Tree Pruning - Japanese Maple

Asked September 30, 2018, 3:52 PM EDT

Recently noticed a rather large shoot coming out of the top of our Japanese Maple. Tree is approx. 18-19 years old and has never been pruned. Just wondering if its safe to cut off this wild growth (for purely aesthetic reasons), or would be better off leaving as is.

Monroe County Michigan

1 Response


Maples can be pruned any time of year. However, pruning the branch now may allow a tender shoot to develop that might die back over the winter. To avoid that possibility you can wait until the tree is dormant and it is dependably cold outside; or prune in early summer.

Should you need it, here is a nice pruning reference with pictures on how to correctly prune back to a bud or branch joint. This reference discusses pruning myths so, it shows what Not to do, too. See pages 10-16, and 62-63 for pruning your maple. Be sure to use a sharp, clean bypass pruner or lopper.

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