When to cut tree?

I have a new neighbor who knows nothing about gardening (I already caught him adding armfulls of peony stems to the firepit, tubers and all! they now live at my house) and I've finally convinced him to hold off doing anything else until spring.
One major thing that does needs to be done is the removal of a small maple tree that is growing up almost on top of and through a fantastic, old forsythia bush. I don't see how both can survive together for much longer and the forsythia bush is so fantastic that it would be a shame for an opportunistically rooted tree to kill it.
When would be a good time to cut down the tree? Is there any reason to wait until spring or can it go now? Am I wrong in thinking that both of these cannot survive so close together?
The forsythia hasn't been trimmed in years (maybe a decade+) and needs trimming back but the location of the tree is to the immediate south of the bush and probably shades the bush too much during the summer.
Suggestions? Thx.
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You can remove the tree when it suit's you,but if you wan't this spring's bloom on that forsythia do your pruning as soon as the petals beging to fall in the spring. That way it can make enough new growth to bloom the following year too. You might have to remove suckers from the maple stump a few times before it gives up also. Gemstone Rivers wrote:

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I think trying to completely remove the Maple might damage the Forsythia. I would cut the Maple off as low as possible. You might have to do this several times before the tree stops sending up new growth. Cutting it in the Spring might encourage it to put out more growth, since the sap is starting to flow at that time. Winter is probably a better time for that reason. I could forsee both plants growing surviving together, but neither doing as well as they should. Besides, it would be a peculiar looking combination.
Sherwin D.
Gemstone Rivers wrote:

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Thanks bamboo, thanks sherindu!
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It depends upon what type of maple it is. If it is a Norway Maple, then it is imperative to remove it as soon as possible. Nothing can grow under a Norway Maple. It is on noxious plant lists for many states.
To remove the maple tree there are several considerations. Right now, the maple tree has the maximum amount of sugar stores in its roots. It will be able to send out many flushes of suckers. If you tap the tree for sap now and wait until right after the tree leaves out in the the spring to cut it down, it will be at its weakest point and if you cut it down then, it will have the least ability to produce suckers.
So the choice is yours. Cut now for easy convenience with no leaves to contend with but some suckers to keep cut off or wait until it leaves out for a very messy time to cut it down, but the least amount of suckers.

Here are some suggestions about forsythia pruning from http://www.humeseeds.com/efforsth.htm .
"Forsythia is one plant that really benefits from pruning. A regular schedule of pruning does several things; 1) provides cut flowers for forcing; 2) keeps the plants within bounds, creating a bushier growth habit; 3) encourages better flowering.
When is the best time for pruning? Good question, and it's really up to you. If you do some pruning in December or January it provides branches for forcing. If some pruning is done when the plant is in bloom it again provides cut flowers for use in indoor arrangements. Additional pruning after flowering encourages better branching and the potential for more flowers in future years.
My recommendation for the main pruning, which is done after flowering, is this: Cut out about one-third of the old woody growth. This encourages new young growth, which will supply the next season's flowers. However, you must be on the lookout for new growth that develops quickly, in whip-like form. If it is not trimmed or trained it will ruin the shape of your plant and will result in limited flowering. So here's what you need to do: any whip-like growth that develops, pinch or prune out the tip growth when it is about 15 to 18 inches high. This tip pruning will result in several new growths developing at that point, and consequently, the plant will become bushier and more prolific in its flowering."
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Some maples will stump sprout or sucker pretty badly. I'd take about half of the maple's mass out now and then girdle the main trunk as low as possible. Let the maple continue for a few more years... it'll get weaker and weaker because it can't translocate photosynthate to the roots (you've stopped the phloem pathway by girdling), thus starving out the roots. Go ahead and take a little more out of the top of the tree each year it survives -- you don't want to initiate suckers by just whacking down the whole tree at once. When it puts out only a feeble set of leaves in the spring, it's time to finish the maple removal.
Kay
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Gemstone,
You did not mention how large the maple is. If it is less than a couple of inches in diameter, I would try pulling it with a "come-along". I use one to pull a lot of established bushes in my back yard. That way there is no need to worry about the tree coming back. Again, if the tree is small enough, and the forsythia is as established as you say, the root system should handle the stress.
Craig Cooper http://www.growersinfo.com Gardeners Information Exchange
Gemstone Rivers wrote:

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That would also uproot the forsythia.

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Thanks everyone! I'm glad I asked. I had no idea that was so much to consider.
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Gemstone Rivers wrote:

Maybe he didn't like them. I just dug out some peonies this fall and pitched them. They just didn't fit with my current garden plans.
-Felder
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

No, he didn't have a clue. He's a first time home owner and he's never had a garden before. They looked dead (it WAS October) so he thought "dead = weeds" and pulled them up. When he sees how they look in MY garden next year, he's going to die.
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