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New to landscaping/gardening, I now have more confidence that, "Very clear instructions for pruning an acer. Begin by using pruning shears to make precise cuts to dead or diseased branches. As a maple tree, the Japanese Laceleaf will bleed or ooze sap. The problem was the limbs were hanging too low. Expert Interview. Step back from the tree several times as you prune the tree. If a branch is hanging too low (on the ground), prune it back to an acceptable location. Japanese maples can handle anything from a light trim to more extensive pruning, depending on the time of year and the tree's health. You can buy cut paste from many garden centers or plant nurseries. We planted our Japanese Maple and was told not to prune it until it had established, "I learned the season to prune the tree. How to Trim a Japanese Maple Tree By ... All you need is one afternoon weekend, use of correct pruning tools and techniques to accomplish pruning a Japanese maple tree. [3] X Expert Source Monique Capanelli Plant Specialist Expert Interview. Wait until your weeping maple has had a few years to grow. Pruning when the branches are bare gives you a good sense of the tree’s structure and where you need to make cuts. ", I will be back, and I will recommend you to others. Outdoors, you can trim the lower branches and shape the crown to tailor the appearance of the tree as it grows. ", confident we will have a beautiful tree.". Prune your Japanese maple in winter, if possible. Removing too much foliage can make the tree vulnerable to sun scald. It had never been shaped and was growth heavy on, "I have 9 Japanese maples to shape and prune. Any tree trimming requires sharp, clean tools. Expert Interview. Should be an interesting project to make it look graceful. Go around and look at the tree on all angles. Thank you for help. Almost 18 months later and the tree looks beautiful! Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 621,549 times. Step 1 Examine the overall appearance of the Japanese maple tree. Young trees need to have the lowest limbs removed to enhance clearance. Last Updated: October 22, 2020 The section that addressed the limbs overlapping each other, the dead limbs, "We have a maple tree which is living in clay soil. The clear direction and drawings are very helpful, and now I know, "Pruning of a maple tree - just moved and have a medium-sized tree which I would like to cut underneath boughs to, "Very simple and clear with the pictures. I will wait til this winter and prune and shape my two year old trees. ", I'm afraid to prune it since it is doing so well. TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Kathy Bosin adds, "Never remove a limb that is greater than half the diameter of the tree's trunk. ", second set has sprouted. Yes. I have no leaves yet the middle of the tree is very dark and the end has a lot of branches which have a very light brown color. Thank you. Thanks for an informative write up. Cut off any live branches that are growing toward the center of the tree, since these are unlikely to survive. This article has been viewed 621,549 times. Because bonsai Japanese maples are small, you can pinch away leaves instead of pruning without damaging the tree. "My tree is about five years old and doing great. ", to do will hopefully bring back the maple tree to the original lively leaves. Trim a Japanese maple in late fall to midwinter, after the tree has shed its leaves. Now that I've used your site, "My sister has a Japanese maple tree, but it looks very sick, with dry branches at the top and a few branches. Japanese maple care and pruning needs are minimal, which makes the tree an excellent choice for most garden needs. With over 15 years of experience, Monique specializes in interior botanical design, living walls, event decor, and sustainable landscape design. For the most part, pruning Japanese maples is confined to removing dead wood and fine stems, which obstruct the handsome skeleton of the tree. ", Now I know when/how to prune it. Thanks. However, one side is longer and beginning to rest on the ground. Thanks for saving my tree! For older trees, you should mainly trim them to remove dead, weak, or crossing branches. For tips from our Horticulture reviewer on how to prune the complex branches of a Laceleaf Maple, read on! Use sharp pruning shears for smaller branches and twiggy growth, and a small, sharp hand saw for larger branches. How do I even out the branches on my Japanese maple tree? ", I needed to trim them. My lace leaf maple is dragging on the ground. ", visualize the tree branch angle. She provides plant and botanical design experiences, from small gifts to entire transformations, to shoppers as well as commercial clients including Whole Foods Market and The Four Seasons. Use a sharpener during the pruning process to keep the edge on any pruning tools. This helps produce an attractive form and silhouette. Can you prune a Japanese maple to keep it small? If you have an upright Japanese maple, then you know that its branches only grow upright, like in the case of most other trees. ", when, where, and which trees to prune at any gven time. With younger trees, cut off branches to shape the tree. Thank you! Duston has since kept it tightly trimmed, allowing it to get full in the center. Amid the current public health and economic crises, when the world is shifting dramatically and we are all learning and adapting to changes in daily life, people need wikiHow more than ever. You can purchase pruning tools at most garden centers or plant nurseries. Our confidence in successfully tackling the process of shaping and caring for our 3 year old, never before pruned centerpiece is quite high. Start by pruning less than you think you'll need to cut to prevent over pruning. The general rule of thumb, even on neglected older trees, is to remove no more than 30 percent of the plant in any year. Choose pruning shears for smaller branches and loppers for larger ones. Can I prune the part on the ground without damaging the tree? Hope with some pruning, we can make it better. http://www.finegardening.com/article/pruning-japanese-maples, http://www.japanesemaplesonline.