Is it OK to trim individual branches from maple trees this time of year? I have a few branches that are hanging too low and would like to cut them off. The same is true for an ornamental plum tree. Thanks
Multnomah County Oregon
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. Light pruning works fine any time of the year, including early summer. Too much summer pruning, though, can damage a tree by restricting the energy production from a significant loss of leaves. Late summer pruning can result in vigorous growth that winter weather can damage, as the tree has not fully healed when cold weather comes. Most major pruning is done in late winter when the tree is dormant as it's easier to see the tree's structure in winter without the leaves that obscure the form and the tree is dormant - the tree will respond with vigorous growth as spring arrives to replace the lost leaves. Because of the reaction of the tree to the loss of a significant part of the canopy, you should not remove more than 30% of a tree in any given year.
This article, Prune to Keep Ornamental Shrubs Healthy, may help answer any other questions.