I have a Chinese maple bush or tree in front of my house with some direct...

Asked November 11, 2013, 4:03 PM EST

I have a Chinese maple bush or tree in front of my house with some direct sunlight. Several years old. we are new owners. It was fine but had mold which we sprayed with spray from Watson's Home Center. How do I trim this all branchesthat are hanging down. This one gets greenish brown leaves. I have another which has red leaves in a different area of the lawn and it is fine. Do I prune from inside or outside in hopes of saving it.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We think you're referring to what is often called a Japanese maple. Japanese maples had a lot of powdery mildew this year in late summer-early fall, probably because we happened to have the ideal conditions for that fungal disease. It is not usually a problem, however. Try to improve air circulation around the maple by removing other encroaching plants. Very selective pruning of the maple itself may also help, especially if the branches have gotten very dense. In that case, you may want to remove small interior branches first. .

These trees have a very graceful growth habit and are often allowed to sweep down to the ground and grow in almost sculptural ways. You might want to see what it looks like without its leaves this winter, when Japanese maples can be a real asset for a garden's "winter interest." If you need to prune, do so when the tree is still dormant in early spring--March is a good time.

We have a good publication on our website that may be helpful: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG84_Pruning%20ornam...