How to prune a maple, and when.

Prune your maple in late summer.

This one is five years old and has fine branches and of a millimetre in thickness. Prune these off close to the ground and at intervals, leaving gaps for an even shape.
The tree has dense overlapping branches. Remove these as they can grow heavy and ruin the shape.
Use three cut method, cut underneath around 8 inches away from trunk, then half way through change to cutting over, leaving a stub like this.
These are nicely spaced, but I want to increase the space and keep the healthy branches, as there has been a little wind damage. When branches snap off this can cause damage to the tree. Make your final cut close to the trunk, but not too close. The tree can heal when you take care with pruning.
Now remove the final piece. This is your third cut. As this is a young tree, I’m cutting it a little early. With the heavier branches, I’ll wait till late August. The birch will also benefit from a prune in late August. In autumn there is the risk of a fungal infection.
These branches are close together. I’m increasing the gap, and removing spindly branches as some are wind damaged. When branches snap, this can damage the tree. Cut the branch close to the trunk, but not too close.
I’ll remove the top heavy branch in late summer, to avoid letting in fungus or rot, also maple and birch bleed sap if pruned before the leaves are out fully.

Tips:

1. You can also prune trees in winter when dormant

2. Fruit trees need particularly care, and can be pruned in March, before growth.

3. For very mature trees, consult a qualified tree surgeon.

4. General advice for shape of the tree would be to avoid lopping off the branch which is central. This is the terminal bud. If you prune this off you will get the lateral buds taking over. And further growth from those branches.

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