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Japanese Maple Pruning – Step by Step

They are one of the most loved trees by plant lovers. Their leaves give that oriental touch that is so popular in gardens and, also, they do not need a lot of care. In this article, we will explain all about Japanese maple pruning successfully.

Japanese maples, whose scientific name is Acer palmatum, are deciduous trees native to East Asia. It has a reasonably fast growth rate if growing conditions are appropriate, and its ornamental value is, as you know, very high. Its beautiful palmate leaves, ranging in color from green to red to orange, decorate the home spectacularly. Lovers of acidic soil and water, it is recommended to have them in a partially shaded location to avoid damage, especially if you live in a very hot climate.

Another task we have to do to make our tree look splendid every year is to prune it. But… how is it done?

japanese maple leaves

Japanese Maple Pruning

It is much simpler than it seems. Follow this step by step to get a bushy plant with splendid foliage:

1- Remove all the dead branches, that is, those where there is no trace of buds.

2- Decide what shape you want your maple to have: if you prefer it to grow like a tall tree, remove the low branches, thus clearing its trunk; on the other hand, if you prefer it to grow more like a shrub (like the one in the image above, for example), it will be more necessary to lower the height of the guide or main branch by about 5cm to force it to take out lower branches. With time, and as it grows, you will only have to select those branches that will be part of the design of your maple.

3- Finally, all that’s left to do is throw the prunings into the compost pile.

The best time to prune our maples is during autumn when the leaves have fallen. Don’t forget to disinfect your pruning shears or pruning saw with a few drops of rubbing alcohol before and after working on the plant. This will ensure that it cannot be attacked by fungi or other intruders.

Learn more about Japanese Maple Care Instructions.

japanese maple garden

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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