Japanese Maple – Pruning

Q: The ‘Bloodgood’ maple in my front yard is visually too big for the front of the house. I would like to reduce the size by one-third. I called a Japanese maple expert but he refuses to reduce the size, proposing instead to “thin it”. Can I successfully reduce this maple’s height by one-third?

A: I guess you can do it….but I can’t really argue with the expert: the tree is too big for the site. The long term solution would be to pull out the existing big tree and replace it with a nice dwarf Japanese maple in front of the bay window.

Examine the photos below yours. You can see the ugly results of excessive pruning of Japanese maples.

Fine Gardening magazine has an excellent guide to pruning Japanese maples.

Pruning Japanese Maples

overgrown maple

overgrown maple

Japanese maple badly pruned (photo courtesy Lyle Collins www.southerntrillium.com)

Japanese maple badly pruned (photo courtesy Lyle Collins www.southerntrillium.com)

Japanese maple badly pruned (photo courtesy Lyle Collins www.southerntrillium.com)

Japanese maple badly pruned (photo courtesy Lyle Collins www.southerntrillium.com)

Japanese maple badly pruned (photo courtesy Lyle Collins www.southerntrillium.com)

Japanese maple badly pruned (photo courtesy Lyle Collins www.southerntrillium.com)

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