Japanese maple & plant growing longer
Branches on your maple with no leaves are likely dead and can be pruned out. You can test the ends of the branch by bending them. If they snap they are dead. You can also use your fingernail to scrape the bark. If the tissue underneath is not green, it's dead or dying. Prune on a dry day.
The 2nd photo shows Russian Sage: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/perovskia-atriplicifolia/
It is in bloom right now so we wouldn't cut it back. See the link above.
Some varieties are shorter than others but this is likely one that is taller and more open looking. If you don't like that you could probably stake it (tie it in loosely) to keep it more upright next year.
I pruned back the dead wood on the Japanese maple. What else can I do to feed it or protect it from
getting that dead wood on the top? Also should I water it more in this hot summer? What is best time of day to water it?
All you can do is prune dead wood, make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk, and water during dry periods. Water in early morning, if possible. Check the soil wetting depth with a screwdriver or stake. To adequately wet the root system you need to thoroughly moisten the top 4-6 inches of soil.