Vine maple pruning

Asked December 23, 2019, 7:13 PM EST

We have a vine maple growing in back yard. It has one big offshoot growing out over a walkway, making it very difficult to walk. How far down can you cut this without killing the whole tree?

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

Vine Maples (Acer Circinatum) are wonderful trees; moderate size (usually under 20 feet tall), graceful shape, with showy red samaras and spectacular fall foliage. They also grow well in partial shade, being understory trees in nature. Vine Maples can grow as multi-trunked trees, you can even remove one of the trunks if necessary.

Vine maples are quite adaptable to pruning, though it's best to trim them in winter. In the spring the sap tends to run (like sugar maples), so they will bleed quite a bit, though this doesn't seem to harm them.

To prune off a major limb cut it off flush just outside the collar, (the swollen area at the base of the limb on the trunk). The collar has cells that are programmed to grow over and seal off the pruning wound and to prevent disease. Don't use pruning paint, as experts have found that the paint retards healing. This article has additional information, How to Severely Trim a Vine Maple This article discusses pruning basics, including pictures of branch collars, Tree Pruning Basics