Reasons for pruning Japanese Maples

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Margot, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Nanoose Bay, BC Canada
    Three of my Japanese maples planted in the ground are nearing 10 feet or more in height. As far as I'm concerned, they can grow as big as they like but I'm wondering if there are other things to consider and that maybe I ought to control their growth for other reasons. For example, water is scarce here in the summer and I assume, the larger the tree, the more water it will need. Also, I have to think that a smaller, more compact tree would be less vulnerable to wind and snow damage. What about aesthetics? After this year, I won't be able to get to the high branches to prune them even if I wanted to.

    I'd really appreciate any advice you can give because I believe now is the time to prune.
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    Good evening Margot, you make a very good point with regard to mananagement of your maples. There is no point in having a garden with lovely trees if you cannot look after them as old father time takes it's toll on us all.
    I do think that is why so many turn to the Bonsai art form. You can enjoy the colour, branches and form at any age without the fear of ladders and large saws etc etc.
    All trees are subject to wind and snow damage and as you say thirst from a large root system, so reducing the size will help in avoiding these scenarios.
    I am very conscious these days of conserving water and making things as easy as possible in the garden as time goes on. Aesthetic pruning can achieve what you want without the thought of taking away the natural form of your maples. It is very easy for people to say let them grow, but it is 'your' garden and 'your' trees.
    So IMO I would say go for it and make them as 'you' want. A bit like Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, where Lizzie tells her young friend, " they are your trunks, you can pack them how you want, Lady Catherine will never know".
    Yes you are right, in the next couple of weeks it is time to prune and of course in late June.
    Shin-Deshojo likes this.
  3. Shin-Deshojo

    Shin-Deshojo Well-Known Member

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    That's an interesting thread,

    Japanese maples takes so much years to archive a decent size level that I believe it is the dream of almost every grower to be able to enjoy their trees at their mature size, at least to me.

    I can understand it's a hard decision but if you are thinking about it then I guess you have to follow your firsts thoughts.

    Some pruning while you can, is the best to do if you don't want to pay someone to do it in a few years.

    I have a very old purple beech and three very tall birches in my garden and i had to get them pruned and size reduced by a professional to prevent damaging my house and my neighbour's one due to possible futur branches or trunk breaks from the wind.
    The beech was also a problem for my neighbour as it was not letting the sun hit his solar panels.

    I think that to be able to control the height of all your trees by yourself is important and saves money, but that always depend of your house location and the neighbourhood.

    Pruning maples can often improve their aesthetics if done correctly.
    AlainK likes this.
  4. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    nr Orléans, France (E.U.)
    Yes, that's the idea of it...

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