Japanese Maple Trees

Japanese Maple Tree- Different New Growth

Anonymous added on October 25, 2011 | Answered

I have a Japanese Maple tree that has grown tremendously, but the new growth is different from the original tree. The leaves of the new growth are a similar but wider five leaved leaf. Not the feathery long leaf like the original tree. Is this normal?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on October 26, 2011

Where is the new growth coming from on the tree? Is it from a branch from the base? It sounds like the tree may have been grafted (which is common with Japanese maples) and the rootstock is coming through. The best thing would be to trim away the part that is not growing true as long as it is just a small part of the tree.

If it is coming from the base, then it would need to be cut away for sure. It is the rootstock sending up a sucker and the more robust sucker (more robust because the rootstock was chosen because it is robust) will eventually kill the grafted part of the tree if it is not removed. If the sucker is larger than the grafted tree, cutting it off may kill the whole plant, but your choices are either to risk killing the whole plant in hopes that the tree will survive and if it survives it will be the pretty Japanese maple. Or leaving the sucker and the pretty Japanese maple part will eventually die off. If you like the look of the rootstock sucker, you can leave it on if you do not mind losing the grafted part.

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