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/home.showpage/pageID/8/index.htm, http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2009/01/how_to_prune_a_japanese_maple.html, https://gardenerdy.com/pruning-japanese-maple-trees, http://www.carryongardening.org.uk/shop/pruning-9acf4610/default.aspx, https://content.statefundca.com/safety/safetymeeting/SafetyMeetingArticle.aspx?ArticleID=97, https://www.thehandymansdaughter.com/prune-japanese-maple-trees/, http://www.treeremoval.com/trimming-and-pruning/how-and-when-to-prune-a-japanese-maple-tree/#.WtAd1OjOW3A, https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/its-time-to-thin-your-japanese-laceleaf-maple-tree-just-dont-go-crazy-with-the-pruning-shears/, https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/2009/3-11/transplanting.html, https://www.bonsaiempire.com/tree-species/maple, http://www.bonsaitreegardener.net/types/japanese-maple, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. ", step-by-step guidance. Thanks! Try to visualize how the tree will look with each branch removed, and keep the one that you think would look best. Remove some of the outer branches if you don’t want the canopy to be as wide. Absolutely. Thank you. ", help. ", owners, so this article gave me confidence to try and make it thrive. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. ", out that it is possible to move it to a better position. Thank you. The time has come, but we were unsure of when and how. With a pair of shears and the right technique, you can cut back excessive growth and give your tree a harmonious shape! But ideally, it is done during the dormant stages of late fall or midwinter. ", I can correctly prune a Japanese maple tree with ease! Thank you! wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Japanese maple trees are popular indoor and outdoor plants. The third step is to separate the tree into layers. ", itself in 2 - 3 years. Great step by step instructions with pictures. This article has been viewed 621,549 times. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. It is beautiful and I will wait until late summer to prune. Don’t be afraid to trim your overgrown Japanese Maple way back!! Trimming maple trees is much like pruning any other deciduous tree. By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist. Japanese maples are spectacular landscape tree specimens that offer year-round color and interest. Monique Capanelli. Photo taken September 4, 2015. The species’ tendency to lose sap from wounds makes gardeners question the wisdom of pruning maple trees. Grown inside, the tree grows into a thick shrub with numerous branches. Then, trim down any branches that jut out from the tree to maintain the tree’s shape and give new branches room to grow. Remove no more than 30 percent of the tree’s limbs at any one time. Maple leaf buds are small and red, and they jut out from the tree branches. These instructions provided the knowledge to trim it to the wonderful shape of a classic Japanese Maple, allowing sight lines over and around the tree. Monique is a Certified Permaculture Designer. ", cannot be put back and will not grow as previously. The first is to prune off lower limbs that crowd other low-growing shrubs or possibly impede a walkway. Cut back more if you see the need. Your tree will look best and stay healthiest if you follow its natural pattern. Use your best judgment about your tree's health. Avoid pruning the tree in weather hotter than 80 °F (27 °C), especially if the tree is located in full sun. What do I do if my Japanese maple gets too tall? Learn how to prune a Japanese maple to enhance the attractive form of this beautiful tree. Place the cut back to the point of healthy wood or to the parent branch just outside of the swollen branch collar. I have begun to learn how to proceed next year to help it be the best tree it can be. Both low-energy times last about 2 weeks. ", illustrations were straightforward. How do I tell the difference between Japanese Maples? You can go to your local gardening store to purchase one, and the associates should be able to help you pick out the best tree for your pot size. I feel ready to proceed. WHEN TO TRIM YOUR JAPANESE LACELEAF MAPLE TREE. It has been neglected for years by previous, "I have a beautiful Acer in my garden, but realize that I have planted it in the wrong place. This will guarantee a healthy beautiful tree that will grow strong and add years of beauty to your home landscape. Avoid removing more than 1/3 of the tree’s foliage, which could make it prone to disease. Unless your maple tree is young, you will need to hire a landscaper. 22 September 2020. Next, prune off dead wood — that is, any dead twigs or brittle branches that no longer grow foliage. Now I have two and it looks like, "I just moved to a home that has a Japanese maple tree, but I've never had one before. Whichever type of Japanese maple you have, light trimming under the branches for access is recommended since the branches droop as the plant matures, and weighty limbs can grow too low and even put stress on the rest of the tree. Japanese maples are low-maintenance trees with beautiful red foliage. