How much can I prune this Japanese Maple?

Asked September 19, 2020, 5:56 PM EDT

Hello! I have this wonderful and very healthy Japanese Maple that is getting too big. How much could I prune it without permanently damaging it? Could I actually start cutting the branches? When would be the best time to start working on it? (I live in the PNW). I would much rather that it stays like a smaller tree (or larger bush I guess since its base is already spread out). Thank you!

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

The best solution for a tree that's getting too big is to replace it with a tree which will be smaller when it's mature. When a tree is pruned to markedly shorten it, it will regrow to its original height, or sometimes even taller!

Frankly, you could have a stunning tree for your attractive patio if you hired a knowledgeable person to thin the canopy and prune the tree artistically. That person should also be able to decrease the size, but only modestly.

Consider spending a bit of time on the phone looking for a Certified Arborist who knows how to train Japanese maples. Begin by locating nearby Certified Arborists by searching with your zip code at

Invite at least 3 different persons for on-site evaluations. Ask if they have experience with artistic pruning of Japanese maples, and request images of their work.

[We suggest Certified Arborists because they must pass an exam and must also acquire continuing education units. ]