Home gardening -- pruning tree branch

Asked May 23, 2018, 4:26 PM EDT

Pruning a tree branch -- About five years ago I planted a red maple (native) for shade in front yard. The tree is doing great; it looks like in about 3 years it will provide substantial shade! Thinking ahead, when it is a big tree, I will want some of the lowest branches removed (so that I can walk under the tree). What is your advice on this -- Should I prune some lower branches? How many branches? When should I do so? Thanks!

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1 Response

For a future shade tree, remove lower branches gradually as it grows. While young, it needs all the surface leaf area possible so that it can grow and build up energy reserves. When a lower branch gets to be 1" in diameter, remove it. If you let lower branches get too big, and then remove them, that creates a bigger pruning wound that is harder for the tree to heal. Also, removing a huge branch reduces the tree by too much at once. Never remove more than 1/3rd of a trees branches in one year.

This may be helpful: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/TreesandShrubs/...