I have been told numerous times (about maple) that cutting the green "stem" in the middle of the ball will not at all kill the tree, but two branches will extend directly horizontally by the roots of the tree. Is this true?
Keeping Maple Tree at Certain Size
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
This is true. It is a method called topping. But, it only works to a certain extent as the tree will choose new branches from those horizontal growing branches to grow upward and topping also causes problems with the tree. Here is more information on topping: