How to Prune Sugar Maple Trees

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Sugar maple trees are a beautiful addition to any home lawn. Pruning the sugar maple trees will help them to maintain a proper shape and thrive for years to come. These trees can grow to a height of 60 to 75 feet, according to the Arbor Day foundation website. Do not plant sugar maple trees in a confined area, as their spread is approximately 40 to 50 feet. These trees do well in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8 and do not tolerate soil where salt is a problem. The green leaves turn bright yellow, red or burnt orange in the autumn months.

Things You'll Need

  • Long-handled pruning shears
  • Remove asymmetrical limbs or dead branches from a young sugar maple tree. Sugar maples require little trimming of healthy branches in the first few years. You may choose to remove lower branches to raise the crown of the tree for aesthetic value, but the tree really does not need major pruning until it is 10 to 15 years old.

  • Prune your sugar maple tree during the autumn or late winter months when it is dormant, suggests the Online Gardener website.

  • Check periodically for diseased limbs and cut them down. Inspect your trees after heavy winds and thunderstorms for broken branches or damaged limbs. Pay particular attention to the state of the tree before the sap starts to run in the spring months.

  • Trim small branches just above the collar of the tree. This is where the bark is extra thick near the junction of the branches.

  • Trim branches that grow toward the center of the tree or limbs that rub against each other.

  • Remove any branches that grow in a downward fashion; cutting away these limbs will help the air circulation in the center of the tree and prevent branches from rubbing against the bark, creating openings and allowing disease to enter.

  • Lift the crown of the tree by removing lower branches that are densely populated; these can prevent the tree from getting proper air circulation. If you have difficulty mowing underneath the tree, remove the lower branches.

  • Avoid pruning the leader branch of the tree; this is the central base of the sugar maple tree and is vital to the health of the tree. Trim branches that extend beyond the natural oval shape of the sugar maple. Never cut off more than one-third of the limb, as this may damage the tree.

References

  • Photo Credit maple leaf image by Agnieszka Rajczak from Fotolia.com
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