Decongesting Japanese Maples

Japanese maple, pre-pruning

Pruning just didn’t seem like the right word for what I wound up doing to these Japanese maples–and yet, because they still retain some of their leaves from the fall, all my hard work isn’t all that readily apparent. Suffice it to say that I took 5 cartloads of primarily dead wood out of this one–because after all, it is still a maple so by now, the sap is running. I couldn’t prune it as severely as I would have liked.

Second maple, pre-pruning

Here is my second maple, pre-pruning. It has a sort of “Cousin It” appearance, for those of you old enough to remember the original Addams Family. Still, I prefer that sort of look to the mangled look of the other, caused by the Spoiler’s hedge trimming. Don’t ask.

This was the easier of the two trees to prune. It really just needed the dead wood removed.

Finished maple

Again, I would have liked to cut a few more things, but not with as much sap running in the tree as there was. My timing was bad, but until this weekend we had ice on the ground.

Congested canopy

Back to the first–and worst–tree. You can see how that even from inside and underneath the canopy it was really a mess. I did what I could. If I had been able to get to it earlier, I might have been able to get some of the live, crossing branches off the canopy. But with all the sap running, I didn’t want to do that. I may go back next year–if I can get in there when there’s no ice. Timing is always tricky.

But at least the deadwood is gone so I have achieved something.

The newly pruned tree

And here’s the “finished” tree–or as much as I could finish. The dog is thrilled that she can see under it to the street!

2 thoughts on “Decongesting Japanese Maples

  1. tonytomeo March 27, 2021 / 4:35 pm

    Isn’t it late for pruning Japanese maples? I do not bother the bigleaf maples, or any other maples now that their sap is flowing. Otherwise, they don’t stop bleeding! I know it is likely harmless, but it looks like it must hurt.

  2. gardendaze March 27, 2021 / 6:14 pm

    Yes, it was late but until two days before I did it there was ice on the ground beneath them and there was no way for me to get under there without breaking my neck. So I tried to take just primarily deadwood unless I really had to take something else. There was plenty of deadwood to work with.


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