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.
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:
I think trying to completely remove the Maple might damage the Forsythia. I
cut the Maple off as low as possible. You might have to do this several times
the tree stops sending up new growth. Cutting it in the Spring might encourage
put out more growth, since the sap is starting to flow at that time. Winter is
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
Gemstone Rivers wrote:
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
Here are some suggestions about forsythia pruning from
"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
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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.
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.
Gardeners Information Exchange
Gemstone Rivers wrote:
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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