How to Prune Maples

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By pruning maple trees into a vase cut, the innermost branches are being exposed to more sunlight, which encourages the growth of more fruit or foliage-bearing branches. Begin pruning maples when they are a young plant with instructions from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.

Part of the Video Series: Gardening: Pruning
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Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment we're going to talk about, how to prune maples. There's so many different types of maples. And my favorite are the Japanese maple that have gorgeous red foliage in the fall. And it's very important that you prune your maples even when they're young. Because by following a few pruning rules you will find that they will grow very even and they'll be very beautiful and do really well for many years. So lets go over some of the rules. So when you're pruning any kind of fruit tree, the goal is to cut out a lot of the random branches towards the top of the tree, because those are usually the more fruity branches that's going to produce the more fruit. And you want to thin it out about 1/3 the size each year. And that way it won't just get tall and lanky and it'll fill up and you'll get a lot more fruit quicker. And so just by cutting out, see the lighter color branches, you can get a lot more fruit, and you just trim them out and even it out, so there's more sun that gets into the middle branches and the tree will do much better. If you have a fruit tree that has been established and it's really tall and not producing fruit and you have not pruned it very much, then you can actually cut out some of the top branches, and what you're making is called a vase cut. By doing that you're forcing most of the growth back down to the bottom part of the tree and you'll get a lot more fruit for the next year. So when you're pruning any type of a tree, you want to be really careful to cut it at the right angle. For example, if it's a large branch you want to cut first at one side and then the other side and then you're cutting that whole heavy branch off. Because if you just cut from one angle it might actually hurt some of the bark and get into the main trunk, and you never want to hurt the main trunk because you will lose a tree if it gets too damaged. And you don't want to cut it too far out either where the C,D cut is, because what happens is, it gets too much moisture and it'll rot and there's too much dead material. You want to cut it right at a little bit of an angle leaving 1 to 2 inches right at where the tree is reading with the main trunk. Same thing, you never want to cut right up to the trunk line and make a solid cut, because what happens is the tree gets very damaged and sometimes it will eventually kill the tree because it doesn't have bark to protect the main trunk, and that is what's needed. By just cutting back your maple tree maybe 1/3 every year, and trimming out some of the dead branches or the wimpy branches you'll find that they'll grow very full and very even and that they'll be beautiful for many, many years.

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