How to prune a Japanese willow bush

Japanese Maple Care and Pruning - Tips for Japanese Maple Trimming

Japanese maples are spectacular landscaping tree species that offer color and interest year round. Some Japanese maples can only grow 6 to 8 feet, while others can grow to 40 feet or more. Pruning Japanese maples is rarely necessary on old trees if they were trained at a young age.

The graceful skeleton of the tree is accentuated by light cuts in the tree's first years of life. Learn how to prune a Japanese maple to enhance the attractive shape of this beautiful tree.

Japanese maple care and pruning

Japanese maples are deciduous trees that are used as decorative samples of shade. Plants that are in light shade and protected from strong winds require little additional care after their creation. The maintenance and pruning of Japanese maple trees are minimal, making the tree an excellent choice for most gardening needs.

These trees often have low canopies that spread out attractively, or they can be large, angular trees with willow-like limbs. Whatever type of Japanese maple you have, slight trimming under the branches for access is recommended as the branches droop as the plant matures and heavy limbs can grow too deep and even strain the rest of the tree.

When to prune a Japanese maple

There are few rules about how to prune a Japanese maple. Late winter or early spring is when a Japanese maple is pruned. This is its natural dormant period and fewer injuries are caused by Japanese maple pruning during this time.

Pruning Japanese maples is mostly limited to removing dead wood and fine trunks that clog the tree's beautiful skeleton. Young trees must have their lowest limbs removed to improve clearance. Start exercising the tree when it is two or three years old. Remove any links that are rubbing against each other or too close. Prune small twigs and branches inside the tree. This helps create an attractive shape and silhouette.

Pruning Japanese maples

Any tree trimming requires sharp, clean tools. Sharp blades create smooth cuts that heal better and cause less trauma. Use a sharpener while trimming to hold the edge on all of the cutting tools. Make sure they are clean by wiping the blades with a light bleach and water solution to prevent the spread of diseases that could be from other plants.

The general rule of thumb, even with neglected older trees, is not to remove more than 30 percent of the plant in a year. Make slow, careful cuts as you assess your progress. Often step back when cutting Japanese maple. This allows you to see the whole tree and plan the next cut to maintain and improve the natural shape of the plant.

Pruning Japanese maples is a low maintenance task when done annually. This guarantees a healthy, beautiful tree that will grow strong and make your home landscape more beautiful for years.