Guidelines for Pruning
Laceleaf Japanese Maple Trees in Oregon
How to Prune-Laceleaf Japanese
First of all, if you have an established tree, and are not familiar with the
pruning techniques required to properly prune and shape your Laceleaf Japanese Maple, please consult a qualified
specialist before attempting to do it yourself. The overall result of your attempt to do it yourself could be
Always use clean tools. Sterilize between
(see tool care)
While many of the smaller, and or dead
branches can simply be snapped off by hand, be sure to use the proper tools for the larger size limbs.
(see types of tools to use)
Do not seal and or use tree paint on pruning cuts or open
Before You Start
Before you begin this type of maple tree pruning, always take the time to stand back and address the
overall shape of the tree. Do this from all angles. Visualize it's natural beauty and how it fits into the
surrounding area in which it was planted. Take a look underneath as well. Often times there might be "magic"
underneath that you might not otherwise see by looking at it from the outside. Review the branch structure,
visualizing what branches are most endearing to the eye. Never rush this process. When in doubt, don't cut.
You can never replace a substantial branch on these trees.
Take the time to reevaluate periodically during pruning. Step back and analyze. Remember to prune
Your overall goal is to let your tree breathe. You want your tree to have, what Marti calls,
"windows to the soul". Allow the light to filter through the tree, the butterflies to maneuver its pockets.
Allow the beauty of its trunk structure to dominate. These trees have so much beauty and natural grace, that
when pruned properly, they can offer the perfect enhancement to the beauty of your
Rule of thumb is to prune from the inside out, and the bottom up.
Removal of all the twiggy
dead (die back) branches (usually gray and brittle) from the inner underneath side of the tree helps to keep
the tree clear of insect infestation and the chance for disease. It also enables one to view the unique
branch structure of the tree. Something which is perhaps the most magnificent aspect of the Laceleaf Japanese
Maple, especially in the winter months when the tree is bare of
Remove any diseased and
deformed branches, ones growing against the flow of the tree at odd angles (an upward branch on an otherwise
downward flowing tree). Remove crossing or duplicating branches, as this enhances the chance for disease.
Also remove parallel branches which are the ones usually growing at the same angle but close together. You
will want to remove at least one of these. Also keep limbs from dragging on the ground, but keep these in
natural form, never performing the "bowl cut".
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any of your questions!"
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