When Should We Trim Our Japanese Maple?

Woman with curly red hair trimming a Japanese Maple Tree.
Late fall or early spring are generally considered the best times to prune these trees; when the sap is down. Fall is probably preferable. Leaf drop is usually indicative of a good time in the fall. This is a page about, "When should we trim our Japanese maple?".


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
June 12, 2008


We have a 30 year old beautiful Japanese Red Maple tree in our front yard that is getting way too tall and wide. It is getting near wires and hitting the house. When is the best time to cut it back and give it a good trim and shaping?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

Jan from Long Island, NY


There are many conflicting opinions regarding when to prune maples, so mine may be just one more! All species of maple are known to be bleeders (seep a lot of sap after pruning).

To minimize the amount of seeping, major pruning should be done during the dormant season (after the leaves have fallen). For most gardeners, this will be either in the late autumn after the sap has fallen (November) or early spring before it starts to rise (February/March). Personally, I think late autumn is best. Fallen leaves (and temperatures) are an easy signal.


The rising of spring sap seems harder to predict. Pruning your tree during this time may still cause some seeping, but there is less sap movement during these times so it should be minimal. There is also less threat of insects and disease.

Above all, make sure to make clean cuts using sharp, sterilized tools. Wounds with clean cuts will form a callus and seal over much more readily than those with jagged wounds.

In most cases, it's best not to seal up seeping wounds with tree-wound paint. Most tree experts agree that if any disease spores are present, covering them with wound-paint simply seals them in from the elements and provides them with a safe environment where they can really go to town. Healthy trees are better left to heal on their own.

Good luck!


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 378 Feedbacks
June 14, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Don't butch it off flat. Instead, reach into the center of the tree and select which limbs must go. This will leave it looking loose and natural, not a lollypop, and will direct the way it grows.


Someone made the mistake of planting it where it is, and ultimately you must consider moving or replacing the whole tree.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 231 Feedbacks
June 14, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Yes, always prune during dormant months. And -- for that size tree especially, hire a certified arborist who carries insurance!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 22, 20080 found this helpful

Google "prune Japanese maple" [and most such questions] to find loads of info. What a pretty tree!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Jean in GA (Guest Post)
May 22, 20080 found this helpful

At our other house a tree in our front yard was touching the phone and electric wires, and we called the electric department. They came out and cut our tree down for us free.


Even got rid of the stump for us. We didn't like the tree, it had too many falling berries on it making the ground underneath grassless.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By lavendergal (Guest Post)
May 22, 20080 found this helpful

Your tree is so beautiful. We just planted a Japanese Coralbark Maple that is about 6 feet tall. I hope it grows to be as beautiful as yours. Good luck with your trimming.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Julia Youngblood (Guest Post)
May 23, 20080 found this helpful

I just pruned mine last month (April) and I already have new growth!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question
Home and Garden Gardening PruningAugust 5, 2018
Halloween Ideas!
Thanksgiving Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2022-10-24 19:06:22 in 2 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2022 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.