Winter pruning of Japanese Maple

When the fall color is just passing it’s prime, it’s a good time to remove leaves and do a little winter pruning on maples. The leaves tend to come off easily, and it’s a good idea to clean them all off to expose any bugs or eggs that may be hiding out for the winter. Peter Warren suggests the 10 days following leaf fall is a good window to do some maintenance pruning.


It’s a good idea to balance the strength of shoots by removing long and coarse shoots; which will be readily visible when the tree is leafless. Always seal wounds, and prune back to a spot that has buds ready to break next year.

Strong branch:

This one was left long to provide scion for thread-grafting, so it’s a bit exaggerated, but you get the idea? The image below is a subtler example.




And after:



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