Is it an Elmaple!

So let’s see here…someone planted a nice little Japanese maple outside a hotel, and everyone was happy. Then an elm started to grow next to it, and it looked pretty good. In fact, it looked better than the maple. So, what the heck? Let the elm grow and ignore the maple. And now….At what point do you decide which tree to sacrifice so that the other can live a reasonably healthy life? (Yes, there is a correct answer!)


9 thoughts on “Is it an Elmaple!”

  1. That is a tough one as there are many considerations for any site and we do not have all the necessary information needed to get a full picture. Personally, I would remove both and plant a strip of columnar trees on 3-5 m centers or maybe even large shrubs.
    The natural form of both of these trees is wider than this area. Eventually, either of these trees will become a one sided “Charlie Brown” tree. The maple favours the smaller planting strip unless there are road salt conditions. This is without knowing anything about the location, growing zone, soil quality or existing maintenance capacity.

  2. My opinion would be that ideally the elm should have been pulled in the first year while a little seedling. I think of them as the worst of weeds, having lived in an older community where the infamous Chinese elm continues to seed everywhere and is truly a bad weed. I used to pull literally thousands of them from my garden every spring. If you left just one until the next year it would be difficult to pull. Some of those that had been allowed to mature were also completely ratty and full of bug holes by mid-summer every year.

    The pretty Japanese type maple is already misshaped from the crowding and will take some time to recover. The elm will be difficult to remove and it will need to be removed right from the roots. You can cut one of those to the ground and have it spring right back! It might do less harm to the maple to dig both up together while they are both dormant and put the maple back in the ground. Then check for anymore of those “cute” little seedlings every spring/summer in any bare ground! I think the Japanese maple could tolerate the narrow growing strip for quite a while but not the best choice, seeing as there is a side walk next to it on two sides…unless it is a really dwarf variety.

  3. Too bad the maintenance crew didn’t notice the elm when it was small enough to pull out. Now it will have to be cut and poisoned, and the poison may effect the maple also. I say, start over with new landscapers and new trees or shrubs. There are many Japanese Maples that are the appropriate size and shape for this area.

  4. I agree it’s a pity the elm wasn’t removed long ago. Now I think both need to go. They are very close to the building. Elms become tall trees, very wrong for this space. And the maple is now distorted. Time for a fresh start with smaller shrub-like trees

  5. Nuke both of them and start over with a Cercis. The Maple is not going to recover fast enough to be worth the effort and the Elm is entirely too aggressive of a grower for the location.

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