‘Best’ time of year to prune Japanese maples, according to a gardening expert
Alan Titchmarsh explains how to prune an Acer tree
Japanese maples, which are also known as acers, are known for their autumnal colours, delicate leaves and minimalist look. The trees look best in modern, smaller gardens and prefer being kept in shady spots rather than bright sunlight.
One of the key components of caring for a Japanese maple tree is pruning. This needs to be done in order to keep the plant looking healthy and maintain its shape.
With this in mind, a gardening expert has shared the “best” time of year to plant Japanese maples to maintain both its health and shape.
Jack Sutcliffe, gardening expert and co-founder at Power Sheds exclusively told Express.co.uk: “Pruning is essential to maintain the shape and health of the tree.
“It’s best to prune in late winter or early spring before new growth appears.
“Remove any dead or diseased branches and carefully thin out overcrowded areas.
“Be careful not to remove more than a third of the tree’s overall foliage.”
Pruning Japanese maples is often known as “shell” pruning because if the pruning is done correctly, the tree will form a protective layer of branches over the foliage which can look like a shell.
While it may be tempting to prune acers when the plant looks straggly, it’s important to prune these trees at the right time of year.
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If they are pruned any later than the end of December, they will bleed sap.
To prune these plants, gardeners will need a pair of secateurs or a pruning saw.
The secateurs can be used on thinner branches while the pruning saw can be used on thicker branches.
The tools will need to be sharpened before being used on the tree.
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If the tools are blunt, this could lead to branches being snapped which could cause more harm to the tree.
Unlike other trees and plants, Japanese maples don’t need to be pruned regularly.
In fact, some experts recommend leaving younger acers unpruned for as long as possible.
Gardeners should concentrate on removing dead, damaged, diseased or crossing branches.
As previously mentioned by Jack, it’s best not to remove more than a third of the plant’s foliage.
Removing too much will make the plant stressed and encourage the plant to stimulate unpleasant growth.
It’s important not to restrict the height of Japanese maples as this could damage the tree.
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