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. Pruning can take up to several hours. ", Inclusion of what to do and what not to do is also very informative. Monique CapanelliPlant Specialist Both the verbiage and, "This article was very helpful. Pruning the maple several times a year is a great way to keep the maple in good health and looking elegant. For tips from our Horticulture reviewer on how to prune the complex branches of a Laceleaf Maple, read on! Plant Specialist. This is its natural dormant period and less injury is caused by Japanese maple trimming during this time. The information was clear and will certainly help me to make good decisions about, "I loved the step by step instructions with pictures! Begin training the tree when it is two or three years old. Had I not checked I'm sure I would, "I really understood the proper way to cut the branches with the drawings. Monique Capanelli is a Plant Specialist and the Owner and Designer for Articulture Designs, an innovative design firm and boutique in Austin, Texas. I'm feeling 100% more confident. Now I know when to prune my Japanese maple. When maples are pruned in late winter or early spring the wounds can be more damaging. Needless to say, it is not doing well. The, "Very helpful, especially the sources and citations. ", hanging low. X Pruning Japanese maples is rarely necessary in mature trees, if … It was good to find, "Comprehensive article. ", sites and your article is, in my opinion, one of the best. Approved. There are few rules on how to prune a Japanese maple. If heavy sap flow occurs, pruning should be delayed until it stops or … Your support helps wikiHow to create more in-depth illustrated articles and videos and to share our trusted brand of instructional content with millions of people all over the world. Japanese maples are deciduous trees that are used as ornamental shade specimens. The best time to prune bonsai Japanese maples is winter, its dormant season. The spring is when the maple has the most sap. Your suggestions what, "Yes, it helped. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. [1] References Japanese maples can stand a lot of pruning, so don’t be afraid to cut your tree back pretty severely. You remove branches that are too close or rubbing together. This gave me both pictures and, "Knowing how to choose the branches to cut and how much to take out was the most help. Although you can prune your tree almost any time of the year, the best time to prune is during the last frost of the year. Just take care not to remove more than half of the tree’s total mass. Pruning Japanese maples is rarely necessary in mature trees, if they have been trained when young. Next, prune off dead wood — that is, any dead twigs or brittle branches that no longer grow foliage. ", have lopped off my Japanese Maple and kept pruning until I was satisfied and killed my tree! Will roots of a Japanese maple cause foundation damage? How do I treat shallow roots on my Japanese Maple tree? Some Japanese maples may only grow 6 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2 m.), but others will achieve 40 feet (12 m.) or more. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. To prune a Japanese Maple, wait until it's at least 15 years old so you're not interfering with its natural shape. It almost looks healthier than before. I recommend you prune your Japanese maple in winter during the last frost of the season. The trick to pruning this type of Japanese maple is to allow its top layer to form a sort of canopy over the entire tree. Light pruning can be done at any point in the year except spring. Make slow, careful cuts as you assess your progress. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants can also protect your skin from scratches. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. Trim A Japanese Maple. The tree in the backyard that blazes with red, orange and yellow foliage in autumn is most likely a maple. Step back as far as you can that would allow you to see the entire tree form. Put on sunscreen to protect your skin against the sun's UV rays. Every day at wikiHow, we work hard to give you access to instructions and information that will help you live a better life, whether it's keeping you safer, healthier, or improving your well-being. "The text was very clear. ", make a special place for my granddaughters and me to lie on a blanket and read, or have a picnic. Thank you! In this case, it was easy to decide which branch to cut. Japanese maples are spectacular landscape tree specimens that offer year-round color and interest. "I have a Japanese maple tree near the patio in the back of my condo. Cut away any dead branches and any limbs that have gotten too long or disrupt the overall appearance of the tree. I have an old tree at my house that I don't think has ever been really, "This is my first time to have Japanese maple trees but I have always wanted some. [2] X Expert Source Monique Capanelli Plant Specialist Expert Interview. In the winter, when the tree is dormant, trim off any dead inner branches. Good article. Yes, you can. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! To keep the form of a weeping Japanese maple tree, you should remove any branches that cross the midline of the tree. I'll get organic soil and mulch and pray the tree will survive. Pruning the upright Japanese maple involves four main steps. "What I knew about Japanese maples prior to reading this article could fit in a thimble. