Cut ball trees properly


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Ball trees like the ball maple and the ball robinia are very common in the gardens. They are often planted to the left and right of the path into the front yard, where they grow together in the age over the entrance to the entrance door to a decorative tree portal.

Ball trees are not naturally very high: Due to a genetic mutation, the terminal bud - the shoot bud at the end of each branch - hardly pushes more than the lateral buds. Therefore, unlike the game species, there is no high-oval crown, which widens only with increasing age, but a globular crown, which in its age is a broad oval crown. Due to the reduced length growth, ball trees are barely able to form a long straight trunk. However, this problem is avoided by using the trunk of the appropriate wild species and refined at the desired crown height with the type of ball, so that they can later form the actual crown.

In addition to the varieties mentioned at the beginning, the most popular globular trees include the ball-trumpet tree (Catalpa bignonioides 'Nana') and the globe-cherry (Prunus fruticosa 'Globosa'). The latter, however, is very susceptible to the peak drought and is therefore being planted less and less frequently.

Ball Maple

The ball maple (Acer platanoides 'Globosum') grows up to five meters high and at least as wide as it grows older

Although ball trees remain low, they can grow considerably in age - and many gardeners underestimate this. In addition, the "pancake crowns" of older specimens also meet everyone's taste. However, if you want your spherical tree to remain really compact, you have to grab the pruning shears or saw every few years and cut back the crown branches.

Pruning in late winter

A good time for pruning is the late winter. Cut back around all the main branches to about 15 to 20 centimeters long stumps. Depending on the branch strength, this is best done with a sharp fresh wood saw with a pulling cut or with pruning shears. The cuts should be made in such a way that there are sleeping eyes near the interface, from which the tree can drive out again. Waxing with tree wax was common in earlier times with large cut surfaces, but is hardly done today because it has been found that wound closure is rather counterproductive. It keeps the wood moist and thus favors the infestation with wood-destroying fungi.

If you have to cut again after about three to four years, the branches will not be taken back as far as possible the first time. Now cut the branches driven out at the intersections of the first cut back down to the lugs, leaving a slightly larger crown framework. If the crown used to be very dense, you should also reduce the number of branches by removing some of them.

Cut ball tree

The crowns of the ball Robinia you can cut back very strongly in the spring

Ball Maple Bleeds Hard in Spring

The presented pruning is indeed tolerated by all trees, the ball maple but you should be a bit more restrained with the cutting. If you cut the older branches with the saw in the spring, the cuts can bleed very much. Even if that is not life-threatening for the ball tree, the badly weeping cuts, from which the sugary sap leaves in spring, simply look unattractive. For this reason, cut back your ball maple in August and avoid pruning branches that are more than a dozen thick.

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