How to prune Japanese maples: ‘Most important part’ of pruning for ‘stunning growth’

Japanese maples are deciduous trees used as decorative shade specimens. The maintenance and pruning needs of these plants are minimal, making the tree an excellent choice for most gardens. These trees often have low spreading crowns that arch attractively, or they can be tall, angular trees with willow branches. Regardless of what species Japanese maple gardeners have, light trimming under the branches is recommended for access as the branches droop as the plant matures and weighty branches can grow too low and even weigh down the rest of the tree.

Pruning Japanese maples is largely limited to removing deadwood and fine trunks that obstruct the tree’s beautiful skeleton.

In young trees, the lowest branches must be removed to improve clearance.

Rebecca Wolken, gardening expert at HappySprout, shared when and how gardeners should go about pruning their Japanese maples.

She said: “When you start pruning the plants in your garden, it’s vital to their health that you do your research and find out what time of year is best for that particular plant.

“If you just want to prune a few branches, you can do so at any time of the year without affecting the Japanese maple’s health.

READ MORE: Japanese Maple: How to prune plants – “always” use the three pruning rule

Gardeners can ensure they are clean by wiping the blades with a light bleach and water solution to prevent the spread of diseases that may have been acquired from other plants.

When cutting the plant’s branches or branches, the expert advised cutting close to the trunk but being careful not to be too flush with the bark.

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She said: “There shouldn’t be much left on the plant from the branch you cut off, but you should be able to see a small stump where it used to be.

“If the branch is too thick for pruning shears, you can do the same with a small handsaw.

“But again, you should be sure they’re clean, sanitized, and sharp enough to make a clean cut.” A jagged cut will damage the tree more.”

READ MORE: ‘Tough’ Garden Plants You ‘Can’t Kill’ – ‘Tolerates Harsh Conditions’

The general rule of thumb, even with neglected older trees, is not to remove more than 30 percent of the plant in a year.

Make slow, careful cuts while assessing your progress. When trimming Japanese maple, step back often.

This allows gardeners to see the whole tree and plan the next cut to maintain and enhance the plant’s natural shape.

For gardeners who have been nervous about pruning their prized Japanese maple, or hesitated to plant one when it needed a lot of maintenance, Rebecca said, “You can rest assured that these are generally easy-to-grow, low-maintenance plants.”

“The Japanese maple will reward you with stunning color, distinct growth patterns, and the perfect centerpiece for your landscaping.”

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