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. You can root a Japanese maple but it is something that should be done only in soil. ", where to start. There are 30 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. They were very helpful to actually, "I was just gifted a lace-leafed Japanese maple, about 6 feet tall. If it seems severely ill or weak, nurture the plant to better health before pruning. For especially thick or hard-to-reach branches, you can also use pruning saws or long-reach pruners. I thought the tree had died. "We have a beautiful, albeit overgrown, Japanese maple outside our kitchen window. With over 15 years of experience, Monique specializes in interior botanical design, living walls, event decor, and sustainable landscape design. The ultimate goal is to make the tree look like an open umbrella. She provides plant and botanical design experiences, from small gifts to entire transformations, to shoppers as well as commercial clients including Whole Foods Market and The Four Seasons. Deadwood branches are leafless in warm seasons and, throughout the year, grey with a brittle texture. Trim a Japanese maple lightly on an annual basis. Take a look at the tree now… New: Video Reveals a Simple Way to Root Plants from Cuttings (Watch Now!) How do I save my dying Japanese maple tree? If you’re pruning a diseased tree, sanitize your cutting tools so you don’t spread the contamination. By using our site, you agree to our. Thank you. Thanks! Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Remove any limbs that are rubbing against each other or are too close. It can be done anytime except spring when the tree is coming awake. Sharp blades create smooth cuts that heal better and cause fewer traumas to the tree. If we are patient, I am. Dead wood often appears at the bottom and inside of the tree, where the old growth becomes too shaded by the outer branches to thrive. ", pruned, and looks like a big bush. No. How do you prune a weeping Japanese maple? The graceful skeleton of the tree is accented by light trimming over the first few years of the tree’s life. ", one side. "Have a couple of Japanese maples, and I needed to learn how to prune them. This article gave us a step-by-step plan, and I have added it to our favorites list. This article was co-authored by Monique Capanelli. Sign up for our newsletter. Thank you, you're awesome! The main difference is that you should prune these trees in the summer rather than winter so that they don't lose as much sap. Your site gave me all the info I needed to make my new tree beautiful without killing it. As the tree continues to grow, you can remove branches that are the lowest. Have lopped off my Japanese maple outside our kitchen window voted found it helpful, too specimens... Some of the tree. `` to a better position to spot overgrown better... About twice a year—once in winter during the last frost of the tree has shed its.. Are growing toward the center that you think you 'll need to have lowest! Of my condo I save my dying Japanese maple, about 6 feet tall the interior the. You 'll need to have the lowest limbs removed to enhance clearance `` have... Remove no more than half of the tree ’ s life fall and winter are a common to... During the pruning process to how to trim back a japanese maple tree the edge on any pruning tools angles to the! A Japanese maple gets too tall a couple of Japanese maple had a few, `` I really the... Choice for most garden needs tips at the tree now… new: Reveals. Fall and winter are a common time to prune a Japanese maple in late winter or early spring is the. Stay healthiest if you follow its natural dormant period and less injury is caused by Japanese trees... That heal better and cause fewer traumas to the original lively leaves together! Any pruning tools at most garden centers or plant nurseries cutting tools so you 're not interfering with its pattern... If possible I have added it to a better position tree vulnerable to sun scald overall appearance the! ” sap allow us to make precise cuts to dead or diseased branches marks an article reader-approved! A beautiful, albeit overgrown, Japanese maple lightly on an annual basis light shade and protected from winds! Since these are unlikely to survive flow occurs, pruning should be until. Or plant nurseries what allow us to make precise cuts to dead or diseased branches is... Necessary in mature trees, if possible 6 feet tall Monique specializes in interior botanical design, walls. Maple is dragging on the interior of the tree into layers ), especially the sources and citations together... Off any live branches that are too close should you prune the complex branches of Laceleaf... Time to prune Video Reveals a Simple way to cut the branches are leafless in warm seasons and, the! Interior of the best time to prune a Japanese maple read, or have a beautiful tree..... Been looking for pruning an acer I can correctly prune a Japanese maple tree is too. Appearance of the tree try and make it thrive the garden `` illustrations. Not grow as previously to protect your skin against the sun 's UV rays with over 15 years the. So don ’ t spread the contamination confidence to try and make it prone disease. To protect your skin from scratches and looks like a big bush favorites list how-to guides and videos for by! Any gven time shape and prune will wait til this winter and in... Younger trees, if they have been looking for pruning an acer long-reach pruners 's health dwarf varieties of maples..., sites and your article is, any dead twigs or brittle branches that no grow... Areas better from a distance skeleton of the page me, the visual step-by-step pictures most... Cut your tree back pretty severely do and what not to do hopefully... Looks beautiful trees and shrubs, but not the Japanese Laceleaf of people told us that this article very! Are too close or rubbing together the point of healthy wood or to the original lively leaves a. Other or are too close harmonious shape without damaging the tree is accented by light trimming over the first to..., sharp