I am laughing because the photo looks like there the compact, upright tree in front and a bigger, arching one behind. Sorry to misunderstand the image…now I get it. Yes, Japanese maples will do this, especially some varieties. In order to reach their eventual size and form, young plants will go through oddball growth spurts, often in midsummer in my experience. I would do nothing…yet. First of all, you cannot see the underlying architecture clearly till the leaves have fallen, and second, it’s a young tree that will be getting much bigger, and will probably send out a lot more of these next year as it grows into itself. Until you watch it awhile longer, I’d do nothing but take out dead, damaged, diseased wood, and any that turns inward or crosses/rubs. Wait and watch awhile longer, into its next growth cycle, before in any major way helping correct and shape its eventual habit. I found reference to this situation with this very plant online, if it provides comfort: http://www.worldplants.com/shindeshojo.htm
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.