking at it. I'll likely make a rooting and continue it's legacy when it's gone. Also has a family of some very tame hummingbirds over the last 15 yrs that will not be happy. So, I'm definitely a fan of hanging onto trees long as I can. Just that the timing of it all really bites when I think about losing another tree but I also have to be practical,.. unfortunately. :)

I really appreciate your time and hope everyone's havin' a great day!.
 
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