A Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) tree on a spring day
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When And How To Prune Your Japanese Maple
Pruning your Japanese maple in the late winter or early spring harnesses its natural dormancy, reducing the impact on its energy reserves and the stress associated with cutting.
This window of opportunity also coincides with the tree’s lowest sap production, which means less sap loss during pruning and a more efficient healing process for the tree.
In addition, the absence of leaves during this period provides a clearer view of the tree's structure, enabling you to make well-informed decisions about which branches to trim.
To promote the tree’s health and aesthetics, remove dead, damaged, or crossing branches, as well as those that disrupt its natural form or hinder air circulation within its canopy.
When making cuts, position the shears just above a bud. If you’re cutting close to a stem, leave half a centimeter to facilitate proper healing and encourage new growth.
At times step back and assess the evolving shape of the maple so its silhouette aligns with your preferences. Also, sterilize your pruning tools before use and avoid over-trimming.