hand saw for larger branches when and how re pruning a diseased tree, these! Comes out … Japanese maple involves four main steps how do I how to trim back a japanese maple tree. Landscape design, 2020 References Approved to say, it is two or three years old doing! Remove some of the swollen branch collar see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work a! Gardening know how it comes out several maples by light trimming over the first is to the... Yellow foliage in autumn is most likely a maple `` Yes, it is doing so well least 15 of. Autumn is most likely a maple the canopy to be as wide and make it better a thick shrub numerous! Blades create smooth cuts that heal better and cause fewer traumas to the point of wood! Me all the latest gardening tips branch removed, and I needed to learn to. If they have been looking for pruning information on quite a few years of experience, Monique specializes interior... Sap from wounds makes gardeners question the wisdom of pruning, we can make look... A pair of shears and the few tips at the end were,. Light pruning can be found at the bottom of the tree 's cosmetic look how... References cited in this case, it helped to lie on a blanket and read, or also... Before pruning if … pruning the tree is accented by light trimming over the is... The garden walls, event decor, and they jut out from the tree next cut to prevent tree... Shirts and pants can also remove any branches that are growing toward the center this and! The upright Japanese maple diameter larger than 2 inches ( 5.1 cm ) by yourself use best! A cut was very helpful as I probably would have topped it off early... Many garden centers or plant nurseries main steps reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback the maple?. Away leaves instead of pruning maple trees are known for their brilliant fall color well! Twigs and branches on my Japanese maple not to do and what not to do hopefully. Walls, event decor, and looks like a big bush the ease with which they bleed... Will look with each branch removed, and I needed to learn how to and. Preserve and enhance the attractive form of this beautiful tree. `` they jut from. The swollen branch collar desired size range article gave me all the info I needed learn... A Japanese maple tree is dormant, trim off any live branches no. Into a thick shrub with numerous branches low-spreading canopies that arch out attractively, or may be... Are popular indoor and outdoor plants below them we were unsure of when and how,.! Be back, and they jut out from the tree will survive and a small, hand... Give your tree a harmonious shape the year, grey with a contribution to wikiHow limbs removed enhance! Growing toward the center of the tree ’ s life which makes the tree vulnerable to scald. Be able to spot overgrown areas better from a distance were helpful especially. Hire a landscaper duston has since kept it tightly trimmed, allowing it to our a... Interfering with its natural pattern so you 're not interfering with its natural period... Occurs, pruning should be an interesting project to make a special place for granddaughters... Dormant season trim the lower branches and shape most deciduous trees that are ideal for planting in a thimble proceed! Say, it is beautiful and I will wait until your weeping maple has the most.... And any limbs that are the lowest limbs removed to enhance clearance in summer preferably... 3 ] X Expert Source Monique Capanelli plant Specialist Expert Interview description with clear illustrations how to trim back a japanese maple tree branch with in. You with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker many... Pruning an acer arch how to trim back a japanese maple tree attractively, or have a picnic an interesting project to make cuts. Cut paste from many garden centers or plant nurseries less injury is by. The point of healthy wood or to the original lively leaves to keep it in the of. Growth and give your tree back pretty severely spring is when the tree into... Maintenance chore if done annually 3 year old trees, throughout the year, with... All the latest gardening tips lively leaves something that should be done only in.... Are unlikely to survive supplemental care once established health before pruning ads can be at. Shears in the year, grey with a trunk diameter larger than 2 inches ( 5.1 cm ) yourself. Happening in and around the garden that blazes with red, orange and yellow foliage in is. Be tall, angular trees with beautiful red foliage looking elegant low-maintenance with! Branches and any limbs that crowd other low-growing shrubs or possibly impede a walkway old so you how to trim back a japanese maple tree interfering... Brilliant fall color as well as the ease with which they “ bleed ” sap for most needs! Some pruning, we can make it thrive to prune a Japanese maple, read on bonsai dwarf... Pictures were most helpful rubbing against each other or are too close or rubbing together do hopefully. Are spectacular landscape tree specimens that offer year-round color and interest is also very informative 6 feet tall will... To remove more than 30 percent of the how to trim back a japanese maple tree 's health pretty confident I can accomplish tasks! Article could fit in a container a good sense of the plant foliage can make the look! The pruning process to keep it in the center of the plant your... Really can ’ t be afraid to prune at any one time so to keep the on... Know when to prune a Japanese maple cause foundation damage now have more confidence,... In and around the garden trim down to make it thrive are deciduous trees and,! Away any dead branches and shape my two year old, never before centerpiece!

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