I'm wondering if someone can help, please?

Please see attached photo of my Japanese Acer. It has no growth at the bottom at all and I'm wondering if this can be fixed with pruning or repotting.

I live in the UK and the position of the plant is full sun (when it's sunny, which is very little where I live).

Any help/advice welcome and thank you.enter image description here

  • Did you are someone else do some pruning last year? – Rob May 1 '19 at 15:44
  • Hi, thanks for replying. No, it has never been pruned. The kids playing football knocked off some lower branches a few years ago. – David May 1 '19 at 15:50
  • How old is the tree? – Rob May 1 '19 at 16:04
  • You mention repotting, but the tree appears to be planted straight into the ground - can you clarify please? – Bamboo May 1 '19 at 17:20

There at the remains of at least three pairs of branches on the trunk below the top branch.

My guess is that your kids' football has "pruned" this tree severely. You can either treat it as an "interesting" shape (which has a certain "Japanese" feel to it!) or if you want a conventional shaped tree, buy another one and protect it from flying missiles.

If you want to convert the existing tree into a normal shape (for example by getting rid of one remaining branch after a year or two, when the top has grown more), at best you are going to have a tree with long bare trunk which will probably be more at risk from blowing over in high winds, etc.

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  • What are the chances the OP can spur on new growth by clipping those old branch nodes? – Rob May 1 '19 at 18:15

If you do prune it, wait until the dormant season (November to January) as acers can 'bleed' sap from pruning cuts (I was reading about it on the RHS website only this morning!). This causes them to weaken.

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