How and When to Prune a Japanese Maple Tree

Japanese maple tree color and leaf types are extremely rich, is the most ideal garden, garden plants. After thousands of years of reproduction, Japanese maple trees have at least thousands of different species, and individual mature trees can reach a height of 40 feet. In this article, we will discuss how and when to prune Japanese maple tree.

Things to consider before pruning Japanese maple trees

Before pruning, you need to know what the pruning looks like. There are two major types of Japanese maples: laceleaf maples and upright maples.

  • Japanese laceleaf maples: The trunk of the laceleaf maple grows upward, and then hangs down. The top layer of leaves forms a crown, covering the other branches and leaves. Laceleaf Maple pruning is often referred to as “shell pruning” because the top branches of the pruned maple look like shells.
  • Japanese upright maples: The upright maple tree, like most trees, has branches that extend upward, and the tree shape is like an open fan.

How to prune a Japanese laceleaf and upright maple?

If you see any old or dead branches, or those that look sick, you should cut them off. Evaluate the branches of this tree interspersed with each other, and those that rub against each other or any branches that look weak should also be pruned.

If your laceleaf and upright maple tree needs to cut a considerable number of branches, we recommend that you do not prune it all at once, and it should be done in steps, so you need to make a plan to prune this Japanese maple tree in 2 to 3 years. First cut about one-third or half of the more serious branches, and then wait for the next winter to trim the remaining parts.

It should be known that every pruning of the maple tree will cause some trauma, which will have some adverse effects on its growth, and some plant diseases are more likely to be infected from some wounds with slow healing, and fewer wounds will heal faster. In addition, pruning too many branches at once will make the whole tree look less plump and beautiful.

Japanese maple pruning steps

1. Pruning dead branches

The first thing to trim is the old, dead, and sick branches. Because the bottom of the tree is very cool, the branches inside are more likely to rot. In addition, old branches and diseased branches will also rot, and if the diseased branches are not cut off in time, the disease will quickly spread to other healthy branches.

2. Cut off the overlapping branches

Overlapping branches will destroy the beauty of the entire tree. Even if it does not affect the appearance, it will affect each other’s growth. Therefore, cut off the overlapping branches close to the trunk, or cut both.

3. Remove the weaker branches

If the two branches are entangled or are too close together, the entire tree will look too complicated, so you need to repair the branch that is weaker or which affects the beauty.

4. Remove the reverse growing branches

On the Japanese upright maple, the downward growing branches should be cut off.

On the Japanese laceleaf maple, the upward growing branches should be cut off. Note that there are many twisted branches on the weeping maple tree. As long as they do not affect the growth of other branches, do not cut them for now.

5. Trim the top branches

When small shoots or small branches grow out of large branches, they should be trimmed off. The main branch should be “Y” shaped, if there are any extra clumps or buds on this “Y” shaped branch, despite removing them.

6. Remove branches that are too low

For the Japanese upright maple tree, the lower branches will hinder people from walking, and will also hinder the growth of other plants below.

For theJapanese laceleaf maple tree, the branches in the lower part grow too much and will be dragged to the ground.

7. Remove the shoots and guide the branches to grow in the right direction

If you do not remove the extra buds in time, it will grow into a thick branch. If you think this branch will definitely not look good in the future, wipe it out at the beginning.

8. Keep the maple tree symmetrical

Simple pruning can prevent the maple tree from growing again and prevent the tree shape from growing asymmetrically. At the same time, avoid making the trunk too thin. Spend more time observing the maple tree from different angles, look back and forth, up and down, and think about what kind of pruning the tree will look like.

9. Keep the largest branch intact

If the diameter of the branches is more than half the diameter of the stem, do not remove it. For older maple trees, when the diameter of the branches is more than ¼ or 1⁄3 of the trunk diameter, do not remove it.

When to prune a Japanese maple tree?

The early winter leaves fall (November-December), and the summer foliage season (between mid-July and August) are two opportunities for pruning Japanese maple trees. Early winter can clear the growth structure of branches and trees, and it is easier to prune correctly. More accurately determine how many branches and leaves should be pruned to make the trunk vaguely appear. In addition, pruning in summer does not promote new shoots and is easier to control than in early winter. In summer, it is best to prune when the temperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns of the bark exposed by pruning.

During the period when maple trees are in low energy, avoid pruning. The early growth of new leaves in spring and the season of deciduous leaves in autumn are the most energy-intensive seasons for maple trees.

Tips for Japanese laceleaf and upright maples care

  • When pruning, do not try to cut the tree thin. If the tree grows too large and there is not enough room for growth, you can change it to a larger place instead of trimming the tree in this space.
  • It is absolutely a futile mistake to try to repair the Japanese laceleaf and upright maple leaves short and control their height, because the thinned and cut maple trees will only grow faster.